The Lost Dog Wash Trail (aka more gratuitous desert pics)
On this, my last full day in Scottsdale, I drove to a more formidable trail. It’s only a mile or two away. It’s the Lost Dog Wash Trail that leads into the foothills of the McDowell Mountains. So allow me to over-dramatize it a bit for the sake of a blog post. It was hot. 105 and rising. Hot enough that there was literally no one else in the entire park. Even Phoenicians know that you don’t go hiking at 11:00 in the morning. Only those with a death wish do that. (Bum, bum, bum…) Seriously though, have I told you how awesome the desert is. You hike a little ways into the mountains and it’s like you are the only around for miles. There’s no way you are in a major metropolitan city. I set out on the Lost Dog Wash Trail. But it was leading over a mountain and to another parking lot, so I didn’t want to stay on it, and it was too early to turn back. So, I turned onto the Ringtail Trail. Why, look, it’s a map! You can see that I started at the bottom and hike straight up the red trail, then, the second right onto the Ringtail Trail. My goal was to make a full arc to the Sunrise Trail that would bring me home again. Just me and my little bottle of Aquifina. Really, it’s just you and your thoughts. And if you’re me, you are constantly scanning the ground for rattlesnakes and scorpions. So there is that, too. By the time I made the turn onto the Ringtail Trail it started to really go up. Still, I was not concerned. Not until I came to this lookout… How the hell did I get all the way up here? From this point on, your head starts to play tricks on you. You’ve gone too far. You missed the turn off. You are lost. Didn’t your father mention sightings of a mountain lion in the area? Yes, in fact he did. Crap. Then you look ahead and you see a trail going up and over the mountain. Is that this trail? I am NOT going that far. I don’t have enough water. How come no one else is out here? The Aquafina bottle is half empty. Now, your mind begins to wander off. Hey, doesn’t that cactus look like Kid ‘n Play?
Wait, weren’t they two people? Which one was Kid? What happened to them? They were so talented. What happened to Gogurts? What would chairs look like if our knees bent the other way? Why are birds circling overhead? Why am I going to die thinking about Kid ‘n Play? But the trail keeps going. Down into gulleys and back up. Up and over rocky formations. And S-curves for no reason whatsoever.
Finally, eureka! The Sunrise Trail that leads back to my car and to civilization and to the Walgreen’s that sells Gatorade! I am not lost after all. Just have to follow the rest of the trail. No problem. I am just like those sturdy, hearty pioneer/cowboys who tamed the west. Except for the fact that I then stopped to check in for my Southwest flight with my smart phone app. Other than that, yeah, just like the pioneer/cowboys!
What the hell? The Chet Andrews Amphitheater is out here on my pioneer/cowboy trek through the desert. How messed up is that? Don’t tell Chet that his amphitheater is a stone bench in the middle of the desert. Actually, come to think of it, how awesome would it be to hold a concert out here at sunset? Very awesome. That’s how awesome. Moving on.
Finally, I reach the trail head. I have matched wits with the hot, raw desert and prevailed. Then, it hit me that for the locals, what I had just done would be called “a daily stroll.” Doesn’t matter. The Carpetbagger came, he saw, and he conquered. Now, get me the hell home to Pittsburgh, where the lions are Nitanny and a bit grab-assy — not the Mountain variety.