Currently, I am training to do the Rim-to-Rim hike at the Grand Canyon in May. I felt pretty close to where I needed to be a few months ago, until I broke a toe and hiking was placed on hold. One of the best local places to simulate the hike out of the canyon is the hike to Skull Mesa (what a great movie title!).
I sit here a day after the hike and gauge where I am at. To be honest, if I wrote this in the morning, I’d have to admit I felt in pretty bad shape. It was tough to stand – both knees were hurting – I had an agave needle bury itself 3/4 of an inch into one knee and the loose footing on the way down took its toll on the other.
Well, on the plus side, my muscles are not as sore as I thought they’d be. I have a couple blisters (I need new shoes!). And the knees are only a bit tender. After 20+ miles for the day, I’m feeling pretty good. But I don’t climb a mountain just because it’s there. I do my best to enjoy and share the journey.
And one of the best reasons to be up there is the chance to see some wonderful petroglyphs (one of which is pornographic) and metates.
A word of warning in finding these, it requires a couple miles of “bushwhacking”. And in the desert, it comes with a price. And in warmer months, I’m told this is serious rattlesnake country.
There is also a a set of ruins even farther in.
And a reminder that you are not alone up there. as this half of a deer leg suggests.
Skull Mesa is definitely a difficult hike. It’s steep, rocky and long to make it to the top. It qualifies as a “No Guardrails” hike. But beautiful and you’ll see things you cannot see anywhere else. If you are anywhere near Cave Creek, Arizona, give it a try.