South Mountain – Phoenix, Arizona
South Mountain has been mentioned as the largest city park in the world. At nearly 17,000 acres it certainly covers a lot of ground, although it isn't a park in the sense of grass, and playgrounds, and lakes, and ducks, as one might think. South Mountain Park is a desert mountain preserve.
I decided to hike this mountain for the first time and made some truly interesting discoveries. There are more trails on this preserve than you can count. Some easy open trails always populated with locals and tourists and other trails that you don’t want to go alone because you’d be lucky to see a person who could help you if you fall off a cliff or get too cooked by the hot Arizona sun and need a little rescuing. I was told in the summer time people are carried out of the park from heat exhaustion upwards of 15 times a day. You don’t want to under estimate the brute strength of Mother Sunshine in Arizona during the summer months.
While on the trails I met some really nice gentlemen who were a wealth of knowledge and shared so much about the South Mountain Preserve with me. In fact I got a red alert warning about this plant during my hike from these men. They told me they senses heat. So if you get close to it, it will then shoot out it's pricklies at you and there is no getting them out. The big ones have hooks on them much like a fish hook. I received this information from and older man who experienced the wrath of this plant first hand. He said it took a year for the prickles to work its way out of him. (Note to self... Stay very far away!!)
This park is great for biking, hiking, Picnics, Barbecues and Parties, Trail Rides, & scenic drives. There’s stone forts as well as Petroglyphs with Native American carvings, and so many more fascinating sights to see!
The best time to go hiking in Arizona is in the spring time. Summer is way to hot. Although many people do hike in the summer – you better be sure to bring PLENTY of water. You will be no match for the dry air and hot sun if you don’t take proper precautionary steps.
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