My favorite part about this blog is that because I’ve documented so many adventures around Arizona, it’s getting to the point where I can direct anyone to this site and they can easily find things to do through the Arizona Travel Index. We’ve really gotten around the state and visited many tourist attractions, both popular and lesser known. However, there are a few areas that we’ve never been to, and others are places we simply drive through and rarely stop in, even to letterbox.
We haven’t done much in the West side of the state. We’ve driven through Yuma once (though Curtis actually had his bachelor party there!) And we haven’t set foot on most of the land North of I-10 outside of Phoenix and on the I-40 West of Flagstaff. One of the most known attractions in Northern AZ is Antelope Canyon, and we’ve never been there (though we tried…but ended up finding a hidden gem that’s even better!)
However, the most shameful part of all this is the lack of posts about the greater Phoenix area. It’s one of the 5 largest cities in the country, yet the most we will usually say about it is “in order to go to this awesome place (e.g. Flagstaff, Sedona, Prescott, the Grand canyon), we had to drive through Phoenix, and that was the lowlight of our trip!”
What’s wrong with Phoenix? Well, honestly it’s just having to drive through it that stresses us out. When driving to Flagstaff, it takes around 4 hours to get there, and almost 1 full hour of that is driving through Phoenix on the I-10 and I-17.
We do have some good memories from the area though that are important to mention. We enjoy getting Krispy Kremes any time we’re up there. We like to eat at the In-n-Out off of the I-17 when we’re getting to the far North side of the greater Phoenix area. We found the best sushi ever once at a restaurant up there. We have some family and friends up there that we enjoy seeing. And we have always enjoyed getting out to the surrounding mountains and having little adventures!
We’ve done some hiking in the South Mountain Park and Usery Mountain Park, but our favorite place to go hiking in is the Superstition Wilderness on the far East side. Last February, we did a long through-hike through the area, and absolutely loved it. It’s such a beautiful area, and once we got past the main highlight of the trail (Weaver’s Needle), we didn’t see any other hikers and had the wilderness all to ourselves, or so it seemed! So when we made plans to travel to Phoenix last month, we decided to do another short hike in the Superstition Wilderness. Thanks to a short letterbox series, we found the Hieroglyphic Trail!
Temperatures were unusually cool for the middle of October, so we were able to do this hike in beautiful 70 degree weather! However, because it felt this cool, bringing water with us completely slipped our minds. Even though this trail was shorter, (only 3 miles roundtrip) this was a mistake, and one that we quickly learned from and will not repeat! Thankfully, there was a small pool at the end of this trail where Charlotte was able to get a drink and cool off. She didn’t have to suffer for our mistake!
I’m happy to report that no wildlife was seen on this hike. There were quite a few other hiking groups, more than we expected for a Thursday morning, but that’s what you get when you hike near one of the 5 biggest cities in the country!
A few details about this trail…it was a moderately easy hike on a very rocky trail. I’d say the rockiness of the trail was harder than the elevation or any other factor. Also, it was rather difficult to follow at some points. I tend to look at my feet while I’m hiking (to look out for rattlesnakes, of course!) and there were a few times while I was leading when I’d look up and think, where am I going, and where did the trail go?! Somehow we made it back to the trailhead, so I guess it couldn’t have been that difficult if you’re paying attention. We really enjoyed the letterbox series hidden here – excellent carves, good clues, and a lovely hike!
The one minor detail we’ll pick on is the fact that this is named the “Hieroglyphic Trail,” but at the end what you’ll find are not hieroglyphs, but petroglyphs. Nice try, guys. 😉
Overall, it was 3 miles roundtrip and took us under 2 hours, counting time spent resting at the end. So besides being a bit dehydrated (which was our own fault), we really enjoyed this short hike just North of Apache Junction and highway 60. Phoenix isn’t all scary if you go to the right places (and avoid rush hour traffic!) 😉