A Perfect Day for a Hike

I don’t know why, but today I was moved to return to Pinnacle Peak. The last time I did that trail was over 10 months ago (see So within less than a week, I did back-to-back Calvary Hill Arizona and Pinnacle Peak hikes, both pretty challenging (for me), which had eluded me for almost a year, due to my knee injuries.


It was a perfect day for the Pinnacle Peak hike. Or for that matter, for any hike in North Scottsdale. The temperature at the summit was 77°F (82°F at home). That’s about 12°F above normal for this time of the year. But there was a moderate northeasterly breeze of 15-20 knots.  Which helped cool things off beautifully.



On my way back from the summit, I veered off again to the east on a rough trail which is off limits to ordinary tourists and paid another visit to the “Standing Stones” of Pinnacle Peak I discovered a year ago.


Nearly three years ago, I even recorded the music DRUID DANCE – based on Grieg’s “In Hall of Mountain King” in which I used a video clip from the first Outlander movie.


UPDATE FEB 6, 2018


Today, I did the hardest of the three trails in our North Scottsdale neighborhood – the Tom’s Thumb hike on the east side of McDowell Mountains.


To give you an idea about how different this hike is, the trailhead is at an elevation of 2,800 ft. Which is roughly the same as the highest point of the Pinnacle Peak trail. The starting temperature was 70°F as compared to 74°F at our home. By the time I reached the Tom’s Thumb trail summit at 3,700 ft, it had dropped to 67°F.


So no wonder by the time you reach the 3,700 ft elevation on the Tom’s Peak hike, Pinnacle Peak, which you can see in this shot looks positively puny. Like a little lump barely visible on the northern horizon.


Well, I made it up and down unharmed, though my arthritic knees hurt on my way down as the trail is quite steep.


When I came back, I looked at the photos from some of my previous hikes to Tom’s Thumb. And I was amused to see that the outfit I was wearing today was the same as that on Equinox 2016. And the picture was taken at the exact same spot, where a crack between two large rocks afford a beautiful view of the Tom’s Thumb peak.

And that’s all she wrote from this hike to Tom’s Thumb.

UPDATE FEB 21, 2018


Today, I was moved to do another Calvary Hill hike. It was cold (54°F) and windy, quite a contrast to my usual scorching experiences on this McDowell Mountains trail. I was dressed for the occasion, of course. But still, it was hard going, especially on a downhill return. Which is hard on my knees and other joints.

What helped was Herr Beethoven. The first three movements of his magnificent Ninth Symphony got me up the mountain to the trail summit. The fourth (choral) movement helped me till half way on the way down.

I walked the rest of the way in silence. I could not think of any other musical creation I wanted to hear after something like Beethoven’s Ninth.

Here’s the Ninth as performed within the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 2012:

Prom 18: Beethoven Cycle — Symphony No. 9, ‘Choral’ Symphony in D minor, Op. 125 – July 27, 2012

  1.  Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
  2. Scherzo: Molto vivace — Presto
  3. Adagio molto e cantabile — Andante moderato — Tempo primo — Andante moderato — Adagio — Lo stesso tempo
  4. Recitative: (Presto — Allegro ma non troppo — Vivace — Adagio cantabile — Allegro assai — Presto: O Freunde) — Allegro molto assai: Freude, schöner Götterfunken — Alla marcia — Allegro assai vivace: Froh, wie seine Sonnen — Andante maestoso: Seid umschlungen, Millionen! — Adagio ma non troppo, ma divoto: Ihr, stürzt nieder — Allegro energico, sempre ben marcato: (Freude, schöner Götterfunken — Seid umschlungen, Millionen!) — Allegro ma non tanto: Freude, Tochter aus Elysium! — Prestissimo, Maestoso, Molto Prestissimo: Seid umschlungen, Millionen! Anna Samuil soprano Waltraud Meier mezzo-soprano Michael König tenor René Pape bass National Youth Choir of Great Britain West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

Daniel Barenboim, conductor, Royal Albert Hall, 27 July 2012

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