This summer started late but it sure has made up for it with hot temperatures and high humidity. All the trails here in Phoenix have heat restrictions for dogs: when it is 100 or higher, dogs are not allowed. Folks, at 100 with a heavy coat on, you wouldn’t want to hike anyway! Keep your pups safe and know the temperature…not just when you start but when you would finish.
My family and I got up way too early for a Sunday morning. Instead of having a nice, leisure breakfast where I would normally get a taste of some pancakes, my folks put their hiking shoes on and off we went. We headed for the Desert Vista Trailhead over by Norterra. We hadn’t hiked here since the spring when we saw the baby owls. Anyway, quite a few people were out early to beat the heat. They are open from 5 am to 7 pm and have restrooms for the human. No charge to enter and park.
Our favorite loop starts with a kick! Hawk’s Nest Trail (the owl nest apparently was previously owned by a Hawk) is a steep and rocky uphill climb. Oofda. We felt the humidity right away, making it feel hotter than it really was outside. Dad brought plenty of water for me, and I took a long drink. Staying hydrated is important for both dogs and humans. Always bring more than you think you will need.
We kept going straight at the first “Y” and got to the top of Hawk’s Nest Trail. There, we chose to go to the right onto the Dixie Mountain Loop trail. If you head left onto Dixie Mountain Loop, you will continue climbing upward. It’s a great hike but longer. We wanted to keep our hike under 3 miles so we could finish before the temps were too high. I always appreciate how my parents plan our outings and always strive to keep me safe. Remember, with each degree, the ground gets warmer and can burn your dog’s paws.
As we turned, we had some nice shade on this side of the mountain. Ah. That gave me some places to get another drink and pant. I didn’t smell any rattlesnakes and that was fine with me. We continued on with just a slight, gradual incline over to Valle Vista Trail and took a right onto it. This portion of the trail starts to head back down and goes through an incredible Cholla cactus field. When the morning sunlight hits them, they kind of sparkle. You just don’t want to tangle with them because you will lose.
My mom carries a set of plyers with her anytime we walk or hike here in the desert for that very reason. Chollas are extremely difficult to extract once they attach to you. My dad even had them stuck in his thick hiking boots. I personally hate when they bite my paws. It hurts! We were warned by a nice gentleman that the Chollas were on the trail and to be careful. We kept our eyes peeled.
Valley Vista is flat and goes along the desert floor. The views of Phoenix from here are fantastic. We were enjoying these views when a man called out, “Hey Kuma, is that you?” “Yup, it’s me alright,” I would have said if I could talk. Mom had my back and told the man, “Why yes, this is Kuma. Do you read his article?” The nice man said he did and gave me some pets and scratches. Me and mom were on the hot side by now, so neither of us remember his name. You know who you are, and we say “howdy!” to ya.
We continued hiking and took another right onto Desert Tortoise, which would take us back to where we started. This is a slow and gradual hike back up. My dad enjoys hiking by some pretty homes with very green yards. I got more water and took advantage of some shade. Once you pass the houses on your left, the incline gets steeper back up to Hawk’s Nest. We passed some people who were just starting their hike, and they had a dog. Eeeesh. That poor thing was gonna get really hot. I hope she did okay. During the summer, my folks will sometimes leave me at home because of the heat. They may be able to hike in it, but they know it might be too much for me. I’m so blessed and loved!
Once we got to the intersection, we took a left and headed to the car. It is all downhill from here! Dad put the AC on full blast, and we headed home where the cool tile awaited me. I’m glad we got out early, and I will be happy when the hot season is over. Until then, be smart and safe.
Hi! I am Kumaito (Kuma for short), a multi-tan Shiba Inu. My breed is one of the oldest and purest from Japan. I personally was born in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, moved to Friendswood, Texas, and now call Phoenix, Arizona home. I enjoy running or hiking almost every day with my mom, chasing rabbits out of my neighborhood, playing with toys, pestering my brother Edmond, eating, napping … well, I love just about everything and everyone!
My mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith (Founder of the FIT Leader Formula™) is kind enough to help me share my Great Adventures, big and small. My mom is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, business consultant, executive coach, behavioral-wellness expert, and author of eight published books. More importantly, she’s the best doggy mom ever!
Enjoy my blog at https://www.lorrainebosse-smith.com/category/kuma/ and be sure to follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kumathedog?ref=hl
Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!