Telegraph Pass

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Believe it or not there are mountains surrounding the Yuma valley. On one mountain is a peak called Telegraph pass (I know a pass is not normally a peak, but that's what they call it). It's part of the Gila Ridge and it is a popular hiking spot for locals and visitors alike.

It's only 0.8 miles to go from the gate at the base to the top but it is incredibly steep. I thought it would be fun to make this climb part of my long run day. So I drove out towards the range and parked near the access road. I calculated that if I ran from my car to the top and back it would be about 10 miles (it actually was 11!). And most of that would be on the rocky path leading up to the base of the mountain.

It was warm when I took off. Most of my run was in the low 80's with full sun. I brought my hip water bottles which gave me about 18 oz of water. I wish I had also brought my handheld water (learning). I also brought no food.

The path was way more rocky and rough that I anticipated. I had to be careful not to roll an ankle as I tried to run. Running may be a stretch. It was more of a trot. I kept my feet moving quickly, keeping my steps per minute high. This is a good strategy over rough terrain. It prevents you from overextending and possibly falling or getting injured.

I finally got to the gate and saw that the path to the top has very nice pavement. However, it looked too steep for me to run. But I went ahead and tried to run for a bit.

The rusty gate the marks the start of the ascent.

My plan to run to the top went out the window pretty quickly. Even though the 0.8 miles from the gate to the top was paved it was way too steep for me to run. I'm just not in hill shape, let alone a hill with an 20% grade. So I walked. The view from the top was impressive to say the least!

The path is paved, just steep.

Almost to the top!

You can see the green irrigated fields below.

You can see the path winding up to the top.
What's great about this trail is you don't have to run it. You can park near the gate and make it about a 4-5 mile round trip hike. Though steep, it is accessible for people of all abilities. I hope to make it back and actually run up it at some point. I did run on the way down and my legs were sores for days because of the beating they received.

My mile splits were nothing impressive but I was just out enjoying the scenery. It's a good reminder to not pace get in the way of actually enjoying what you are doing. The only bummer is I will have to wait until the weather gets cooler to try again. I don't think I can carry enough water with me to do this in the summer.

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