We Each Have an Ownership In Our State’s Most Expensive Real Estate
April 21, 2014
By P.R. “Randy” Cooney
Publisher, Arizona Journal of Real Estate & Business
Growing up in Phoenix, I recall our first home at the base of South Mountain, right off Central Ave. My sisters and I would merely cross the street to enter what would eventually become known as the largest municipally owned park in America –The South Mountain Park & Preserve consisting of 16,000 acres. Those were the days that children left the house at the first sign of light and returned home just before dark. Our parents only knew we were somewhere outside, within a five mile radius of home. They were OK with not seeing or conversing with us the entire day. We obviously took advantage of this freedom, trailblazing through Saguaros, sage brush and the jumping cactus of South Mountain.
As articles often do, this one is about to take a turn in another direction.
During these early years of my childhood (1954-1957), Dad would load-up us kids into the back of his pick-up to leave our home turning away from South Mountain, heading north to another mountain. Given lots of dirt roads and pot-holes, it seemed forever before arriving at the base of my Dad’s favorite mountain. We were never allowed to venture towards the top, given the stories of numerous of injuries and deaths from those who braved the summit of this iconic mountain. The mountain… Camelback Mountain, was then and remains now the center piece of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Years later, as a teenager and of course without parental permission, I did find my way to the top of Camelback Mountain. I would navigate my way up via what the early hikers knew as the “blue-dot-trial”. Some ingenious soul apparently took up a can of blue spray paint and sprayed strategic boulders to assist him, and others, in remembering the best way up to the top of Camelback. Since my first venture up to the Valley’s most prime piece of real estate, I have climbed this mountain hundreds of times. Today, different from those early years, thousands of hikers each year make the pilgrimage up to the top via a well-marked and maintained trail.
I invite those who have not, to join the thousands who have, to make the trek to the top of this Valley landmark. At the summit one is rewarded with panoramic and breath-taking views of our beloved “Valley of the Sun”. The trial is still a physical challenge and certainly not for the weak of heart or knees; however many hikers who take their time, can gradually make it to the top. The very athletic are up in under 30 minutes and others may take up to three hours. Although ropes are not required there are a couple fairly steep ascents along the way.
For historians it is worth noting that in 1965, Barry Goldwater led the Preservation of Camelback Mountain Foundation, spearheading community efforts to save as much of the summit as possible. This effort ultimately succeeded and was capped off by a ceremony in 1968 marking a land exchange that President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall attended this ceremony. Last year, 2013, the Echo Canyon Summit Trial was closed for renovation to better accommodate future generations of hikers and climbers. The Echo Canyon Summit trail was recently re-opened and as part a four million dollar renovation, the city built restrooms at the trailhead and greatly improved the trails leading to a variety of desert scenery and vistas. Via our taxes and the efforts of many, we all now have some ownership of this premium piece of real estate and access to great hiking and climbing right here in-town.
The address for Echo Canyon is 4925 E. McDonald — See you at the TOP!