Climb to Mesa’s Wind Cave with a guide - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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Climb to Mesa’s Wind Cave with a guide

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Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2013 12:00 pm

Never made the trek up Pass Mountain to Wind Cave, one of the East Valley’s most popular hiking destinations?

Usery Mountain Regional Park will offer a guided morning hike up the heavily-used trail on Friday, Dec. 13.

“For people who have never done it, it’ll be a great introduction and provide a sense of security if you aren’t familiar with the trail. If you’re someone who knows Wind Cave Trail well, you’ll get some interpretation that you might miss if you’re used to doing it on your own,” says Brennan Basler, the park’s interpretive ranger.

Park volunteers Mark Troester and Lynn Neakrans will lead the hike, providing insight on the way into the terrain, flora, fauna and even the view.

A smooth-rock hollow scooped out of Pass Mountain’s signature horizontal band of yellow volcanic tuff, Wind Cave is home to a colony of bees and chipmunks eager to make off with crumbs dropped by resting hikers. The vista, which stretches 70 miles on a clear day, is a nice payoff for the rigorous climb up the mountain. The 3-mile (roundtrip) hike gains about 840 feet in elevation on the way up.

“Because the Wind Cave Trail is rated ‘difficult’ in the trail rating guide, it intimidates some people. We do get those who are hesitant. They can see the cave from down below, and it’s like, ‘Oh, I don’t know about that.’ But they’ll get to see (that) it’s not something to fear, and they’ll learn some things by example about trail safety and etiquette. It takes that apprehension out of the equation,” says Basler.

Hikers are advised to bring water to drink and wear a hat and closed-toe shoes.

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