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03/08/2014

Paying homage to Rocky IV is much harder than the original Rocky

IMG_3775SOUTH MOUNTAIN, PHOENIX, Arizona - Anyone can run the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and replicate the famous training run by Sly Stallone in the original Rocky. Dedicated fans to the world's greatest heavyweight boxer have to be much more committed to pay homage to another classic Rocky training montage - climbing a mountain to scream, "DRAGO!"

The South Mountain range in Phoenix provides such an opportunity, even without the KGB following you. It was 29 years ago this year when Rocky Balboa trained in the USSR to fight Ivan Drago.

I set out for the peak in this photograph - the one at about 11 o'clock; the top here is approximately 33,000 feet, give or take.

IMG_3776Like any great mountain climber - I was prepared with the hiker's checklist:
* T-shirt, basketball shorts, and running shoes - check.
* No water - check.
* No food - check.
* No real experience climbing rocks, or steep terrain - check.
* Don't tell anyone you are going to be there, just in case something goes wrong - check.
* Cell phone with 10 percent battery remaining - check.
* No identication cards - check.
* Begin your climb late in the afternoon, so you the sun will go down during your adventure - check.
* The ability to ignore signs that read, "Don't walk here" - check.
* No map - check.
* Ignorant ambition to simply climb a peak because it's there - check.

All of the ingredients for an exciting episode of I Shouldn't Be Alive on the Animal Planet.

Two hours in, and lots o' huffing/puffing/cursing later and the journey was complete. A wonderful view, a nice breeze, a pretty sunset and total isolation; it's a good way to remind yourself just how small you are.

More importantly, I could do this:

  

 

  

After completing my stupid journey, a voice from waaaaaay down on the ground screamed back, "Hey buddy?! - Are you OK?!"

IMG_3777What is misleading about Rocky's run up the mountains in Russia is not the difficulty of his climb, but pain of the descent. It's a recipe for a sprained ankle, especially when you have no clue what you are doing.

All that's left is to drink raw eggs, take a ton of steroids, and undergo plastic surgery and my homage to Rocky will be complete. 

Twitter @MacEngelProf

tengel@star-telegram.com

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Comments

Davidmar

Bet a couple of those pizzaburgers sound good about now. Let me know if I should organize a search team.

Camel Back

Great article. Loved it. South Mountain is one of my favorite. Camel Back is a close second but South Mountain is a good hike, always quiet, and a great view of one of my favorite cities. And any article that references Rocky is always welcomed.

Michael

Not telling anyone where you are going? You are lucky a loose bolder didn't fall on your head, trapping you and forcing you to cut off your own hair to escape.

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