Our hike this week took us to the Tucson Mountains once again. We were back in the beautiful Saguaro National Park. This time we would do a loop of several connecting trails including the Picture Rocks Wash Trail, Ironwood Trail, and Cam Boh Trail. The total hike would be approximately 4.5 to 5 miles. Our group of 7 started out at our regular time and reached the trailhead in about 20 minutes. This is one of our close-to-home hikes. We don’t get a lot of elevation with these, but it is nice to get to our destination very quickly.
|Starting out - Jim, Judy, Connie, Barbara, Bonnie, & Barbara|
It was a warm morning and we were eager to get started because temperatures seem to climb very quickly in the afternoon in the direct sun. Today was to be no exception. We were sorry not to have LaNeta and Gordy who have gone home to North Dakota for the spring and summer, but we were very happy to have Connie, who has been on sick leave (can you be on sick leave from a hiking group?) back with us. We chatted along the Picture Rocks Wash, in which the sand almost seems like quicksand at times. I don’t know which is harder – climbing up higher elevations, or trudging through sand. I do know I have come to prefer the climbing…just a personal aside.
|Long-horn sheep or goat?|
Not too far into the wash we came upon the rocks that are famous for the petroglyphs that are carved into them. I have seen the rocks on previous hikes, but they never cease to amaze me. They were carved by Native Americans, probably Hohokam, hundreds of years ago, and have endured here in the Sonoran desert. I always try to figure out what type of animal they were carving, and what they were trying to convey. Some think that they were probably carved as part of a pre-hunt ritual. They are always interesting to see.
This hike is one that really lets you know you are in the desert. All you see are cactus, sand, cactus, rocks, desert blooms such as chicory and poppies, cactus, lizards, and did I mention cactus? Not to worry about it not being scenic though, there are always the ever present surrounding mountain views.
|Still more beauty|
We reached the halfway point very early, about 11:00 and decided we would stop here for our lunch. There was a shady little alcove where all 7 of us could enjoy a few cool moments out of the sun. This little alcove is just indicative of the quiet and serenity of this area. This trail is actually carved out and around a religious retreat called Redemptorist Renewal Center. People come from far and near to enjoy the solitude and reflection.
|Connie and Judy|
|One of these things just doesn't belong here....|
|All the Ladies|
After lunch we continued on our way making a loop back to our starting point. I can say that this is one of the easier hikes, but very enjoyable for all.
|Hi Ho Hi Ho, back down the trail we go|