Beauty of Seven Falls

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wild Burro and Lower Javelina Trails in the Tortolita Mountains

Wild Burro Canyon
Our group started out at 8:30 a.m. to beautiful blue skies and moderate temperatures with a group of 9 hikers, including JoAnn, Jim, Ernie, Gina, Esther, Mike, Judy, Dave and me.  We stayed very close to home again this week; our destination - Dove Mountain right here in Marana. Dove Mountain is a part of the Tortolita Mountain range boasting some 29 miles of trails, which includes all the classic Sonoran Desert terrain, rugged ridges, diverse wildlife, historic ruins and signs of prehistoric inhabitants.

Dave pays attention...

JoAnn w/map - giving route

We took the Wild Burro trail to the Western Lower Javelina Trail loop, and then back to the Wild Burro Trail to the remains of the old line shack.  We’re still very early in the hiking season so this hike was relatively easy and short.  The route is about five miles round trip with an elevation gain of 150 feet.  

FYI – In case the term “line shack” doesn’t mean anything to you, it is a remnant of a stone cabin that the cowboys used when tending the cattle ranch that was once here in Wild Burro Canyon.  I have actually tried to find info on the cattle ranch and who owned it, but I don’t want to give out incorrect info so I don’t post some of the things I dig up.  There were and still are a lot of cattle ranches and farms in the area, so I’ll keep “digging”.  I guess my dream of being an archaeologist may still come true.  Lol

Beautiful skies
Majestic Saguaros
The first part of the hike, along the Wild Burro Trail is very sandy footing.  That’s okay, because many of us are still trying to get our hiking legs beneath us, so we appreciate these moderate hikes with part wash – part climbing trails to start with.  (Thank you JoAnn).   The saguaros are plentiful along these trails, and so are the chollas.  When the Wild Burro met up with the Lower Javelina Trail we started noticing more rocky terrain and started a little climbing.  We stopped several times along the way to enjoy the views and to hydrate.

Line Shack Ruins
When we reached the line shack we stopped for a real break and snack.  It is a very humbling experience to be this close to our not too distant history.  I can imagine cowboys huddling around a fire outside under the stars, or inside the stone cabin trying to keep warm during the frigid winter months in the mountains.  You can sit on the walls of the cabin and let your imagination run wild.  

Line Shack Ruins (Pic of LaNeta from last year)

Hi Ho Hi Ho, back down the trail we go....

Strange rock formations - How? When? Who?

Remember???? OW!
We did this same hike last year, but thank goodness this time we had none of the excitement that went along with the adventure last year.  This was the hike where one of the jumping cholla decided to piggyback a ride on the palm of my hand.  Terrible!!

This isn’t a difficult hike by any standards, but it is one of the most beautiful in our repertoire.  I know I say that a lot, but if you don’t look down when you are climbing up the trails…if you just look out and up, you can imagine yourself in a much more wilderness type area.  If you look down, you are met with views of the Ritz-Carlton Resort and golf course.  

Rugged terrain

Jim hitting the bottle again

After resting and socializing at the line shack, we started our trek back to the Wild Burro Trailhead.  I have to admit that this seemed to be really difficult to travel now.  Dragging through that sand seemed endless and yes some of us didn’t mind verbalizing the drudgery.  Others of us commented that it was just strength training for the more difficult hikes to come – thanks Esther. 

My theory of bigger steps being better didn't pan out.
The day was heating up quickly so we need to make it back to the trailhead.  Temps were estimated to reach the lower 90s and I think the weatherman may have actually hit it right this time. 

We made it back to the trailhead/parking area and decided to stay and have our lunch there.  A wonderful hike!!!

See you on the trails…..

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