Beauty of Seven Falls

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Brown Mountain Trail in the Tucson Mountains

Beautiful desert views
We hiked The Brown Mountain Trail on our last outing.   There were 9of us along for the hike, Judy, Ernie, Danielle, Dave, JoAnn, LaNeta, Linda, Kirk, and myself.  We headed out at 8:00 a.m. to perfect weather for hiking – slightly cool and sunny.
Valley views
Alright - starting the climb
The trail is approximately 5 miles long round trip with a 350 ft. elevation gain.  The guidebooks always just give you the highest elevation gain on the trail that you will have to climb.  Sometimes you climb to that elevation more than once.  In the case of the Brown Mountain Trail, it reaches that height a total of 3 times.  It is listed in the guidebooks as a moderate hike and I would have to agree with that. 
Linda, Kirk and LaNeta checking the sights
LaNeta and Joann

Even though we have done this trail before, what keep our hikes fresh and new and exciting are the people.  We have one of the most interesting and diverse group anyone could ever hope for.  Everyone brings different experiences and history to discuss along the trails.
Another new member - Abadaba

We saw many saguaro, prickly pear, and jumping cholla and ocotillo cactus.  There’s not much color out there on the trails this time of year, so any little splash of color gets lots of comments.  One of the best things about the Brown Mountain Trail is the surrounding views.  

We hiked the trail in reverse of how we usually do it.  We stared out at the picnic area and it was pretty level hiking and gradually climbed.  I have to say I think I like this way better.  It probably added another half mile or so to the hike, but not an issue at all.  We seemed to get a different view altogether, and I for one, was not a bit tired by the time we stopped for our lunch break.  It’s always nice to learn new things, even as little as when a well known hike is done a different way.  Thanks Ernie! 
Happy hiker - happy cactus!
Ernie leading the way

That Cougar Trail sign is always getting people in trouble!

Lunch break - one of my favorite parts of the hike....
Except when Abadaba swipes my PB&J

Scenic mountain views....

One of many saguaros we saw with twisted arms

This one seems especially happy to see us

Another wonderful hike under our camelbacks!  Can't wait til the next one.

Exhaustion sets in
See you on the trails....

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Linda Vista Trail in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness of Catalina Mountains

This week our group hiked in the beautiful Pusch Ridge area of the Catalina Mountains on the Linda Vista Trail.

Our merry group – these people are some of the most cheerful I know – met at 8:00 a.m. at our regular spot.  Several of our snowbirds were back so we had a little larger group this week, 12 hikers.  We had JoAnn, Ernie, Connie, Chun, Barbara, Danielle, Judy, Dave and I.  We were very happy to welcome back LaNeta, Linda and Kirk to the group for the winter months.  

Well, temperatures were cool when we started out which is perfect for hiking.  Pusch Ridge is one of the most beautiful and recognizable areas in the Catalinas.  This was my first time doing this particular trail and it was I was simply in awe of the scenery.
In Spanish the name of Linda Vista means “beautiful view” or “lovely vista” and it certainly lives up to its name.  You can make this hike as easy and difficult, as short or long as you like.  The series of trails interconnect and you can to in and out trails or shorter loops.  It has something for everyone.  It is in the category of easy hikes and that is what we wanted as our last hike before Thanksgiving.

We had a wonderful time catching up with LaNeta, Linda and Kirk as we hiked.  Even though the weather was chilly we still made sure to take lots of water breaks to stay hydrated.  It is easy to forget when the weather cools off like this, but staying hydrated while hiking is very important.  Taking lots of breaks also gave us a chance to stop and enjoy the scenic views.
Pusch Ridge is primarily made up of three distinct peaks, including Pusch Peak, Bighorn Mountain, and Table Mountain.  It is named for a German pioneer by the name of George Pusch (1847-1921), who came to Arizona in the 1870s, and established the Steam Pump Ranch, one of the largest cattle ranches in the Territory of Arizona. 
We only hiked a total of about 4 miles on this one, but a very enjoyable 4 miles.  Another good one goes in the books for our group.  Can someone please come up with a name for us so I don’t have to keep saying the group?

More views….

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Happy Thanksgiving and

See you on the trails.....

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sutherland Trail in the Catalina State Park

Our hike this week was the Sutherland Trail. The Sutherland Trail is an ‘out and back’ trail which is  approximately 5.2 mi. round trip and has an elevation gain of 700 ft.  It is located in the Catalina State Park in the Catalina Mountains and is listed as a relatively easy hike, but there is enough climbing to give you a really good workout.  One of the things I really like about this hike is the elevation gain is so gradual, a lot of members didn’t realize we had actually climbed 700 feet until I told them at the end of the hike.

Our group of 9 set out at 8:00 a.m. on a beautiful Tucson morning, and included JoAnn, Danielle, Connie, Judy, Dave, Barbara, Ernie, Eugenia and little old me.  

There several trails that originate from the same parking area, but they are very well marked (something a "novice hiker" is always thankful for). To get to the Sutherland trailhead you must cross three washes.  Sometimes there is quite a bit of water in the washes, but they were all completely dry this trip.  

Unbelievably breathtaking views!
This hike boasts some of the most breathtaking views in the Catalina Mountains.  We brought along our binoculars because this was the area where they released bighorn sheep last year and we hoped to spot a few while on the trail.  Of course we were terribly disappointed when no one spotted any.  

We did spot a few little wildlife representatives though…

Watching us "like a hawk"
Watching ....the hawk maybe?
The Sutherland Trail was named for a family that settled in this area in the 1800s.  In 1892, William Henry Sutherland sold his interest in the Arizona Stage Company, which ran from Casa Grande to Tucson. He felt cattle ranching would be more lucrative and, with his sons, built a ranch house and well at the mouth of Cargodera Canyon; one can still see the ruins today.   Cattle usually range within one and one-half miles of a water source, and the Sutherland ranch stood on the banks of a wide wash, now named after him, to insure his cattle had water.  Like many ranching families, Sutherland owned a home in Tucson and the family spent only part of the year on the ranch. Today Sutherland's ranch can be identified by two-foot high adobe walls, slowly melting into the desert. The ranch house is 28 feet long and 18 feet wide. An old road is still visible, running out of Sutherland Wash and heading northeast toward the mountains. 


The weather was perfect for hiking – in the mid 70s, but we stopped plenty of times for water breaks and to take in the sights.  It is absolutely wonderful to be out on the trail with friends, catching up with what everyone I did during the off-season.    We talk about their children, grandchildren, neighbors and friends. 


If you want to make friends – I mean real friends – join a hiking group.  There is a closeness that transcends backyard fences, because of how we depending on each other for our safety and well-being.  When we are out there on these mountain trails anything can happen.  There are real wild animals in these mountains; mountain lions, bears, bobcats, coyotes, and more.  It’s a good feeling to know that someone has your back up there. 

We follow the trail for a little over 5 miles until we reach an old iron gate.  We have to go through this gate and there is a sign that says to make sure you close the gate so cattle can’t get out, but I’ve never seen any cattle….

Lunch time

Wait Connie!  We're not ready to go yet!

Okay, enough about the trail….how about more views?


Even little bits of color stand out in the desert......


Another successful hike under our camelbacks.

A special thanks to Judy for forwarding some of her beautiful pictures which are included in this week's hike.

Thisis my expression on every hike (when it's break time

See you on the trails....