Our group hiked beautiful Pima Canyon Trail in the Catalina Mountains recently. I have hiked this trail several times now, but this time had to be the best so far. The trail is rated as moderate in most of the guides and at last I am able to agree with them. The “novice hiker” seems to be growing up. I had no time to whine – what type of example would that set for the others who look to me as the leader of the group now.
Our group of 7 hiking enthusiasts gathered at the Pima Canyon trailhead to beautiful sunshine and cool temperatures, but clouds seemed to be gathering in the Tucson Mountains to the east.
|Something more sinister?|
This is only a 6 ½ mile hike - about 3.2 miles in and the same back out. The elevation change is about 850 feet, but they only count the total elevation. For those of you that like climbing – there is lots and lots of climbing and stretching (if you happen to have short legs like I do) connected with this hike.
|I found a perfect place to rest|
Some of our members shy away from this hike because of the challenges, but I think this hikes has some of the most beautiful views in the Catalina Mountains. The views make it well worth the climbing.
From the parking lot we started out on private property to the trailhead. The trail is very well marked and a short ways in the signs indicated that we were entering the wilderness area. After 15 or 20 minutes in we started climbing.
|Kirk - steady as a rock, up on top of a rock|
The canyon views are very spectacular, with rock face rising on either side. I know that many of the canyons in the Catalinas are beautiful, but it’s hard to beat this one.
We had only hiked for 30 or 40 minutes when we noticed what we first thought were clouds moving closer in. This is when the views become very hard to describe.
The clouds were in fact, fog!
If you have never been in total sunshine one moment, and then engulfed in fog the next, I cannot even begin to tell you how it felt. It seemed like something right out of a horror movie, only we were not afraid. We were together enjoying the unusual feeling of being wrapped in clouds and fog.
|Kept on coming.....|
|Did you ever have the feeling you were being followed?|
We took plenty of water breaks and time-outs to take in the breathtaking views. We were enjoying ourselves to such an extent, none of us were even keeping track of time or how long it was taking us to get to the dam.
|What do you think? Oldest cottonwood tree living?|
|Nest hiding in a cactus|
When we reached the dam, we took a leisurely break for lunch and rest. Looking at the mountains from afar can never give you the same rush you get from climbing through them. Exhilarating!
|Beautiful crested saguaro|
|Saguaro coming up out of stones|
I never get tired of getting to the dam and seeing the grinding rock. There is this really large flat rock and the indentations from where the ancient inhabitants ground their mesquite pods into flour are still very prevalent. You only get to see them if you go all the way to the dam though.
One of our members – Eugenia – kept saying her feet were not being obedient because her legs felt like rubber. I knew just what she was saying because that’s how I felt last year.
Our return trip to the trailhead was pretty uneventful, just filled with magnificent views.
|Chun in the jungle|
|A little bit of color|
Our poet laureate Kirk has done it again with poetic verse to describe our hike:
by Kirk DeLong
Like water we flow over mica and crystal quartz jewels.
Cascading into Pima Canyon pools.
Dream of surreal sand paintings on cathedral walls
Stone glaciers calving; black water slides painting their faces.
Eagle eyes witness the tree of life shadows washing over us.
Mystical mist unveils a stairway to Shangri-La.
Lost horizon recedes into clouds.
Like water we flow.
See you on the trails…….