The incredible Sonoran Desert in bloom – Arizona

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Palo Verde flower

“WOW!” was the first word that came out of my mouth as we approached Tucson on I-10 from the east.  We were looking at a sea of yellow as the Palo Verde blooms had virtually exploded!  This was our “nth” visit here, the unofficial home base where we’d spent several winters and one long hot summer.  During most of those visits we’d seen a lot of brown and dark olive colors, and some uniformly lush green.  But this time it was yellow all around!

The Sonoran Desert in springtime, after an unusually wet winter

The weather Gods were finally with us during our two-week May visit, the coolest in more than 40 years according to the National Weather Service.  The locals also confirmed the desert would be more colorful longer this year, and they couldn’t remember a more intense and widespread Palo Verde bloom.  It looked like our timing was good!

The Palo Verde is Arizona’s state tree

Palo Verde is Spanish for “green stick”

Our priority on this visit was doctor appointments, everything from cancer follow-ups to eye and dental inspections.  Fortunately we both continue to have eyes and teeth, and no cancer!

While driving around we couldn’t help but notice the vibrant colors along every road, hillside, wash and just about everywhere else:

We managed to hike two trails: the Cactus Forest Trail at Saguaro National Park-east and the Douglas Spring Trail at a nearby city park.  During both outings we were awestruck by how lush, colorful and vibrant the desert was:

A Cholla cactus bloom brought red highlights to the landscape

The desert was awash with yellow and splashed with red from Ocotillo blooms.  Hints of pink to light yellow from Prickly Pear flowers, and deep red or bright yellow Cholla blooms added to the mix:

Red Ocotillo blooms added brilliance to the scenery

The usually drab Chollas and Prickly Pears were bursting with color:

Not to be outdone, the stately Saguaros were sporting green crowns on their heads, bulbous nubs blooming into beautiful flowers.  They usually start to wake up in mid-May, but a large number were already showing off their milky white blooms that are Arizona’s state’s flower:

A single Saguaro can produce as many as 100 flowers in a season, with each lasting only one day.  They usually open at night and close soon after the sun starts to beat on them:

This Sonoran Desert beauty was sporting white headdresses

All doctors gave us two thumbs up, with extra happiness about two years cancer-free for Steve.  Even Betsy got a full bath to remove filth carried many miles from Texas.  A great visit all around!

Oh, Steve (a habit copied from one of our fellow RVers, you know who you are!) 🙂

Wickenburg, Arizona

We moved on to Wickenburg, 60 miles northwest of Phoenix, to explore it as a possible place to settle down one day.  We placed it near the top of our list after driving around, hiking, talking to locals and looking into real estate prices.  It met most of our requirements and we intend to come back to take another look later this year.

We consulted several pioneers who were milling around downtown.  They seemed to be frozen in time, but each had a story to tell via audio stations:

With the Sonoran Desert as a backdrop, the surrounding mountains keep residents close to nature with access to numerous hiking trails.  We tackled two of them during our stay;  Vulture Peak and Sophies Flat.

At an elevation of 3,660′, Vulture Peak is the highest point in the Vulture Mountains

We had hiked Vulture Peak in 2015, but Steve wanted to give it another try.  It’s only four miles out and back, but the last half going up is a strenuous climb up a steep hillside on loose rocks.  We ran into a terrible gnat invasion this time which pretty much spoiled the hike, but Steve was happy that he made it without the exhaustion he experienced the first time around.

Dozens of gnats seemed to like our hiking pants

Assessing the challenge ahead

Scrambling through a rocky gully

Made it to the saddle!

He attempted the summit, but a rock wall and no available ropes stopped him 😦

The view from the mountain’s saddle is worth some scrambling

Sophies Flat Trail was a fairly easy 7-mile trek through washes, over hills and around Red Top Peak.  It was another scenic desert hike with yellow remaining the dominant color:

Soap Yuccas were in bloom too

Wickenburg in the distance

The Teddy Bear Cholla blooms were waning

Barrel Cactus showed some buds

Our lucky day, we spotted not one but two venomous Gila Monsters along the trail.  One of them hissed at me!

The Palo Verde put on a spectacular show, turning the desert a gorgeous yellow-gold.  We were delighted to be here during a special spring brought on by the unseasonably cold and wet winter that several of our RV friends had endured.  Simply breathtaking!

 

Next up:  Summer plans revealed, more hikes and meet-ups with friends!



 

Final days in the Sonoran Desert- AZ

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Our winter stay in the Sonoran Desert this year began in January and seemed to just fly by. After my birding excursions at Patagonia, we returned to Tucson recently to wrap up a few appointments, hike with friends and socialize before beginning our slow migration north.

Mount Lemmon was dusted with snow when we returned to Tucson at the beginning of March

While setting up camp we heard the military ‘birds” overhead, giving us a free air show that went on for the entire weekend.  I attempted to get good photos of them flying in formation as they flew right over the highly-populated city.  We learned that nearby Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the Arizona Air National Guard were practicing maneuvers, and it looked to us like they were doing a great job!  It was fun to watch, but the noise did get a bit old after a while.

I wouldn’t want to be the enemy and see this coming at me!

They even practiced some large explosions on the ground

We got a show of our own, as Betsy received her annual professional wash and power wax:

This team seems to have a lot of supervisors

Something we like to do when friends visit us here is show off our favorite cactus, the awesome saguaro.  When Mike and Jeanie came to town we drove over Gates Pass and into Saguaro National Park (west).

At Gates Pass overlooking Saguaro National Park

Jeanie and I tested our new “Peak Finder” app by pointing our iPhones at the mountain peaks.  It identified them just like the plaque in front of us!

We made a stop at Old Tucson Studios, which remains an active filming location for Western-themed movies, television, cable shows and commercials – also dubbed “Hollywood in the Desert.”  Here is my post about our first visit in 2016.

Old Tucson Studios

Gunfight on the street

This is a fun stop if you’re into old Westerns (Steve is a big Gunsmoke fan)

On another day when Steve was getting some work done on the car I joined John and Pam on their last hike at Tucson Mountain Park.  A nice thing that happened on this particular hike was that they named a crested saguaro after me! (little pleasures 🙂  Are they the coolest or what?

John urged us up to a nice spot for a lunch break

The Mona Liza Crested Saguaro!

Knowing we won’t be here again for a couple of years, we tucked in two more hikes – one on Star Pass Trail and the other on Ventana Canyon Trail.  Following recent rains, the desert had awakened.  The saguaros were plump, the ocotillos were budding and the rest of the desert plants perked up ready for spring.  Happily, we had the trails mostly to ourselves as we enjoyed the quiet scenery and said goodbye to our thorny friends.

And he says I’m a ham!

A saguaro forest basking in the morning sunshine

View of Tucson from the top of the ridge along Ventana Canyon Trail

We spent our last evening in Tucson with Gay and Joe of good-times rollin.  They prepared delicious beef fajitas, which Joe and Steve cooked while exchanging notes about their cancer journeys.  We were so happy to hear that Joe is now cancer free!

Beef fajitas – yum!

About 164 miles north of Tucson is the small town of Black Canyon City, our last stop before exiting the Sonoran Desert.  It’s where the Sonoran Desert transitions to the coniferous Arizona mountain forests at higher elevations.  This was a revisit for us, as we had discovered a couple of nice hikes here a couple of years ago.

We were excited to meet up with the Wandering Camels once again for a fun hike.  Dave and Faye joined us for our swan song hike in the Sonoran Desert.  It’s always a hoot hiking with this great couple whom we have trekked with in southern Utah and Banff National Park.

A hike with Dave and Faye is always fun!

New River

Dave caught us bidding goodbye to the saguaros

But we were itching to move on, even if it meant missing the desert in bloom and the flowering saguaros.  We experienced it last year, enjoying a whole different desert during the spring and summer months.

Just for smiles 🙂

We spent so much time hanging around the saguaros that I imagined personalities for some of them.  What do you think?

Dave and I created a “human” saguaro

 

 

Next up:  So much to do around Cottonwood!



 

A rendezvous in the desert – Tucson, AZ

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Humming Bird
saguaro

“Welcome to Tucson”, the Saguaro seems to say as it bows

So here we remain, at our “winter headquarters” for this year – Tucson.  The population of over a half million seems to be spread out enough that it usually doesn’t feel too overcrowded, although we do try hard to avoid commute hour traffic when possible.

We love that this city is ringed by mountain ranges offering endless hiking opportunities, especially when combined with the many miles of desert trails in the immediate area.  And we also happen to love the Sonoran Desert!  We’ve stayed in three distinct areas during our visits here, and have always enjoyed the many nearby points of interest.

Tucson, Arizona

Downtown Tucson viewed from Robles Park, with the Catalina Mountains as the backdrop

In January, 2013 we camped at Catalina State Park in northern Tucson (our tales of that stay are here and here).  Returning in January of 2016, we hung out for a month at the Lazy Daze/KOA in southern Tucson (the activities we enjoyed during that stay are detailed here).

 Mission San Xavier del Bac

Looking south toward the Santa Rita Mountains, the “White Dove of the Desert” – Mission San Xavier del Bac – takes center stage

Saguaro National Park

After the movie at the Saguaro National Park visitor center, the theater curtains open to reveal the giants of the Sonoran Desert – the Saguaros

Tucson Mountain Park

Looking down at the Western side of Tucson

Tucson

The sprawling city of Tucson

So far this year we’ve stayed on the western side of Tucson, one month at Western Way RV Resort and we’re currently residing for a second month at Desert Trails RV Park just up the road.  The choice of these campgrounds was based mainly on their excellent access to the many great hiking trails in Saguaro National Park, Tucson Mountain Park and Robles Park. We wasted no time getting started on those hikes to burn off the mega calories we packed on while partying in Puerto Peñasco.

Saguaro National Park

We always enjoy our treks with serious hikers like Hans and Lisa, this time on the Hugh Norris Trail

Sweetwater Preserve

Investigating a downed Saguaro at Sweetwater Preserve

Brown Mountain Trail

We like nearby Brown Mountain Trail, and have hiked it a couple of times so far

Saguaro

Some Saguaros gave us the finger…

Saguaro

…this one gave us many fingers!

Saguaro

This one could be hundreds of years old

saguaro skeleton

This dead Saguaro looks like a desert scarecrow

Yetman Trail

An early morning hike on the Yetman Trail via Tucson Estates

Tucson Mountains

Tucson Mountains as seen from the Wasson Peak Trail

Crested saguaro

Goofing off with one of Pam’s friends – a crested Saguaro – on the Flight Path Trail

We’ve been here for several weeks now, plenty of time to repeat trails we followed last year and to discover new ones.  For the first time we’ll be staying long enough to catch the colors of spring in the Sonoran Desert, which we’ve missed previously in our haste to head north.

The Ocotillo blossoms provide a splash of red all over the desert, just beautiful!

Crimson red Ocotillo blooms – don’t they look like mini lipsticks?

Creosote bush

Creosote bush swaths the desert a golden hue

A closer look at a creosote bloom

 

On the desert floor, area sidewalks and vacant lots was a profusion of dainty vibrant wildflowers.  I can’t help but stop, take a picture and admire them:

The birds are also enjoying the blooms, sucking sweet nectar from the flowers and whistling at us as we stroll by:

Of course, mild winters here are the main draw for us and thousands of other “snowbirds”. It’s a place where we congregate to meet up with old friends and make new ones.  I think of our meet-up here as a renewal of our friendships, and it’s always a joy to see those folks to exchange travel stories and the adventures we’ve had on the road during the past year.

Kathie and Mike of Life Rebooted.  We met them last year at Bryce Canyon after following their blog for several months

At the big gathering below, we met Paul and Marsha of Where’s Weaver for the first time. Everyone else were folks we’ve forged relationships with over the years through our blog sites – Hans and Lisa of Metamorphosis Road, John and Pam of Oh the Places They Go and Dave and Sue of Belugas Excellent Adventure.

John, David, Sue, Marsha, Paul, Steve, me, Lisa, Hans and Pam

Me with John and Pam, and “serious Jeep pilots” Joe and Gay of Good Times Rolling

Infected humanoid – stay away!

We’re always excited to meet new friends, but we were sorry we missed out on meeting up with Jim and Barb of Jim and Barb’s RV Adventure.  I was recovering from a flu bug and wasn’t about to risk infecting them.

We spent this happy hour huddled inside Betsy as gusty winds spoiled our outdoor venue

New friends Jim and Nancy of Running Down our Dreams (behind us) and good buddies John and Sharon of On the Road of Retirement

Just before Hans and Lisa left we had an alcohol-free happy hour at their coach (well, it WAS in the morning), followed by a mini-tour of Desert Trails RV Park.  They showed us around so we could note the best sites to request for our upcoming stay.  Two weeks later we got one of the most-desired sites (M28), and we are enjoying the afternoon shade here.  It’s nice to have friends to help us gather good intel!

A healthy and happy start to the day with Hans and Lisa

As we remain here enjoying all the trails and spring blooms, our friends have all moved on. We hope to see them here again, at our favorite rendezvous spot in the desert!

A post from the southwest would be incomplete without a Sonoran Desert sunset!

 

Next up:  More fun things to do around Tucson



 

Wrapping up our month-long stay in Tucson, AZ

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Crested Duck

Our month-long winter break in Tucson whizzed by as we went about completing maintenance on Betsy, socializing, hiking, birding and checking out local attractions.  And we thought we might be bored here!  Be forewarned that this post is a little lengthy, as we did a lot while concluding our sojourn in the Sonoran desert 🙂

2016-02-04-AZ-1380169Although our home base was in an urban setting, Tucson has a lot to offer in terms of our outdoor interests – hiking, birding and socializing.  As mentioned in my previous post, the city is surrounded by five mountain ranges, and except for the rolling Rincon Mountains to the east we managed to follow at least one trail on each range.  Much of these mountains is protected as parkland and rich with excellent hiking trails.

 

Romero Pools – Santa Catalina Mountains

The trailhead to this popular trail is accessed from within Catalina State Park, one of my favorite state parks in Arizona.  It was an out and back trek of about 5.6 miles along rugged and rocky terrain.  As we climbed to higher elevations we noted not only a large diversity of cacti but also several pine and juniper covered peaks near Cathedral Rock and Romero Canyon.

Santa Catalina Mountains

The first mile was relatively flat as we approached the canyon

Sotol

Sotol (also known as Desert Spoons) with towering bloom stalks were abundant on this trail

With the recent rains we frequently heard and saw flowing waterfalls and streams.  Several folks had already staked out spots for photos and lunch as we approached the pools, and we had our lunch on a boulder overlooking the pools.  The Romeo Pools are shallow catchments for canyon streams and a good stopover for weary hikers and folks who want to take a swim during the summer months.

Romero Pools

The trail is scenic with several panoramic views of area mountains.

Romero Pools Trail

Views of mountains and Oro valley on our way back

We were excited to complete our hike, as we had been invited to an early happy hour at Jodee and Bill’s site in the park.  It was our first time meeting them and also Cindy, Walter and Geneva.  Also at the gathering were John and Pam and Dave and Sue (who had moved to the state park a few days earlier).

Relaxing, eating good food and shooting the breeze with these folks while gazing up at the nearby Santa Catalina Mountains was a great way to spend an afternoon!

Santa Catalina Mountains

Happy hour in the shadow of the Santa Catalina Mountains

Old Baldy Trail/Super Trail loop  –  Santa Rita Mountains

The Santa Rita Mountains lie some forty miles south of Tucson, and although they’re not as large as the Catalinas they boast the area’s highest peak, Mt. Wrightson at 9,456′.  But the main reason I persuaded Steve to make the drive was to check out Madera Canyon – a world-famous spot for birding.  Happily, extensive hiking trails also cover the mountains, making this a good place to get a change of pace from our recent desert hikes.

Mt Wrightson

Mt. Wrightson viewed from the Super Trail

We chose to follow the Old Baldy Trail, intending to go all the way to Mt. Wrightson peak. The trail began at 5,400′ of elevation and because it’s situated on a northerly aspect, deep snow from recent storms still covered the higher elevations.  As we climbed higher I began losing the spring in my step, as patches of snow and ice on the trail became a real hazard. It was time to consider a change of plans.

Old Baldy Trail

When we reached Josephine Saddle at 7,080′ we made a decision to forego summiting Mt. Wrightson and head back via the Super Trail.  At the top of the saddle was a clearing with an old wooden memorial.  It marks the spot near where three young boy scouts died during a sudden blizzard in 1958.  The storm ended up being the largest on record in Arizona, and it caught the young and inexperienced scouts by surprise.  Steve downloaded the book Death Clouds on Mt. Baldy by Cathy Hufault which he really enjoyed (and which I have yet to read).

Old Baldy Trail Memorial

We followed the south-facing Super Trail back to the car, enjoying great views down the valley and completing a 6.2 mile loop.

Green Valley, AZ

View of Green Valley, AZ

As for the birds, I didn’t have to go far.  The Santa Rita Lodge has numerous feeders at their wildlife viewing area and I had three new bird sightings – a Yellow-eyed Junco, a Hepatic Tanager and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.  What a great day it was!

Roadrunner/Panther Peak/Cam Doh Loop – Tucson Mountains

We had already hiked at the Tucson Mountains with John and Pam, trekking up to the peak of Mt. Wasson, the highest in that mountain range.  This time we followed a moderate, flat loop trail – meandering through washes and Saguaro and Cholla forests for 4.4 miles.

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As you may know our friend Pam has been labeled the Queen of the Crested Saguaro, and her enthusiasm for them has rubbed off on us.  Now we not only have to watch our step while looking for birds and unusual landscape, we also have to add a scan for Crested Saguaro.  On this hike we sighted two, a crested top and a rare crested arm.  But no birds!

Wild Burro/Wild Mustang Loop Trail – Tortolita Mountains

At the Tortolitas we chose to combine the Wild Burro/Wild Mustang/Upper Javelina trails for an 8.2 mile workout.  The Wild Burro Trail weaved in and out of a dry riverbed before getting a bit more rugged as we started a steep climb.  But we barely got onto the trail when eagle-eyed Steve spotted a Javelina engrossed in chomping on some Prickly Pear for breakfast.  We still don’t know how they can eat that stuff!

Javelina

Lone Javelina crunching on some Prickly Pear – ouch!

Wild Burro Trail

Looking back at the river bed we just trekked through

After a couple of miles we picked up the Wild Mustang Trail, which climbed about 1,400′ to an elevation of 4,100′ on a subsequent ridge.

Wild Mustang Trail

The trail was very scenic, as the path crossed several saddles that opened to new views, including a look at Mt. Lemmon and the Catalinas to the east.  Further along we could see other mountain ranges near and far.

Wild Mustang Trail

Mt. Lemmon peeking out in the distance

I would say this trail brought together classic prickly desert and other more colorful landscapes very nicely.

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The wonderful hike was capped off by a surprise birthday cake brought by John and Pam, and a round of drinks purchased by Joe and Gay at the Dragoon Brewing Company that evening.  This was our first get-together with Joe and Gay, whom I’ve been following since 2013.

It’s always exciting to meet a fellow blogger that you feel you already know, even before actually meeting them.  My wonderful friends made me blush a little bit that evening, and they really made my birthday celebration special.  Thank you all!

A posse bringing cake!

A posse bringing cake!

Wildlife of the desert

You all know of my fascination with birds, big and small.  Our visit to Patagonia in 2013 started it all when I saw the elusive and colorful Elegant Trogon, and then thousands of Sandhill Cranes at Whitewater Draw.  Since then I’m constantly on the lookout for my feathers friends.

During this Tucson stop I limited myself to urban birding at areas designated as places to watch birds by the Tucson Audubon Society.

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After working on this frog for a while, the duck gave up.  He simply bit off more than he could swallow!

Crested Duck

Look Pam, a Crested Quack-quack!

I was thrilled to see not only birds, but also some other not-often-seen animals along the trail.

Round -tailed Squirel

This Round-tailed Squirrel looks adorable with those big almond shaped eyes

Bobcat

This guy walked quietly behind until a lady pointed him out to me. Wow!

Finally, Brenda and Hector rolled into town for a quick visit, and we met them for dinner in downtown Tucson.

John too can be a Valet

Here’s an easy car to spot!

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Another fine meal at El Charro was enjoyed by all: Pam, Brenda, Steve, Hector, I and John

Steve remembered having good tapas at Casa Vicente with his pilot buddies several years ago.  We decided to give it another try on our final night in Tucson and enjoyed yet another meal with friends before moving on.

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Cheers to good friendships! We’ll be seeing these folks, and others, in Moab, UT soon!

 

Next up:  An exciting detour for Betsy



 

Hiking with John and Pam – Tucson, AZ

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With most of Betsy’s maintenance items out of the way, it was time to have some fun.  At our happy hour Pam recited a list of trails to enjoy around Tucson, and we were geared up to go hiking with them again.  Many of you know John and Pam of Oh the places they go are avid hikers whose boots have passed over hundreds (probably thousands) of miles of trails.  We hiked with them last summer in Colorado and were looking forward to trekking with them again here in Tucson.

We initially chose two trails – Seven Falls Trail in Sabino/Bear Canyon, and the scenic Mt. Wasson Peak Trail at Saguaro National Park.

Seven Falls Trail, Sabino Canyon

The Seven Falls Trail is accessed via Bear Canyon Trail.  The hike begins at the parking lot of Sabino Canyon Recreation Area in the eastern foothills of the Santa Catalina mountain range, northeast of Tucson.  As the name implies, the reward at the end of this trail is Seven Falls where the water cascades down a steep ravine creating an enchanting sequence of falls and pools.  We followed Bear Canyon Trail for about 2 miles and then continued a little more than 2 more miles to reach the falls.

Seven Falls Trail

The leaders conferring

When we settled on this hike we hadn’t considered the recent rain and snow.  The trail crisscrossed over Sabino Creek seven times and the water was high, making our crossings quite challenging.  At the first two we removed our boots and socks to wade across the frigid water.  Fortunately John was prepared and brought a towel for everyone to dry their feet with – thanks, John!

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Doing this seven times in each direction was not an option!

John was our leader and he searched for drier crossings several times, but alas there were none.  So after the second crossing we just gave up and our boots and socks were soaked the rest of the hike.

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Yikes my boot’s under water and it’s freezing!

Other than the abundance of cacti and other Sonoran Desert plants, it felt like we were not in the desert as we enjoyed the sound of rushing water during most of the hike.  After crossing the frigid water several times the trail rose up the side of Bear Canyon, then came back down to Seven Falls.

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Desert Marigold

The only bloom we saw on the trail, a Desert Marigold

The exposed granitic rocks were quite a sight, crossed by mineral veins but slippery when wet.

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Seven Falls, Bear Canyon

A large pool at the falls

At the end of the trail we were rewarded with the sights and sounds of the falls, and we relaxed for lunch next to one of the pools.  Off came the boots and socks as we exposed our legs to the sun to warm them back up.

Seven Falls Trail

The foursome enjoying a respite from wet boots and socks

The return trip was much shorter as we gave up on trying to stay dry and just plowed across the water crossings.  Our legs were double-tired after 8+ miles of hiking with heavy, wet boots.   But despite the minor inconvenience it was a great day!

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Hurry up and dry, our next hike is fast approaching!

Mt. Wasson Peak, Saguaro National Park

The second hike John and Pam led us on was to the top of Wasson Peak.  Mt. Wasson is located 15 miles west of the city in the Tucson Mountain Range, and is the highest point in the west unit of Saguaro National Park.  They had hiked this trail before, and due to the excellent views at the top they were happy to repeat the trek with us.    It’s a great way to experience Saguaro National Park and the Sonoran Desert.

King Canyon Trail

There are several trails leading to the summit, and we chose to follow the King Canyon, Hugh Norris and Sendero Esperanza trails, then we looped back around to the Gould Mine Trail to give us a 7.8 mile workout.  The trails are all within the Saguaro National Park, and we walked amidst the Sonoran Desert ecosystem with full displays of giant Saguaro, Prickly Pear, Barrel Cactus and Cholla, to name just a few.

Pam has great interest in Crested Saguaros and she tries to see as many as she can when in Arizona.  If you don’t know, a Crested Saguaro is one where the growing tip produces a fan-like form referred to a crest or cristate.  They are very rare, but Pam spotted one with her eagle-eyes on this hike.  If you’d like to see more of her Crested Saguaro photos click here.

King Canyon Trail

Looking at some black liquid coming out of a fallen cactus

This trail is moderate with some rocky and steep sections, and we followed several switchbacks as we approached the peak.

Wasson Peak

Our destination – Wasson Peak 4,687 ft

A history tidbit: Wasson Peak is named in honor of John Wasson, the first editor of the Tucson Citizen newspaper in the late 1800’s.

King Canyon Trail

Looking back at the switchbacks we just hiked

Wasson Peak

The foursome at Wasson Peak – John, Pam, ML and Steve

This hike is definitely worth doing.  The view of the valley, surrounding mountains and Tucson is spectacular from the peak.  Because of its accessibility and outstanding views we met several other hikers on this trail.

Wasson Peak

Can you see the airport way out there?

Picacho Peak

Picacho Peak – we’ve all scaled that tough mountain, but not together

Hugh Norris Trail

Hugh Norris Trail follows the ridge top with great views on both sides

Norris Trail

That formation looks like a man reading a book, no?

We also came across some desert blooms:

Skeletal Saguaro

A skeletal Saguaro is still a beauty

Fishhook cactus

Hugh Norris Trail

On our way down the Hugh Norris Trail

Sendero Esperanza Trail

Let’s do a final map check

What do you do after a long and rewarding hike?  Have mexican food!  Dave and Sue joined us that evening for dinner at El Charro, one of the oldest Mexican restaurants in Tucson.

Yum!

Yum!  Three kinds of tamales

Great People

Great food, great company! – Dave, Steve, ML, John, Pam and Sue

 

Next Up:  What we missed the first time…