Close to where we live, there is a preserve. It's a great place for walking Jack or flat hiking or trail running. Really fortunate it is so close.
Green grass is growing from recent rain. Many mature trees and if only I could get in here with a chainsaw to clear the dead branches!!!
Jack poses for us.
Christmas morning, I walk Jack with the Catalinas greeted by a rising sun.
We exchange gifts. I totally unselfishly, got her a Park bike stand. Honest, I got it solely for her use.
A nearby neighborhood that goes crazy for Halloween also does a good effort for Christmas decoration. Some home owners leave their large skeletons up to use for Christmas too!
ha, ha, ha.
The above is a common way to apply lights to the local trees. Merry Christmas everyone!
Marsh Station Road Ride
Marsh Station Road is a newly paved road, south of Tucson, close to Vail. It's an enjoyable, 25 mile, rolling, out and back route.
Among other interesting sights is this ranch gate. Close by....
We reach the end of the road and turn around for a wind in our face, return.
There are some decent climbs as Amy tops one with Rincon Peak in the background.
We pass this open-spandrel arch bridge, the oldest of its kind in AZ, built in....
....1920. Finishing we had 25 miles and 1000' of climbing. Fun route and ride.
I drove toward I-10 to participate in a group ride, observing the snow on the Santa Ritas. The forecast was good but cloudier than expected.
I was the first to arrive at the parking lot of a saloon long ago closed. Whoa, it began to rain. Twenty other people arrived, all sitting in their cars. The temperature was around 45. Had I been in Ohio, I would have begrudgingly headed out with the others but here.....pft. I can ride tomorrow so I spit the bit.
I was at Amy's sister's house a few days ago with a visit to her shed. Water had been leaking through the roof so I checked it out. Shingles were in bad shape so a day later, I stripped off the old shingles and tar paper. The plywood underlayment was ok so got going on installing a new shingles.
It's been more than a few years since I last did this type of project so watched a few videos to remember all the steps and I was pleased with the outcome. I enjoy this type of project and was kinda disappointed the plywood didn't need replaced. That would have been fun replacing too.
Cardiac Gap Hike
I parked in the Sabino Canyon overflow lot to begin the hike. I think this a much better route into the interior of Sabino Canyon rather than start from the main parking lot. That slog up the paved road is kinda boring. This route puts one on the trail immediately.
Great views of Thimble Peak and Blackett's Ridge to my right as I ascend toward the ridge above Cardiac Gap. There are more difficult hikes around but this is one of the harder, short hikes in the area.
I pass what must be one of, if not the highest, homes that border Sabino Canyon
Recreation Area. I'd love to know what was the cost to put in that cement road.
In short order, the views to the south and the Santa Ritas open. The trail brings me....
....close to a wall and a neat looking cave. Would seem to be a good home for a creature which deters me from exploring it. Rationally, no lion, bear or bobcat would locate so close to a fairly active trail but still...
More monsoon inspired grass growth but that didn't make following the trail difficult. Enough people had been through here to keep the trail mostly easy to follow.
I reach the saddle and "Geronimo Meadow" is in front and to my right. I met a family of 5, very fit hikers and suggested they hike the remaining mile to Bridal Wreath Falls and so they did.
I could hear water running in the canyon below me.
A spur trail headed west, toward the above rock formation and I followed it for a bit. It appeared the formation was the intended destination so maybe there is a route to the top. Worth a future visit.
I lingered to enjoy the views but needed to get home and entertain Jack. I finished with just under 6 miles and 1800' of climbing. Good, quality hike.
I also had to get ready for a birthday party at a neighbor's house. It was a small gathering and I wished Amy had returned in time to attend. She's so much better at these events than am I. The host had ordered a.....
...."cake". Very impressive presentation and yes, it's edible and I consumed a small piece. Clearly the cosmetic demands took precedence over taste.
Ringtail Ridge, Tucson Mts, Hike
A good rain has ended and the system likely headed to my friends in Ohio. The clouds lift and the beautiful Catalinas remain.
The Amester is in St. Thomas with girlfriends so Jack and I are being bachelors for a week. I had heard about a hike I'd not previously completed, Ringtail Ridge so headed over Gates Pass to a small parking lot to access the Yetman Trail. I begin my hike beneath Golden Gate and Bren mountains.
Information about this hike is limited so I was unsure where exactly I was to leave the Yetman. Reaching a saddle, I can see Little Cat and Bobcat Ridge on the left. Clouds made the scene look awesome.
Bren Mountain was on my left and I did not think the ridge to it's right was my destination but it was. The Yetman Trail, off of which I was to find a use trail to the aforementioned ridge, led me close to Bobcat ridge so I realized I had gone too far and turned around.
Beautiful with or without the clouds!
I returned to a trail junction, realized Ringtail was off a saddle to the right of Bren, rooted around for a bit and found the use/social trail.
I climbed and looked back at the Yetman Trail, off which I departed.
The climb has a couple of false summits but eventually I reach the final segment.
Great views and I found a register in an old ammo can, signed it and began my descent.
During my ascent, I found an animal deposit on the trail. I tool a pic of it with my foot for size reference. Later, it was confirmed as mountain lion scat. I heard this is a rare find. I finished with 5.5 miles and 1200' of climbing. It has been an unusually cool late fall and....
....with the passing of the weather system, even cooler temps arrived that required cactus to be protected from the threat of freeze. We have an inventory of large drink cups and they are placed over the tips of cactus and other plants, covered with sheets. The low actually got to the upper 20's!!!!!
Group Hike in Tucson Mountains
Sixteen people from "Hikers Hiking Hikers" Meetup group drove from Phoenix to do a 7.5 mile hike, in the Tucson Mountains. I joined too and we headed to Little Cat Mountain as our first of 3 peak visits.
Reaching the base of Little Cat, it's kind of an arduous climb to a saddle where the ascent then moderates.
The morning conditions created great views.
We regroup at the saddle. The level of fitness varied some but most of the attendees were quite fit and young. In fact, looking back, I'm sure I was the oldest!!! Glad I can still, more than keep up.
Then, we make the final push to our first peak. We didn't linger and soon....
....began a very sketchy descent. I'm glad I brought a pole. Then, we headed toward Bobcat Ridge.
More great views from there too.
Santa Catalina Mountain peaks will be covered in snow in a couple of days. The next destination was Ringtail Ridge but the hiking would be much the same as what we already covered. Plus, Amy is out of town for a few days and I didn't want Jack to be bored for too long so I bugged out, finishing with 4.5 miles and 1200' of climbing.
Seven Falls Hike
I joined a group ride yesterday of 42 miles and an 18.1 average speed. Didn't want to do too much today. One of the milder hikes in the area is to Seven Falls, a magnificent destination when water is flowing. I took the shuttle to the trail head, reducing the hike to 5.8 miles.
I enter Bear Canyon and what a beautiful setting. The trail parallels the wash for the entirety of the hike with multiple crossings. Some of the crossings required careful reconnoitering before selecting the series of rocks that would allow me to cross without soaking a foot.
The size of some of the boulders that have fallen from the canyon walls are huge.
I arrive at the falls and find only one other person there. What a beautiful sight. The image doesn't do it justice.
I drop my pack and carefully scale the left side to the next level.
In the opposite direction, there is another series of falls.
On this second level, water thunders from a third level so I climb it too and can see....
....the water cascade over. I look at the climb to the fourth level but decide it best to return to the floor.
There is a broad expanse of slick rock with multiple pools. I take a seat and have a snack before beginning the return hike.
This is one of the least "climby" hikes in the area and perfect for what I wanted out of the day. The elevation gain is only 800'. Going to take a short recovery ride tomorrow and then join a group hike the following day. It's been a very cool late fall period and on Monday, a front will come through bringing mountain snow and highs only in the 50's!!!!!
Sabino Canyon After the Rain
The weekend rain finally passed with almost 3" measured on Mount Lemmon, about 1" for our area on the east side....that's a lot of rain for this region! We decided to visit Sabino Canyon and hike to 7 Falls but....
...the shuttle to the trail head wasn't running and the volume of water so great, crossing the creek 6-7 times didn't appeal to us so we instead....
....wandered and enjoyed the views of the mountains as the clouds broke.
A very healthy flow of water and note the leaves are turning. Fall has arrived, early December.
A strong flow of water in Sabino Creek, over the dam.
Amy posed to give perspective to the height and width of the waterfall.
We got on a trail and hung a left on Sabino Canyon Road, newly paved too.
Great views as we finished our 2+ mile hike.
A Wet Weekend
Amy's 60th birthday party! I had plenty of help from a neighbor who has plentiful party planning expertise. And so at 6pm.....
...friends arrived to eat and then at some point, lights were dimmed, a champagne toast, "Happy Birthday" sung and....
....the candles extinguished.
99% of our good mood was due to the birthday party but fellow Buckeye fans, Tim & Theresa, were somewhat pleased it appeared that OSU had made the 4 team playoff.
Rain began Saturday morning and pretty much continued non stop through Sunday morning and into the afternoon. We drove to Oro Valley to check out an arts and crafts fair.
Typically, the event draws about 20,000 attendees but attendance was much lighter. What are the odds? A weekend rain event in southern AZ on the weekend of this event.
The Start of the Weekend
Jack the Dog says hi!
Saturday morning and after 50+ days, we're getting some rain. Maybe as much as 3/4" and based on what I witnessed so far today, it sure looks like a reasonable forecast. Amy's birthday is today so helping a neighbor prepare for a party.