I had signed up to do a very fun hike in the Supes but I did not sleep well Friday night and when the alarm went off at 4:30am, no way. The group rightfully takes a dim view of last minute cancellations so I am awaiting news of the fine or suspension:) However, there are plenty of alternatives around the corner so I went to Catalina State Park, about 1 mile from home. A group had a wildlife display with lots of snakes.
I set out on the Sutherland Trail and it was bordered by dense. lush grass and I had an urge to push mow it.
Snow melt is coursing through the wash. It has not rained in awhile but that will change tonight. I actually had to cancel a group hike I was to lead on Sunday! As I type this report, Sunday morning, good thing too. California has sent us many fronts this winter and some have actually contained moisture. Been a good winter for replenishing ground water.
The Park was hosting "hound Hike" so dozens of people brought their dogs. Fortunately, my route differed from theirs.
I followed the Southerland trail for about 3 miles where it emerged to a broad trail link that would take me down to the 50 Year Trail if I made a left or a right would take me to the continuation of the ST. I decided to just turn around and then things got interesting. One thing, take a look at the saguaros. Note the grey portion below the green? I don't recall seeing this condition and it probably is not good.
I encountered a couple on horses. I then reached a faint trail going left and unmarked. Hmmm, wonder where that goes so I followed it. I ran into two ladies who gave me lots of information, including a location of a little known falls.
I found a couple of boulders that had grinding holes in them. Long ago the natives wore these by grinding meal. I reached a junction and hung a left and soon....
….wow! Spectacular series of falls.
I squeezed my way over these boulders, crossed the stream....
….climbed the left side of a ravine and found more good views. There have been several mountain lion sightings within the last week, including a mom with two cubs! Those cubs need fed so I decided not to linger too long. A few hours prior to my hike, on the other side of Tucson, a guy was out looking at stars through a telescope when a lion charged him. He pulled a gun and BAM, at 20' the lion, stopped by the sound of the shot, turned away. Damn.
The two ladies told me about a route to something called "The Big Green Rock" so I headed cross country and sure enough, in the correct lighting, it is a green.
I dropped into a wash that also had a good flow of water and hopped across the rocks a few times as the route wound back and forth. I emerged on a trail called "Canyon Loop" trail and headed back to the car. Along the way.....
….wow, check out that dead but still standing saguaro and next to it....
….a rare crested saguaro. I think something like one of ten thousand saguaros are crested. Note the unusual growth, center top.
The trees have lost their foliage but it will be back soon. Check out that thick grass again!
Another beautiful view of the running water with the mountains in the distance. Finished with 7 miles of hiking.