Dawn in Tucson. Cold in the morning but the high should be around 80. First, check out Picacho Peak, a landmark on the horizon north of Tucson and see if the hiking trail is worthwhile.
Why yes, the lady at the office said, it would take 3-4 hours to cover the 3 miles to the summit. Like most of you fit types, I smirked and thought, "Yeah right".
At only 3 miles to the peak, I didn't carry water but at the last minute, drove back to the park office and bought a water bottle (good idea). The park ranger said the trail was rolling for the first 2 miles and then goes up suddenly with cables set in the rock to assist. I bit my lip with the urge to tell him I was an experienced Grand Canyon backpacker and this would be nothing. I'm glad I bit my lip on this stupid impulse.
After 2 miles, the trail headed up. Not just up but I mean UP!!!!!!!!!! In places, the walls were vertical and were it not for the cables, not being a rappeller, I would not have been able to proceed.
This image gives a better idea of the steepness.
The views were fantastic.
Sometimes, the trail was not so steep but they had put up a "fence" to keep you from falling off the face of the rock, while walking on a board. Got to the top in 1:05 and back to the trail head in a total of 2:12. Very hard trail and quite a bit harder than the Camelback trail in Phoenix.