I drove around the mountain to the east side of Tucson, passing the bottom of Catalina Highway where the road to Mount Lemmon/Summerhaven is closed. The community was ordered to evacuate as the fire swept toward it but it appears all the obstacles created in the last couple of days saved the town. The fire is now at over 40,000 acres and sweeping toward the town of Oracle which has been put on alert for evacuation.
I like this creative street sign where I park. A gated community allows access to the trail but first you....
...walk about a mile past some nice landscaping before.....
...beginning the hike on the La Milagrosa Ridge trail. The trail is not steep but rose almost constantly for 3 miles. I bypassed a cairned option for crossing the canyon and returning via a loop on the opposite side of the canyon.
Instead, I just kind of wanted to hike and climb and enjoy the scenery. In the distance is Catalina Highway with a lot of traffic comprised mostly of vehicles going up. Over 400 firefighters had converged to do what they could to protect the structures above, including the observatory, Summerhaven, Iron Door restaurant across from Ski Valley and of course the fire station.
After 3 miles, I began to lose interest. I had a bottle I had left in the freezer overnight but now brought from my pack. Ahhhh, so cold and so delish.
Turning around, the valley views opened as I enjoyed the descent, finishing with 6 miles and 1200' of climbing.