I am at the Sweetwater trail head a little before the designated start time of 5:30pm. That's right, PM for a night hike, my first. The sun is setting on Pusch Ridge and beyond that, reaching a high of 9100' is Mount Lemmon and the rest of the Santa Catalina mountains. I got in a 43 mile ride this morning and geesh, my cycling fitness continues to decline.
Within minutes, the color has changed. I love to watch the transition but it begins and ends rapidly as the sun dives beneath the horizon. I am now with 5 hikers who arrived at the trail head as we wait for our leader, bringing a car of another 6. There were some late arrivals at a car pool location so we shoved off about 30 minutes later than planned. My rule is if you are more than 5 minutes late, too bad. It's unfair to those who made the effort to be on time to make them wait.
The parking lot still has lots of vehicles and as it turns out, a very popular spot for riding mountain bikes. We encountered several riding after dark. I talked to one of them and there are 15 miles of trails. I'd say of the non technical variety.
When the moon rose above the mountains and city, it was spectacular and made the hike worthwhile. I'm not a fan of this area for hiking, just kind of boring but for a night hike, it is ideal. All the images I took of the moon rise turned out as a bright dot in a sea of inky blackness but one of us, John, had the right camera so I am using his image. The hike was to be 2.5 miles but a wrong or missed turn yielded a 3.5 mile hike instead. No big deal and we had a lot of laughs because of it. Well, doing Weaver's Needle Crosscut hike on Friday and something called the Cowboy Slick Rock trail on Thursday.