A landscaper's dream, all these boulders that we pass as we walk a scraped road behind the Honeywell facility in Oro Valley. One of us speculated this was a fire break but later, judging by the pattern of the road, it is for future development. Amazing how far up into the foothills, developers are permitted to go. For any hikers who read this report, we park at the end of "Ram's Horn Pass Road", walk into the wash, climb the ridge and there lies the beginning of the dirt road.
We start at 8:00am and hike in shade for practically the entirety of the upward portion of the hike.
A substantial slick rock area is passed.
Departing the road, I lead us on a new trail toward what I hope is the right side of the image, toward the ridge. Alas, it was not to be so.
We pass a wash from which a pipe takes water to a distant cattle tank. If I had followed the ravine/wash towards the ridge, that would probably have been the key to my destination but a well worn trail went left and I elected to follow that and....
.....soon, after really steep climbing, it appeared the trail was headed toward the saddle, center left.
One of my companions in blue but beyond is a ridge where later, I heard the distinct sound of a mountain lion scream. The noise went on for quite a while and I wondered what would have made it agitated. This occurred during the descent and had I been alone and climbing, no freakin way would I have continued. At least I don't think so....well, maybe.
We had come a long way and looking back, good views of Oro Valley.
I lost the trail at times, usually through terrain like the above but reached the aforementioned saddle and...
....wow, the views to the northeast were just awesome. I got off the route again and ended up too far to the north and told my fellow hikers to stop while I scouted around. Actually, that is part of the fun, encountering walls or boulders, figuring out a way around, skirting some pucker factor areas, etc.. I finally found the route and yelled for them to hike to the sound of my voice. Prior to the saddle, there had been many cairns to guide but above the saddle, they were rare.
I led us to the above point and that was that. I had stumbled onto what was known as the "climbers route" that takes one to......
.....a granite wall and the base of Table Mountain. The sun prevented a direct image but you get the idea.
Rather than try to follow the faint route back down, I just headed straight toward the distant ridge where.....
...we took a final look at the beautiful views and descended back the way we came. Finished with 7 miles but also a longing to go back and fulfill an ambition. I assume with a machete and will to live, I'd take care of a lion although they say you don't know they are stalking you until they pounce! Ha, ha.