It's been an unusual weather pattern for our region with cool temperatures and daily chances for rain. The arrival and departure of a system produces some dramatic and beautiful views.
A small amount of snow has accumulated on the top of the mountains but on this day, it was too cloudy to get a visual. I got in a short hike on one day and on another, Amy and I played pickle ball. There are a lot of beginning players and where we play has 16 courts so no shortage of other beginners with whom to arrange a match.
With two more days of rain forecast for Friday and Saturday, I made sure I got out on a dry but cloudy day on Thursday. The sun is barely visible between the arms of a saguaro as I depart on the Sandero Esperanza trail off Golden Gate Road on my way to Wasson Peak.
I much prefer this trail over the alternative approaches, especially Kings Canyon trail. That trail has an abundance of loose rock while the trail on which I am hiking is smooth.
I'm zig-zagging up to Hugh Norris trail while enjoying the view of Panther Peak on the left and Sombrero Peak on the right.
I can see the Kings Canyon trail and its serpentine course in the distance. Actually, that is a social trail that parallels Kings Canyon and most people are unaware it exists.
At last, I reach a deserted peak save for a guy who is visiting from MD. I always enjoy meeting visitors from the east or midwest. They just marvel at the views this region offers. I was surprised there were not more people up here. Typically, the week between Christmas and New Years draws scads of people to the trails and with Wasson being one of the more accessible peak, scads more up here.
Gates Pass Road winds between Golden Gate and Bern Mountains. I use the Strava app so it keeps track of my hiking time. I reached the peak in 1:10:22 and last year, also on December 30th, my time was 1:10:22. What are the odds of that????
Another aspect of the Hugh Norris trail that I like is the effort and workmanship that went into the trail construction. I finished with just under 8 miles and 1700' of climbing.
Mount Lemmon in the distance and forecast to receive up to 24" of snow this weekend!