The bartender at the hotel bar told me about a trail at the end of Magee Road, a couple of blocks away so after driving the half marathon route with my wife, I headed to it and discovered another state park with myriad trail options. One trail reached the summit at 7000' where it intersected another trail that went on to Mt. Lemmon. Tucson has amazing hiking options and while I ache to join in the many group rides I see, not much point to riding, given what little opportunity there is in Ohio.
Unlike hiking in a typical desert setting, this trail pretty much stayed around a dry creek bed so there was thick undergrowth. The bushes and plants, given the tough environment in which they grow, are nasty. Grab a bush to push it out of the way and there frequently is a thorn as a reward. Grass type plants are like steel wires and bush branches? like rebar. Run into a branch and it will stop you cold.
After 4.5 miles, I reached this campsite, set against some rocks and decided it was time to turn around. Gets dark at 5:00 and don't want to be out after dark. The park rangers hand out warnings about what to do if you see a mountain lion. Maintain eye contact, don't run, if wearing a jacket or pack, take it off and wave it to create the impression you are more threatening then reality and slowly back away. At another area park they warn about African honeybees. Dangerous place I guess.
Dusk approaching with a great view.
Gained around 2400' feet so not super steep and was able to run quite a bit of the trail. Here, along a steep drop is Cryptobiotic soil on the right. This stuff is very fragile and should be avoided as walking on it destroys it. Kind of a soil crust that stabilizes the sand and dirt. Finished with 9 miles.