Searching for the Pools!
I made a last minute decision to join a group hike and so for the 3rd time on this visit, went high to escape the heat. During the drive, I counted 102 cyclists sharing the road, a surprising quantity given so many are gone until they begin to filter back around November. Above, there are many piles of debris, to be burned, thus denying a future fire from using it as fuel.
Eleven of us begin our hike from Marshall Gulch. It rises steeply from the start so no warm-up period. Amanda on the left with Thomas. After 1.5 miles, we reach the Marshall Gulch saddle where two of our group turn around. The balance.....
.....continue the hike, now descending for 2 miles via the Wilderness of Rocks trail which we had picked up at the saddle. Once the trail levels out, I invited the gang to....
.....go a short distance off trail to this overlook.
Our destination was the Mount Lemmon Pools. None of us knew exactly where it was but I saw some foot prints near by and poked around in the brush to see if they led to the pools, no luck. We resumed our.....
.....trek. The name "Wilderness of Rocks" is well named. Meantime, I continued to....
....occasionally go off trail (see above red lines represent my off trail wandering) but finally find the correct route! My hiking mates stayed patient throughout and maintained good humor. At last....
....the pools! Beautiful location and worth the effort to reach. There was even a beach. I climbed.....
....up a level and discovered another set of pools with tadpoles swiming around. In one place, the water depth was around 10'.
Across the pond, my fellow hikers relax and refuel in the shade. Four other hikers arrive with dogs, all of which were well behaved although frantic at times as they.....
....were unable to navigate a steep slope to where we enjoyed the water.
The polished surface of the boulders was beautiful. The wait dragged on a little too long for me so giving in to my impatient side, I headed back.
Lot of pines growing to fill the void left by the Aspen Fire. Finished with 10.1 miles and 2100' of climbing. Fun time with a good group of people and I think we will hike together again. Well gang, I arrive back in Ohio on Tuesday so your break from me is over. However, this area is magical to me and can't wait to return in October.
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