This was my 5th straight day of activity and given how soft I was coming here and what I had done in the previous 5 days, a 12.6 mile hike with 4900' of climbing was probably pushing it a little. There in the distance, slightly left of center is today's destination, the Window, a wondrous stone arch that can be seen from a few places in Tucson but not from here,
The first mile+ is rolling through typical Sonoran desert environment with plenty of majestic saguaros and other cactus prevalent.
After 3 miles I reached something called the "Maiden Pools" but not much water in them and so kept going, up and up, covering those 3 miles in 1:20 but the next 2 miles were so friggin steep in 1.30 and reached a fork in the trail where I hung a right. The views.....every step of the way just awesome and these images don't begin to do it justice.
Hey, there it is, tiny but can you see the blue, left of center in the rock face? That is the arch shaped window. So, so far away still.
While there is a lot of people going to/from the Maiden Pools, few are seen above it but here, I ran into a guy coming down and asked, "How much farther," "Three-tenths of a mile." he said yet it still looked so, so far away.
Yet, I finally reached it, the famous window. Unfortunately, can't get a really good image of it because a couple of feet to the south is a sheer drop of a few hundred fee, same to the north and hidden from view to the east and west. So, after 6.3 miles and 4400' of climbing, leg muscles screaming, I had made it and sat, not looking at the views, just sitting on a rock staring at my feet. So out of shape am I. I did not hang around for long, just drank and ate and shoved off, down hill this time and glad for it.
After a brief descent, I walked along a ridge with magnificent views both north and south. Incredible. Way in the distance beneath the limb is the destination for an off-trail group hike next week. It's across I-10 from the well known Picacho Peak and really looking forward to it. So, I was plodding along down hill, steep at times, put left foot on the ground brought right foot forward and.....
.....yikes, a snake. Would have stepped on top of it but left foot gave a jump and able to avoid it. The head shape suggests it is not a viper and it was very small, just thought it odd it would be out this high up since temps were not that high. I poked at it and it slithered under a rock. I began scanning the surrounding brush with earnest the rest of the way down. While I would no doubt be terrified if I was bitten by a rattlesnake, I hear the anti-venom is as bad as the bite and puts you out of commission for a long time.
All the way down, great views but have to keep eyes on the trail as it is very rocky and keeping en eye out for snakes. Finished with 12.6 miles and 4900' of climbing. Took Sunday off and just walked to Sabino Canyon to stretch out the muscles. More on SC later.