This unusual March weather pattern continues as yet another cold front moved through, bringing a day of clouds with a high of 70 followed by this day of partly cloudy skies and a high of 59. Actually, some rain moved through this morning but it appeared to be over so I headed to Catalina SP where I began a hike I have wanted to do for awhile.
The hike should take me to the base of Table Mountain if what a guy I ran into during a hike gave me accurate info. I head toward Pusch Ridge, cross a couple of dry washes and hike on a social trail parallel to the above ridge. A short climb brings me to the top of that, followed by another short climb and I.....
….am following a rolling trail parallel with the mountains to my left. Lots of plants are blooming.
The clouds briefly clear and the surrounding area is awash in sun light. Note the lone saguaro above.
I reach a massive water tank, shown above, center right. I had been this far before but now am in unexplored territory.
The trail meanders around as it rises toward the mountain now. As I climb, I reach an area of granite and see where the pipe that feeds the tank originates. Nice spot.
Just prior to reaching the granite, there is a cairn and a much fainter trail branches to the left. Usually there now......
…..is no trail but someone has put a lot of effort into building dozens of cairns that are easy to follow.
The climbing steepens as I see my destination, a saddle to the left of the base of the granite wall. I've started my hike at 11am so need to be mindful of the time. As I hike, I am curious how the route will evolve. I nervously eye a cliffy section with lots of giant boulders to my left and hope the route does not take me into that but of course....
….it does. Seems like there are some nice, sheltered areas that could make for a good animal den up there. I pull out my Smith & Wesson, chamber a round and proceed.
Yes, I am super careful while carrying and no, won't shoot myself and no, don't carry when with other hikers. It gets creepy some times when I hike alone and there are examples of hikers surprising a sleeping lion. I forgot my hiking pole so don't have that to bang around and make noise so I carry on a loud conversation with myself.
Way cool! A band of rock that is distinctive from the valley is now at eye level. It appears I could bush whack over, hike over the top and down but no time for that today.
I continue to climb and finally reach a saddle where I find a fire ring and a flat area for a tent. Probably the route builder stayed here for a night. The cairns end at the saddle. I search but cannot find any ahead of me and this kind of is a logical end but there is a last, prominent hill that prevents a view of the entire granite face. The final hill looks climbable and then as I start back down, I find more cairns leading from the south facing slope of the saddle which is kind of counterintuitive. I've also been looking....
….to the west and can see several rain shadows approaching. Yeah, getting wet up here would not be good so I start the down climb. Soon, it begins....SNOWING! Lightly to be sure and not for long. At a lower elevation, it begins to rain and the wind is howling. The trail now is runnable so I begin to run.
Beautiful as a harder rain is falling exactly where I was standing about an hour ago. Glad I am down here. Finished the hike with 8 miles and 2000' of climbing. A very fun day.