This was such a great hike, with much less blood loss than expected. Eventful parking lot, there was a large fire crew when I got there and tons of Pima County Sheriff conducting a search for someone when I left.
Weaving my way through the ocotillo and staying away from the nastier cacti, I kept to the ridge to the left of the drainage. The Cleaver loomed above. I reached a point where I had to travel in the drainage but it was not for very long.
Soon I was able to pick my way up toward the saddle on another ridge that was quite steep. It helped that the Alt Hiking Meetup group had been through here recently, their mashed-down vegetation made my travel a bit easier.
It was a relief to finally reach the saddle and the base of The Cleaver. Only one tough part left. There were two short scrambles near the base, then a bouldery ramp to the summit. The short climbs would have been nothing if I had been hiking with someone, but solo they got my heart racing a little.
The summit of The Cleaver- what an amazing place to be! I so enjoyed the challenge and seeing Pima Canyon from yet another perspective. Such a great thing to live in a place where a wild and rugged summit like this is in a canyon so close to my home. I took a lengthy break and read through the small summit register.
As I headed back, I was a little nervous about getting back down to the saddle. I remembered what Wendy does when she gets nervous: she sings Irish songs. I don’t know any Irish songs, though- the song I chose was Paul Revere by the Beastie Boys. It worked well, especially the “one lonely Beastie I be” line.
After the saddle, I saw a helicopter flying up and down the canyon. That can’t be good. I worked my way back the way I came. I was on the ridge on canyon right and saw the helicopter go up Pima Canyon, flying low. Trying to sidestep some prickly pear, I misjudged and ended up with a cheekful of spines. Great. Out came the tweezers and I tried to get the spines out before the helicopter flew by and caught me with my pants down. I managed to tidy myself up just in time before they flew over me.
I traveled the rest of the ridge down to intersect the Pima Canyon Trail. I was feeling tired and realized that I hadn’t really eaten a whole lot for how long I had been out. It was nice to be able to stretch my legs for the mile and a half to the trailhead.
Just before the trailhead, I came upon a Pima County Sheriff carrying a very large rifle and another with a backpack. They told me to talk to the other Sheriffs at the trailhead. I told them I had seen only two people all day- two men out taking pictures in the morning. They said that it didn’t fit their description. I wished them luck with their search. I wasn’t able to find out anything on the web later about who they were looking for.
A couple of hours after I got home, my body got revenge for not eating enough and I got the worst leg cramps I have had in a long time. But The Cleaver was totally worth it.
In Wildlife Rehabilitation news, I’ve begun to plan next year’s Birds, Blues, and Bellydance event to benefit Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson. We’ve had a blast the last couple of years and next year’s event (probably late April) will bring some new performers to the eclectic mix! Of course, our educational birds will be attending as well- Elfie the Elf Owl, Citan the Harris Hawk, and Luna the Great Horned Owl. Click below to donate to Wildlife Rehabilitation: