I am now back from working on the river this summer and transitioning to a land-based lifestyle. It may take a while, however- the other night it was storming and I woke up worrying about if everything on the boat was covered. I did six commercial trips this summer with Arizona River Runners and Grand Canyon Whitewater. It was amazing and I learned so much about the Grand Canyon and boating. Then at the end of my season, I was invited last-minute on a private 8-day trip on the lower half of the river just for fun. I’ll write about that in an upcoming entry.
As much as I love the Grand Canyon, I missed Tucson- every time I came back from a trip the mountains were more and more green. I didn’t have the time (or quite frankly the energy) to do any hikes around here this summer, so I was excited to get out in my own neck of the woods for a change. You know the place you live is pretty when you miss it while at the Grand Canyon!
I called Wendy to see if she wanted to go to the Santa Ritas, but it turned out she’d already made plans with Cindy and her friend Bobby to do Josephine Peak, so I got to tag along. This was a great destination that I probably wouldn’t have thought of, as it is off the Super Trail and I always take Baldy up the mountain.
We had perfect weather, big fluffy clouds with a couple of sprinkles just before we had the final push to the peak. The Ritas are super-lush with wildflowers everywhere. We took Baldy to Josephine Saddle, then the Super Trail to Riley Saddle and the turnoff for the Josephine Peak “Trail”. I really enjoyed the open views and easy grade on the Super Trail.
We hit the peak turnoff and then the fun immediately began. Cairn-hunting, log-hopping, side-hilling, and brush fighting. Some of us were more successful than others at the brush fighting and a certain person who I hike with often had an up-close and personal encounter. Friendship is plucking pricklies from a posterior that isn’t yours…
We went up along the ridge that goes from Riley Saddle for a bit and then had to sidehill toward another ridge that led to the summit. After we reached the summit ridge, the tread became more apparent and switchbacked steeply up toward the summit. The summit had fantastic views of Wrightson to the north and I could see the path of the Arizona Trail below. Cindy had her celebratory beer and I got out Micro Chicken for his summit shot.
Video from the summit:
After the enjoyment at the summit, it was time to fight the brush again back down to the Super Trail.
We were elated at the wide tread and log-free Super Trail and Cindy turned into Downhill Turbo Cindy. At Josephine Saddle we decided to take the Super Trail to the Roger’s Rock/Pipeline route because Wendy hadn’t seen it before. It was gorgeous, with running water and changing sycamore trees. Spent the whole day on the mountain and topped it off with ice cream on the way home. I don’t think days get much better than that.
I am also back volunteering at Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson, I missed my birds and other critters!
I had a memorable encounter the other day when a Harris Hawk jumped onto my back while I was cleaning its cage. Normally this would not be a good thing, but this particular hawk was raised for a month in someone’s bathtub when it was very little. It has been around people its whole life. After a bit, it made itself comfortable on top of my head! It’s good to be back.