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Posts Tagged ‘baboquivari’

I’ve put together a look back at the past year of hiking and backpacking. For those who are regular readers, I’ve added quite a few pictures that didn’t make it in to the blog in other posts. You can click on the name of the hike to go to the journal entry about that hike, and all of the pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them. Enjoy!

In January I teamed up with Bill Bens and Mitch Stevens for a hike up Ragged Top in the Silverbell Mountains, northwest of Tucson. It was the first of a series of hikes we did together that required scrambling, something I really hadn’t experienced much before this year. I really took to it, and sought out a number of hikes with a scrambling element for the rest of the year.

Ragged Top

Coming up the South Gully- Photo by Bill Bens

Me and Bill at the summit with Picacho Peak in the background

In February I started the month with another scrambling route up Elephant Head in the Santa Ritas with Bill and Mitch. Another rugged, tough route leading to superlative views.

Elephant Head

Summit Ridge of Elephant Head

Summit ridge of Elephant Head

Summit cairn made of elephants

The day after my 36th birthday, I hiked my first piece of the Grand Enchantment Trail, a 730-mile route that goes from Phoenix to Albuquerque. I also started my Wildlife Rehabilitation Fundraiser to benefit Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson, where I am a volunteer.

Starting the Grand Enchantment Trail

Antelope Peak

Nighthawk at Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson

In March I tackled another piece of the Grand Enchantment Trail in the Superstitions from the Tortilla TH to First Water TH. This was my first time in the western Superstitions, and I loved every rugged, rocky minute of it.

Campsite View on Horse Ridge, looking at a snowy 4 Peaks

Entering La Barge Box

Me and the Weaver's Needle

I attempted to summit Baboquivari again, but was turned away by ice and snow on the first pitch. However, we got to spend the night at the Lion’s Ledge, one of my favorite places I’ve ever slept and any time on Babo is time well spent.

Babo's East Face

Dave takes in the sunrise

Lion's Ledge- we slept right under the cave-like spot with the dark stain running down the face

I also wrote about Arizona’s State Parks that were slated to close due to lack of funding and hiked the Hunter Trail at Picacho Peak State Park and the Flatiron and Peak 5024 at Lost Dutchman State Park. Thankfully, only a couple of the state parks ended up closing and nearby towns helped pick up some of the expenses for the other ones. It was a great spring for wildflowers. I gave several slideshow presentations about my Arizona Trail hike to raise funds for Wildlife Rehab.

Poppies and Lupine at Picacho Peak

Lost Dutchman State Park in bloom- Flatiron in the upper right

Hoodoos on the way to Peak 5024

Looking down on the Flatiron

In April I was fortunate to hike two pieces of the Grand Enchantment Trail in April- the Santa Teresa Wilderness with my friend Judy Eidson, and the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness. To give an idea of how remote the Santa Teresas are, when I called the Coronado National Forest to ask a question about the trails, they said, “We have no idea, no one goes out there, let us know what you find when you come back, ok?” I look forward to my return to Holdout Canyon – a spectacular place.

Holdout Canyon, Santa Teresa Wilderness

Winding Mariposa Lily

Taking in the view

Climbing above Preacher Canyon

Pretty waterfall in Cottonwood Canyon

Desert Honeysuckle in bloom, Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness

Great Blue Heron

Bends in the Stream

In MayI heard that Forest Service crews had been clearing the Sutherland Trail, so I teamed up with Lee Allen, David Rabb, and Tom Kimmel to hike from the top of Mount Lemmon to Catalina State Park via this formerly fire-damaged trail. The 6000 ft. of elevation loss was tough on the knees, but the views and the company more than made up for it.

Happy to be on the Sutherland Trail

Sutherland Trail

Penstemon

All spring long, I’d been telling my husband Brian, “Don’t worry, once it heats up in June I’ll be home a lot more often!” But then I bought the one piece of gear that made my summer bearable: my green inflatable innertube, known affectionately as “the floatie”, and the hiking really didn’t slow down at all. The floatie’s maiden voyage was to Hutch’s Pool on a overnight backpacking trip using the Box Camp Trail down to Sabino Canyon.

Coming down the ridge on the Box Camp Tr.

Coral Bean bloom

Happy to have Hutch's Pool all to myself!

I enjoyed the floatie so much, I took it on a trip to Horse Camp Canyon in the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness and floated the black pool on a day when I had the only permit for the whole canyon.

Important piece of summer gear in Aravaipa

Made even sweeter by the fact that I had it all to myself!

Also in June, I began harvesting and processing saguaro fruit and making syrup and delicious fruit leather. I really enjoyed it and everyone loved the flavor. Can’t wait to do it on a bigger scale next summer.

Saguaro fruit cut open

In July, a month that I would normally be cowering in my house avoiding the heat, I was able to find lots of ways to keep active this year. I went on short hikes early in the morning or night hikes, and was able to get away to the cooler Sky Islands for a couple of backpacking trips. Early in the month, I went to the Santa Ritas for an overnight at Baldy Saddle and saw one of the best sunsets I’d seen all year.

Baldy Saddle- Yep, I was right- it was an awesome campsite!

Looking north at the Santa Rita Crest- 7:19 pm

My favorite of the evening- 7:34 pm

Mountain Spiny Lizard Fight

Later in the month, I hiked the Grand Enchantment Trail through the tall, cool Pinaleno Mountains (also known as “The Grahams”) with Judy Eidson and Connie Simmons.

Through the waist-high ferns on the Clark Peak Tr.

View from Taylor Pass

Slick Rock, Ash Creek Trail

Sunset on The Pinnacles, Ash Creek Trail

The "spirited cascade"

I squeezed in one last hike in July, a trip to Chiricahua National Monument with my friend Wendy. Fantastic hoodoos and rock formations to tickle the imagination.

Hoodoos come in Large, Small, and Medium size for your viewing enjoyment

Punch and Judy Rock

August was all about the pools: Jammed Log Pool, Romero Pools, Lemmon Pools, Tanque Verde Falls- I hiked in early, got my float on, and was hiking out by 9 or 10 in the morning.

Who says the desert is a dry place? Photo by Bill Bens

Wendy takes a turn on the floatie at Jammed Log Pool

Tanque Verde Falls dwarfs me in my floatie- photo by Wendy Lotze

Lemmon Pools

Fly Agaric Mushrooms- these were over 8 inches across
Campsite view down Lemmon Canyon toward Tucson
Monday Morning Goodness at Romero Pools
Rattlesnake from night hikes in Sabino Canyon

Gila Monster from night hikes in Sabino Canyon

In September the leisurely hikes of summer came to an end, because it was time to start ramping up the difficulty levels to get in shape for the Grand Canyon in October. I hiked a long loop in the Santa Ritas, Pusch Peak, a dayhike to Lemmon Pools and an overnighter in Aravaipa to break in my new hiking shoes on uneven terrain with a full pack.

Lunch at Burnt Saddle- Elephant Head on the ridge in the foreground

So many unusual wildflowers! Crest Trail, Santa Ritas

Tiny Twin-Spotted Rattlesnake on the Foursprings Trail, Santa Ritas

View west from the summit of Pusch Peak

Lounging in Aravaipa Canyon

Rincon Mountains seen from the Lemmon Rock Trail

Shadow of Mount Lemmon on the Galiuro Mountains

And at the end of the month, I snuck in one last hike with the floatie in Sycamore Canyon in the Pajarita Wilderness near the Mexican border with some friends.

Near the slot pool

The Slot Pool- Bill and Ray went up and to the right, Lee and I swam across.

The green floatie- best $2 I've spent all year!

As much as I grumbled about training with a loaded pack on dayhikes, I was thankful for it in October when I spent 11 days in the Grand Canyon backpacking the Royal Arch Loop and at the Grand Canyon Hikers and Backpackers Association Volunteer Service Project. The Royal Arch Loop was the most difficult trip I’ve done to date.  Remember at the beginning of the year when I said I enjoyed scrambling on hikes? The whole year I’d made myself more and more used to scrambling and traveling on exposed areas, and it all came in handy on the Royal Arch Loop. Aesthetically, my favorite trip of the entire year and I can’t wait to do it again.

Sunrise on Mt. Huethawali from South Bass Trailhead

A Grand Vista

The Royal Arch

The anticipation was way worse than the actual rappel

Elves Chasm

A majestic pose before continuing across the slope

Kent, Ron, and Paul on the saddle leaving Copper Canyon

I hiked out of the Royal Arch Loop and back into the Grand Canyon for six days of work on the Volunteer Service Project. We got a lot of work done at Cottonwood and Bright Angel Campgrounds, and in our free time we hiked up to the North Rim for fall colors, pizza, and beer, as well as up Wall Creek and the Miner’s Route. 11 days and a little over a hundred miles of Grand Canyon goodness.

Hiking up to Cottonwood CG

Yay! We walked up into fall on the North Kaibab Trail!

Wall Creek Waterfall

Cairn where the Old Miner's Route meets the Tonto

After spending the last half of October mourning the fact that I wasn’t in the Grand Canyon anymore, in November I found plenty of places close to home to hold my interest. I took two solo backpacking trips: one to The Spine near the White Canyon Wilderness, and one on the Samaniego Ridge Trail in the Catalinas. I also hiked the little-used Brush Corral Trail in the northeastern part of the Catalinas with some friends.

Traveling atop The Spine from boulder to boulder

5:38 pm- looks like a postcard

Morning view of the White Canyon Wilderness

Samaniego Peak

Hiking up to the Mule Ears

Samaniego- what a wonderful ridge!

Incredible views on the Brush Corral Trail

Brush Corral Trail ridgeline

Between the oaks

In December I made one last trip to the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness (my 4th this year) and enjoyed the fall colors. It is trailbuilding season on the Arizona Trail and I led my first work event up near Oracle on the 9th  in the Black Hills passage. I plan on sneaking in one last trip before the end of the year to my favorite very large hole in the ground before the year’s over.

Fall colors in Aravaipa Canyon

The inagural crew of the Crazies North

Whew! I sure got a lot of adventures in this year! Thanks to one of my favorite websites HikeArizona.com, I was able to keep track of my miles hiked and other stats. This is the first year that I logged all my hikes, and by the end of the year, I will have hiked approximately 750 miles. Lucky me.

I want to thank all of my readers and people who came to my talks who donated to my Wildlife Rehab Fundraiser. Since February, over $700 worth of donations have been given to Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson! If you haven’t donated yet but would like to, you can send a check made out to Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson to Pima Federal Credit Union  P.O. Box 50267 Tucson, Arizona 85703. Please put Hiking in the memo, so they know where you heard about their facility. Any amount is appreciated! You can also donate via PayPal by clicking the button below. Even if you don’t have a PayPal account, you can donate securely via PayPal with a credit card.

"Elfie" the Elf Owl thanks you for your donations!

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I had hoped to end the year with one last big hike. But as I was getting my hiking gear together, I heard moans and groans coming from the bedroom. My husband, Brian, was really sick. I couldn’t leave him alone all day as sick as he was, so instead I stayed home and tended to him. Rather than a triplog from my latest hike, I thought for this entry I would instead take the time to reflect on my past year in hiking:

And what a year it has been. At the beginning of the year, I was still hurting from a fall I took in the Four Peaks that wrenched my knee. After that healed, I climbed Baboquivari, my first mountain requiring climbing gear, in March. I don’t think I have ever been so scared and so elated at the same time. It was my first outdoor climb; I had previously only climbed in the gym. I was really lucky to have such a great group, led by Dave Baker, to encourage me up the mountain. Here’s a great shot Dave got of me on the second climbing pitch. Read my journal from that day here.

Babo 2nd Pitch

The day after my Babo climb, I resumed my section hike on the Arizona Trail to finish out the remaining 200 miles. I hiked from Superior to Pine and cleaned up some areas I had skipped the previous year. My dad came out from Chicago one last time to shuttle me around and provide support for the last leg of my hike.

Looking down at the East Verde River

I did an alternate route on the AZT Passage 37 to get from Grandview Fire Tower to the South Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon. As a result, I got to spend five days in the Canyon hiking the SK to Grandview on the Tonto Trail, instead of 23 miles through ponderosa pines with no views. It was my first taste of travel outside the corridor trails- I am hooked!

Pools in Grapevine Canyon

I left the passage near Oracle for last so that friends of mine could hike the final 9 miles with me. The final 9 miles were hiked on Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, May 12. It was a fitting end to my 800-mile hike to raise awareness for Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition that I have had for 13 years. There was a group of eight hikers, including my non-hiking husband, for the final miles. Champagne and strawberries were enjoyed at the American Flag Trailhead. Almost two years to the day before, I had gone on a hike up the Cody Trail and looked at the big, metal Arizona Trail sign and wondered, “Maybe I could do some of this Arizona Trail- I wonder what the logistics are?” That question led to nine months of planning, and 13 months of hiking, piece by piece, until I accomplished my goal. What a feeling!

Finishing the 800-mile Arizona Trail at American Flag TH in Oracle

Great highs are often accompanied by a lull, which is what I felt like my summer was. I had finished my big goal, and it is way too hot to hike in most areas of Tucson in the summertime. So I spent the summer trying to get a respite from the heat and stay active while avoiding getting hit by monsoon storms. I went on one memorable camping trip to the Pinalenos, to escape the heat and scout the Grand Enchantment Trail in the area. The Grand Enchantment Trail goes 700 miles from Phoenix to Albuquerque, and is my next big trail that I plan on section hiking. You can find more info about the GET at www.simblissity.net.  I also stayed active this summer by going on night hikes, which yielded many rattlesnake encounters, but made for some great pictures:

Tiger Rattlesnake

This summer, I started volunteering at the Wildlife Rehab Center, which has been an amazing experience. We mostly have birds of all sizes- from hummingbirds to Harris Hawks. We occasionally get mammals as well; I have seen skunks, squirrels, and even bobcats. What a treat to be able to see these animals and birds up close! Here’s a picture of one of my favorite current residents, a young roadrunner that I have fed since he was hatched. He will eventually become an educational animal, because it wouldn’t do to have him hopping up on people’s shoulders and begging for food in the wild…

Juvenile Roadrunner

The lull of the summer ended with the Arizona Trail Association’s yearly Rendezvous in Mormon Lake at the end of September. I was invited to be the speaker for the first evening, and I really enjoyed being able to share my journey with a room of AZT enthusiasts. I spent a week in the Flagstaff area, and got to hike the Humphreys Summit Trail to the highest point in Arizona at 12,637 ft. I explored the Inner Basin as well.

AZ Highpoint

I also returned to one of my favorite places on the Arizona Trail, multicolored sandstone cliffs north of Marshall Lake. To get to these cliffs, take the Sandy Saddle trail from Canyon View Campground to the Arizona Trail and go south.

One of my all-time favorite places

After the Rendezvous and hiking in Flagstaff, I hiked down to the Trail Crew Bunkhouse at the Grand Canyon to do a week’s worth of volunteer work with the Grand Canyon Hikers and Backpackers Association cleaning up the area near the Bright Angel Campground and Phantom Ranch. What a wonderful experience! The group from the GCHBA was a friendly, hardworking bunch, and the 12 of us got along very well for having to all sleep in one house. (I had been worried, because you know what happens on reality TV when you put 12 people in close quarters…)  Waking up each morning on the sleeping porch of the bunkhouse with the Canyon all around was exquisite. Then on my hike out I saw the most unbelievable double rainbow over O’Neill Butte.

Double Rainbow and O'Neill Butte

In October, my brother Shawn came out to visit and my husband and I took him to Las Vegas. While they were gambling, I snuck out to one of my favorite places- the Valley of Fire State Park, about an hour’s drive from the Strip. I spent the day hiking off-trail, exploring the colorful slot canyons and interesting rock formations. The picture on the header of my website is from the Valley of Fire.

Off-trail exploration in the Valley of Fire

In October, I launched this blog, so much of the rest of the year has been documented on this website. December was a quiet month, I rolled my ankle a couple of weeks back and have been taking it easy to let it heal.

I want to end this retrospective by thanking all my readers of this and my Arizona Trail blog. I really enjoy your comments and hope to share many more adventures with you in the upcoming year.

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