Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Tucson, AZ - Last Hike

Ummm - on Sunday we head back to Iowa. Today we’d better get our last hike in. There’s not much hiking in Iowa. A new hike, one we haven’t done before. Hutch’s Pools, which ends at some deep blue pools hemmed in by rock walls and shaded by large oak trees. And, here’s the cool part, we can get to the trail head from the parking lot using a tram. And, here’s the second cool part, we can get back to our car using the same tram. Great!!! Oh shucks, we still have to hike from the trailhead to the pools and back. I knew there was a catch.

We wanted to take the first tram at 9:00 so got there about 8:30. While we were waiting we met a local who told us that the trail to Hutch’s Pools was rocky, really rocky. Yeah. Well, it’s a trail, isn’t it? Aren’t trails usually rocky?

Cool little tram. It winds up the Sabino Canyon gorge over several narrow bridges, often covered in water from the stream below, for about 3 miles with a narration about the canyon, its history, its flora and fauna and the attempts to build a road through it. The views are spectacular. The sheer rock cliff in this picture is actually 40’ tall. Between the road which we are on and the cliff is a trail called the Telephone Trail which we have taken several times. It’s right below the cliff face so is we hike in the shade of the rock face in the morning - great trail to take in the summer. Nice trail and we would have taken it to the trailhead instead of the tram if we were in better ‘hike a mountain trail’ shape than the ‘walk the beach in San Diego’ shape we are in now. Taking the tram would save us 6 miles of a 15 mile hike. Oh, yeah.

You can see how much rain we’ve had here by all the greenery that marches up the canyon walls.


Note the abundance of saguaros as the march up the south side of the canyon.
We got off the tram, put our packs on and began our climb up the hill. Must have been at least a million switchbacks to get to the top of the hill. Well, not quite that many, but maybe a hundred. Uh, probably about 8 or so. But, they went straight up the hill. At the top, the trail leveled off and we could look down on the tram turnaround, the small paved circle between the two saguaros center left in the picture below.
Once, when we were younger and in better shape, we took the right turn at this sign and hiked a cool 18 miles back to our car. We’ve learned our lesson.
Gary is checking our GPS to make sure we’re on the right trail.
Whew. We wound around the mountain, down to a bouldered stream with water rushing through,
through a grassy grove of trees
by masses of sunny yellow flowers lining the trail,
across a grassy meadow,
and finally to Hutch’s pools. Deep enough to be still,
blue enough for reflections,
clear enough to see boulders at the bottom
and calm enough to sit beside for a lunch and a rest.

We could watch the waterfall,
and enjoy a respite under the shade of the nearby trees.
We wondered at how this tree grew around the unseen boulder below it. All you can see here is the root of the tree.
But, finally it was time to return and take the tram back to the parking lot. Let’s get these packs off our backs.
Now, let’s plan our next hike - in the fall.

‘Honk if you love peace and quiet,’

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