Lightning, Sawmill, Bears, Mountain Lions, Volunteers – 7/20/2016

Lightning over the west side of the Santa Catalina Mountains. July 2016.
Lightning over the west side of the Santa Catalina Mountains – Table Mountain on the far right of the picture. July 2016.

There have been a number of Bear sightings reported recently – mainly near Summerhaven and Organization Ridge. So far “None of these encounters have been dangerous, as nobody has reported any kind of aggressiveness”. AZGF spokesman Mark Hart does not want visitors to “feel alarmed but to be “bear aware” by taking measures to prevent encounters” – some Safety in Black Bear Country information. Bears sighted 15 times on Mount Lemmon since May; officials urge caution –, Mt. Lemmon sees spike in bear sightings – TucsonNewsNow

Towards the end of June Mountain Lion sightings in Sabino Canyon ‘spiked’, but there were no aggressive encounters and AZGF representative Mark Hart points out that with a healthy Mountain Lion population in Sabino Canyon “If you go there a lot and you haven’t seen a mountain lion, one has probably seen you.” Mountain Lion information including what to do if you encounter a Mountain Lion from AZGF. Recent mountain lion encounters in Sabino Canyon prompt new warnings –

100 years ago in Tucson July 26: Mount Lemmon – Includes two great articles from the 1916 Arizona Daily Star about the Santa Catalina Mountains:

  • “SAWMILL NO MENACE TO TIMBER SUPPLY” – Forest Supervisor Don P. Johnson assures the public that the new sawmill in the Summerhaven area “is for the purpose of cutting timber for the erection of bungalows and houses for residents on the Webber homestead” and that “the timber will be used only in the district”. In 1916 the sawmill was owned by Jim Westfall – it had been laboriously hauled up to the Summerhaven area and, as the 1916 article predicted, provided a key resource for construction on the mountain. A second sawmill, brought to the mountain by Tony Zimmerman, would later stand in the same spot.
  • “Luncheon Club to Hear Of Mount Lemmon Road”: Forest Supervisor Don P. Johnson “will give information in regard to the proposed road to Mount Lemmon and will answer any questions put to him with regard to the proposed government aid for highways” – in 1916 the completion of the Control Road from Oracle was still 4 years away, but perhaps more unexpected in 1916 would have been that it would take another 35 years to complete a highway up the south side of the mountain!

A hiker coming back from Hutch’s Pool was separated from his hiking companions – he missed the Sabino Canyon Trail junction and continued up the East Fork Trail, eventually he went up Bear Canyon because he could see the highway and yelled to people at the Seven Cataracts Vista Point for help. The hiker was taken to the hospital for heat related illness. Missing Tucson hiker found in Sabino Canyon –, UPDATE: Missing hiker in Sabino Canyon found safe – TucsonNewsNow, Missing hiker found in Sabino Canyon – KGUN9.

No plans for Tucson to have hiking ban during extreme heat – KGUN9 – Several weeks ago the high temperatures were a factor in a number of deaths in Southern Arizona – one result was that the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board considered a ban on hiking in extreme heat (which was not approved) – according to the article no such ban is being considered in Tucson.

The cover of the August Issue of The Desert Leaf features a lovely picture of Sabino Canyon and calls out the article ‘Caring for the Coronado’. The articles talks about the important work that volunteers have done in the Coronado National Forest, often putting in significant hours and effort to accomplish meaningful tasks that seem unlikely to receive official funding anytime in the near future. It was great to see so many groups that have contributed time, labor, knowledge and resources to the Coronado National Forest mentioned in the article  – Sky Island Alliance, Santa Catalina Volunteer Patrol, Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists, Sabino Stewards, Arizona Master Watershed Naturalists, Friends of Sabino Canyon, Tucson Audubon Society and The Nature Conservancy.

Summerhaven had their July 4th Parade again this year – a good excuse to head up the mountain to cooler temperatures – probably the highest altitude July 4th Parade in the state! Mt. Lemmon parade patrons spend Independence Day away from heat –

Hittin’ the Trails 4 You: Mt. Lemmon’s Box Camp Trail – a short piece on the Box Camp Trail.

Rescues/Accidents/Incidents including information from the SARCI Newsletter:

  • Oracle Ridge Trail 6/3/2016 – A hiker was unable to continue up the trail, she was assisted out.
  • 7 Falls Tail 6/17/2016 – Hikers without lights were unable to continue after sunset – they were found by a team with lights and fluids and able to hike out.
  • 7 Falls Trail 6/19/2016 – Hikers ran out of water and called for assistance – they were given hydration and were able to continue.
  • Agua Caliente Canyon 7/1/2016 – A knee injury while USFS and AZGF personnel were in Agua Caliente Canyon checking fish necessitated a litter carry out.
  • Romero Canyon Trail 7/3/2016 – An exhausted hiker a short distance up the trail is assisted and walked out.
  • Lemmon Rock Trail 7/9/2016 – A group of hikers were doing a loop on the top of the mountain – Mount Lemmon Trail, Wilderness of Rock, Lemmon Rock Trail – one member was exhausted and unable to continue the climb back up to the top. A team provided supplies and company and helped the group continue up the trail.
  • Pontatoc Canyon 7/10/2016 – A hiker was reported missing but made it out before assistance arrived.
  • Aspen Trail 7/12/2016 – Hip injury on the Aspen Trail.
  • Rose Canyon Lake 7/16/2016 – A person medical issues near the dam was transported out of the area.
  •  Ventana Canyon Trail 7/16/2016 – A hiker, familiar with the area, was unexpectedly out overnight. He was and found and assisted the next day. He had reportedly headed up to The Window with only a bottle of water.
  • 7 Falls Trail 7/18/2016 – A hiker with asthma problems was assisted out, first on foot and then on horseback.
  • West Fork Trail 7/23/2016 – Two hikers set off for 7 Falls, but didn’t recognize it and continued all the way to the junction of the Cathedral Rock and West Fork Trails – at the junction they climbed up the Cathedral Rock Trail and were eventually able to get cell service and call for help. A rescuer was flown into Romero Pass and assisted the hikers down to the Hutch’s Pool area where they were helicoptered out.
Lightning over Samaniego Ridge on the west side of the Santa Catalina Mountains - taken from the Golder Ranch area. July 2016.
Lightning over Samaniego Ridge on the west side of the Santa Catalina Mountains – taken from the Golder Ranch area. July 2016.

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