The flowers on the Meadow Trail are fading a bit, ferns on the Mt. Lemmon Trail are starting to brown and small drainages crossing the Wilderness of Rocks Trail are beginning to go dry – the summer rains are gone, but summer temperatures are still very much here – a nice time to be at the top of the mountain.
Up to the junction with the Brush Corral Shortcut Trail there is no evidence of the Burro Fire on the Upper Brush Corral Trail – and even below the junction it takes some time to enter areas touched by the fire. But as you get closer to ridge where the Brush Corral Trail devolves into an off-trail route areas burned in the fire start to appear.
Lower on the trail the impact of the burn is more severe but, somehow, maybe because some of this area burned in the 2002 Bullock Fire, the changes in this area don’t seem as shocking as on the top of Guthrie Mountain. The Upper Brush Corral Trail down into the more obscure part of the trail below the Brush Corral Shortcut Trail junction is definitely an interesting way to get a first hand look at the impact of the Burro Fire.
On the Green Mountain Trail it was hard to tell what I would find – the Green Mountain Trail was untouched by the Burro Fire, but not far from Bear Saddle on the Guthrie Mountain Trail the impact of the Burro Fire became obvious.
On the ridge out to the short rocky climb before the summit the trees scorched by the fire seemed almost like strange fall colors – but the summit must have burned hotter, here the trees have been transformed into black sticks.
With the trees and brush largely cleared by the fire it is now easy to wander down from the summit for more photos – other areas burned in the Burro Fire attract my attention today – the slopes of Evans mountain and Burro Creek are distinctly brown.
Guthrie Mountain is still very much worth visiting – I was a bit stunned at first by the new look of the summit, but the burned slopes are already spouting new growth and it will be interesting to see what happens as the area comes back to life.
News links from the past few months for the Santa Catalina Mountains – this post was over due already in late June when I was working on finishing it but it was delayed several additional weeks by the Burro Fire. The Burro Fire burned over 27,000 acres in the Santa Catalina Mountains but did not destroy any homes/buildings/infrastructure – news links, maps, pictures and other information from the Burro Fire can be found here.
Pine scents, cold streams, ladybugs: Moments and memories on Mount Lemmon | Home + Life + Health | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star: A short article of selected memories of the mountain that were submitted to the paper via Facebook – this was prompted by the Burro Fire and it made me think about all the personal stories about the mountain that we never get to hear…
Permit to operate Sabino shuttle to be opened for ‘competitive process’ – Arizona Daily Star, Sabino Canyon shuttle service to continue – KGUN9: For now the current shuttle will continue to operate while the Forest Service continues to take and evaluate bids to run the shuttle service. The Forest Service took public comments on this process in October 2015 and I think it is fair to say that many people hope to see improvements to the shuttle system – after seeing this article it was interesting to go back and read the 2015 letter from the Forest Service…
Giving back in Southern Arizona | Business News | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star: “Summit Hut raised $1,500 for Friends of Oracle State Park, a 4,000-acre wildlife refuge in northern foothills of the Catalina Mountains. It serves as a center for environmental education while providing programming for all ages through interactive programs, trails and avenues for interrelationships and habitats between plants, animals and people.” The Friends of Oracle State Park have done great work over the years and this March the park opened full time for the first time in years!
Southern Arizona Rescue Association looking for new volunteers – KGUN9: SARA is an outstanding group that has helped a huge number of hikers/climbers/canyoneers/riders/etc.!!! Tuesday July 18th, 2017 from 19:00 to 21:00 is the next orientation for people interested in joining. New applicant recruitment is done once a year – for more information see this page.
Sonoran Desert wildlife passages win partnership award – Tucsonlocalmedia: The North Oracle Road widening that took place last year included a wildlife crossing bridge and underpass – the work that the Arizona Department of Transportation did in coordinating and collaborating on the wildlife crossings earned it the 2017 Timothy M. Ahrens Partnering Award from the Pima Association of Governments and the Regional Transportation Authority. These crossing help provide a much needed link between the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Tortolita Mountains – two interesting sources for more information are the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection‘s results from the effort to monitor the crossings and AZGF’s funding proposal for a study of the wildlife linkage.
Stranded bighorns – High Country News: A letter to the editor about the Bighorn Sheep in the Santa Catalina Mountains – the paragraph that caught my attention: “The bighorn release area in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness is hemmed in right up to the Coronado National Forest and wilderness boundary by dense urban development. The bighorn are stranded on a “mountain island.” How will that herd maintain genetic diversity without manipulation by humans?”
Southern Arizona Authors – Arizona Daily Star: A nice review of John Bezy’s A Guide to the Geology of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona: The Geology and Life Zones of a Madrean Sky Island.
Bears, Mountain Lions and even a rabid fox were concerns over the past few months – probably the most memorable item from the articles below is the picture of a bear looking thru the window into a Summerhaven cabin:
- Warning: Beware of bears, mountain lions around Mount Lemmon, Sabino Canyon – Arizona Daily Star
- Oh, my! Game & Fish warns visitors about lions, bears in Santa Catalina Mountains – KVOA.com
- Wildlife officials issue bear warning on Mt. Lemmon – Tucson News Now
- Rabid fox alert closes Rose Canyon Lake campground – KVOA.com
The commercial horseback rides on the Linda Vista Trails continued to generate quite a bit of commentary – the permit for the rides was not renewed and the rides have ended.
- Commercial horseback rides banned from popular trail north of Tucson | Tucson Business News | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star
- Letter: Banned horseback rides on Linda Vista Trail | Local-issues | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star
- Pusch Ridge Stables puts an end to Catalina State Park trail rides | Tucson Business News | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star
- Ann Brown: Extra effort required to end hiker-horse feud on Linda Vista Trail | Opinion | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star
- Letter: Re: the May 1. article “Ann Brown: Extra effort required to end hiker-horse feud on Linda Vista Trail” | Local-issues | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star
- Letter: Re: the May 16. article “Letter: Banned horseback rides on Linda Vista Trail” | Local-issues | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star
Hikes and destinations:
- Classic hike: Mint Spring Trail is a treat for the senses | Things to Do in Tucson | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star
- Marshall Gulch in Catalinas offers relief from sizzling city heat – Arizona Daily Star
- Upper Sabino Canyon: A forest haven high above the desert | Recreation | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star
- Tucson Staycations: Sabino Canyon – KGUN9
- Classic hike: Aspen-Marshal Gulch loop trail is a no-sweat affair | Things to Do in Tucson | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star
- Sabino Canyon overflow parking lot closing for the summer – Arizona Daily Star
- Mountain wildflowers burst into early bloom – Arizona Daily Star
- Esperero Trail: A heaping helping of natural beauty – Arizona Daily Star
- Natural wonders welcome walkers on Bellota Trail northeast of Tucson – Arizona Daily Star
- Aspen Draw Trail | Things to Do in Tucson | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star
- Head to the hills to lower the danger of hiking in Tucson’s heat – Arizona Daily Star
- Sunset Trail | Things to Do in Tucson | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star
- Hittin’ the Trails 4 You: Mt. Lemmon’s Aspen Loop – KVOA.com
- Tucson Outdoor Birding, Bugs, Hikes and Walks Outdoors July 20-28 | Things to Do in Tucson | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star
- Tucson Outdoors Birds, bats, hiking and walking. July 13-21 | Calendar | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star
- The List July 6-14 | Things to Do in Tucson | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star
- Tucson Outdoors Birds, bats, crawlers, hikes and walks June 29-July 7 | Things to Do in Tucson | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star
- Tucson Outdoors Birds, Bats, Lizards or hikes/walks July 6-14 | Things to Do in Tucson | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star
- Tucson book clubs, storytimes and more June 18-24 | Things to Do in Tucson | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star
- TUCSON WEEKENDER: Fun things to do in the Old Pueblo (June 30-July 2) – Tucson News Now
- Mount Lemmon SkyCenter Open House Saturday – Arizona Public Media
Rescues/Accidents/Incidents including information from the SARCI Newsletter:
- 4/6/2017 Bear Canyon Trail: Exhausted hiker about x7 was given refreshments, helped down to the Horse Around and assisted out on horseback
- 4/12/2017 Box Camp Trail: A hiker was unable to find a way out of Sabino – found and assisted up the Box Camp Trail
- 4/15/2017 Nancy’s Thumb, above North Fin in the Windy Point Area: A climber soloed up Nancy’s Thumb (5.4) but was unable to get down – an anchor was set and the climber lowered down and assisted back to Windy Point
- 4/22/2017 7 Falls, Bear Canyon: A hiker falls and hits his head and feels poorly – helped with hydration and then assisted out on foot and horseback
- 4/23/2017 Pontatoc Trail: A fall results in an ankle injury – carried out
- 4/23/2017 Esperero Trail: On the return trip from Bridalveil Falls hikers ran out of water – one continued to the Visitors Center for help. The hiker still on the trail was given refreshments and was able to hike out
- 4/23/2017 7 Falls, Bear Canyon: Ankle injury – carried out but at x7 reported loss of sensation in her foot – hoisted out by helicopter
- 5/6/2017 7 Falls, Bear Canyon: A group looking for Seven Falls hiked up Sabino and down Bear – one hiker became exhausted just above the falls – given refreshments and iked out.
- 5/7/2017 Knagge Trail: A hiker attempting to follow the Knagge Trail got lost and continued off trail before calling for help. A care package was dropped by helicopter, SARA teams met the hiker and they hiked out.
- 5/7/2017 Bear Canyon Trail: Three hikers without lights are met and assisted out
- 5/19/2017 Red Ridge Trail: Two horses and riders set off down the Red Ridge Trail – one horse spooked and ended up down a steep brushy slope in the bottom of a drainage. A path was cleared and the horse was able to walk back up the to the trail and out without assistance. Horse rescue draws multi-agency response on Mt Lemmon – KVOA.com, HAPPY ENDING: Horse rescued on Mt. Lemmon, minor injury – KVOA.com
- 5/20/2017 Romero Canyon: Hikers try to hike back from Romero Pools via the canyon bottom – several end up exhausted – met and given refreshemnts near the mouth of the canyon – assisted out.
- 5/20/2017 Sutherland Trail: Hikers reach the powerline but exhausted and out of water call for help. They were able to continue up slowly – meanwhile there ride at the top of the mountain went down the Lemmon Rock Lookout Trail to meet them, but the were on the Mount Lemmon Trail – they were found and accompanied back up.
- 5/23/2017 Wilderness of Rocks: Two hikers planning on hiking up the Lemmon Rock Lookout Trail end up in the dark without water – assisted out.
- 6/1/2017 Mt.Kimball Area: Hikers see a bear and after calling for help are advised to head downhill away from the bear – disoriented they started down into Ventana before realizing their error and turning around – met and assisted back to the trailhead.
- 6/3/2017 Bear Canyon Trail: Exhausted hiker at the first crossing escorted out
- 6/4/2017 Bear Canyon Trail: Two xxhausted hikers are given refreshments – one rode out by horse, one hoisted by helicopter. Rescues underway for two hikers near Seven Falls – KVOA.com, Two hikers rescued in Sabino Canyon – KGUN9
- 6/18/2017 Whitetail Group Area: Lost while hiking around the area – found.
- 6/18/2017 Esperero Trail: After going up the Ventana Trail and the hiker ran out of water on the Esperero Trail and was unable to continue. Met, given refreshments and assisted out.
- 6/19/2017 Romero Pass: A hiker coming up from Catalina State Park gets lost above Romero Pass – located, given refreshments and assisted to the top.
Redington Road had been closed since the start of July due to the Burro Fire – on the first day that it re-opened I drove out along the fire perimeter and hiked to the top of Piety Hill. The Burro Fire was stopped west of Piety Hill and in the sunset light it was hard tell where the Burro Fire burned – I am sure that there are areas that were heavily impacted by the fire but from Piety Hill I can still see green trees and grass below.
Piety Hill is located on Pima County’s A7 Ranch – at 4,714′ it is not stunning high (‘Hill’ is the right name) – but it is high enough to overlook the San Pedro Valley and offer great views of the surrounding terrain! There is no official trail to the top, but the terrain, while steep, is reasonably open and it is not hard to find a way to the top.