Bears, Horses, Heat – 7/17/2017

Golder Dome disappearing as a storm rolls north. July 2017.
Golder Dome disappearing as a storm rolls north. July 2017.

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 | – 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 | – 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:

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.

Hikes and destinations:


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 –, HAPPY ENDING: Horse rescued on Mt. Lemmon, minor injury –
  • 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 –, 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.
A summer storm over Samaniego Ridge from the Golder Ranch area. July 2017.
A summer storm over Samaniego Ridge from the Golder Ranch area. July 2017.

A Weekday in Oracle State Park – 3/3/2017

An overcast weekday in Oracle State Park. March 2017. March 2017.
An overcast weekday in Oracle State Park. March 2017. March 2017.

The picture is unremarkable – rolling hills stretching towards the east side of the Santa Catalina Mountains on an overcast day – the remarkable thing is not the picture, but when and where it was taken… On a Friday in Oracle State Park!

Oracle State Park was, sadly, closed in 2009 due to budget cuts. It was re-opened in 2012 on weekends and this March finally re-opened full-time to the public.

I am very glad that the park is now open on weekdays – the north and east side of the Santa Catalina Mountians  can be surprisingly different from the more often visited south and west sides and Oracle State Park’s compact network of trails is one of the easiest ways to visit this landscape!

7 Days, Bighorn Spotting, Slides – 3/2/2017

Fairy Dusters and sunset on the Pontatoc Canyon Trail. February 2017.
Fairy Dusters and sunset on the Pontatoc Canyon Trail. February 2017.

Oracle State Park is now open 7 days a week!!!! Closed in 2009, re-opened to the public on weekends in 2012 and now open 7 days a week! Oracle State Park reopens to the Public 7 Days a Week! | Oracle State Park – Arizona State Parks, Oracle State Park north of Tucson will again be open daily – Arizona Daily Star.

Get a look at Tucson’s bighorn sheep through spotting scopes – Arizona Daily Star: This upcoming event is being hosted by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Santa Catalina Bighorn Sheep Advisory Committee. The event is “a celebration of the completion of the initial phase of a bighorn reintroduction project in the Catalina Mountains” and will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa, 245 E. Ina Road – there is no fee and there will be exhibits, talks and spotting scopes!

I have made a number of visits to the Linda Vista Trails over the years and have always enjoyed it – great views of Pusch Ridge and amazing desert close to town. Certainly so close to town you won’t completely escape city views and noise – but still beautiful! So it was no surprise to see a positive article by Doug Kreutz about Linda Vista – but it was a surprise to read a short letter to the editor a few days later with concerns that the trails are suffering because a “commercial horseback riding enterprise now using Linda Vista as its own private trail system” – something to think about…  Linda Vista Trail’s various adventures attract amazing array of users – Arizona Daily Star, Letter: Linda Vista Trail suffers | Letters to the Editor | – Arizona Daily Star

Dark side of U.S. history that built Catalina Highway | Arizona Sonora News Service – Arizona Sonora News: An article about the Prison Camp – now called the Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site – on the General Hitchcock Highway that provided labor for the construction of the highway. The article highlights the terrible treatment of Japanese Americans during WWII – 46 Japanese Americans were held at this Prison. The article does not contain details about the history of the Prison before and after WWII – the National Park System and the Densho Encyclopedia both have interesting additional information.

Highway closures – the first link has several pictures that give a good idea of the kind of rock/mud slides that can happen in wet weather:  Catalina Highway ‘open but restricted’ after rock slide – Tucson News Now, UPDATE: Rock slides cleared from road to Mt. Lemmon – Tucson News Now,  PCSD: Mt. Lemmon open with vehicle restrictions – Tucson News Now

Activity Lists: Outdoor activities March 2-10 | Things to Do in Tucson | – Arizona Daily Star, Outdoors Feb. 23-March 3 | Things to Do in Tucson | – Arizona Daily Star

Wild flowers and water! Where to see Arizona wildflowers – , Snowmelt turns Sabino Creek into a fast-flowing spectacle – Arizona Daily Star, Wildflowers, greenery shout spring at Catalina Park – Arizona Daily Star

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

  • 1/26/2017 Sutherland Trail: Hikers off-trail near the trailhead with small dogs were concerned about Javelina in the area, they were met and hiked out.
  • 1/27/2017 Bear Canyon Trail: A hiker waded upstream after loosing the trail at a crossing and twisted his ankle – helped to walk out.
  • 1/27/2017 Bluff Trail in Sabino Canyon: A fall results in a hip injury – the hiker was carried to a nearby maintenance road.
  • 2/2/2017 Phoneline Trail: After a fall the hiker is able to hike out with assistance.
  • 2/11/2017 Bear Canyon Trail: Ankle injury results in a carry out.
  • 2/12/2017 Romero Pools Trail: A hiker with an injured ankle at the Pools is hoisted out by the PCSD.
  • 2/20/2017 Bear Canyon: A hiker took the route to Thimble Peak and then started down a drainage towards Seven Falls and became stranded. The hiker was hoisted out by the PCSD.
Mount Lemmon above the clouds from Ironwood Forest National Monument. February 2017.
Mount Lemmon above the clouds from Ironwood Forest National Monument. February 2017.

Oracle State Park, Aermotor, J. Knox Corbett Lumber and Hardware Company – 12/5/2015

Aermotor Windmill Vane - on the Arizona Trail in Oracle State Park. December 2015.
Aermotor Windmill Vane – on the Arizona Trail in Oracle State Park. December 2015.
Markings - J. Knox Corbett Lumber and Hardware Company (or variation). December 2015.
Markings – J. Knox Corbett Lumber and Hardware Company (or variation). December 2015.

An obvious destination in Oracle State Park is the Windmill on the Arizona Trail – on this trip to the windmill I paid a bit more attention to the windmill itself and was able to learn more about it:

Aermotor: Aermotor has been making windmills since 1888 and is still in business today! From the beginning their windmills featured a steel wind wheel – apparently a key feature because it was more efficient than the wooden wind wheels commonly in use at the time. Some articles about Aermotor’s history: Aermotor Windmill Company HistoryGasEngine Magazine – History Of The Aermotor Windmill Corporation, – The Aermotor Company – Windmills Made in the U.S.A. 

– J. Knox Corbett Hardware and Lumber Company, Tucson: While I can not read all of the smaller writing on the windmill there is enough to connect it to the  J. Knox Corbett Lumber and Hardware Company. 

William Corbett came to Arizona in 1877 – after working at Lord & Williams, as an Assistant Postmaster and as a paymaster in the army he returned to Tucson in 1890 and bought a hardware store on the corner of Congress and Main – it became the W.J. Corbett Hardware Company. William Corbett ran the company until his death in 1919.

J. Knox Corbett came to Tucson several years after his brother and worked selling news papers for the Arizona Daily Star, as a postal clerk, owned a stage and freight line, owned the Tres Alamos Ranch on the San Pedro River and was the Postmaster of Tucson. Knox established J. Knox Corbett Lumber in the early 1890s. After his bother’s death in 1919 J. Knox took over the W.J. Corbett Hardware Company and it became the W.J. Corbett Lumber and Hardware Co. After suffering a stroke 1922 Knox retired from the business and it was taken over by Hiram Stevens Corbett.

Hiram “Hi” Stevens Corbett – son of J. Knox Corbett and Lizzie Hughes (eldest child of Sam Hughes and Atancia Santa Cruz) – became president of the J. Knox Corbett Lumber and Hardware Company in 1923. Today “Hi” Corbett’s name is familiar to many in Tucson because in 1950 Hi Corbett Field was named in his honor for his work in bringing baseball to Tucson. 

The J. Knox Corbett Lumber and Hardware Company – which eventually included a store on Speedway – closed in 1965.

The  J. Knox Corbett House is now part of the The Tucson Museum of Art’s Historic Block. The Arizona Memory Project contains a contribution from the Tucson Museum of Art Research Library, Tucson Museum of Art Historic Block Homes – A Window on Bygone Days, that includes a great resource in learning about the Corbett family:  A History of the J. Knox Corbett House and the J. Knox Corbett Family by Bettina Lyons (March 1981).


Oracle State Park, Flowers – 4/11/2015

Oracle State Park is currently open to the general public Saturdays and Sundays from 8am to 5pm (fee required) – there are a number of trails to enjoy, the historic Kannally Ranch House and when we visited the flowers were beautiful!

1504 Lily
A lily in Oracle State park on the Manzanita Trail. April 2015.
1504 Spider Milkweed
Spider Milkweed. April 2015.
1504 Prickly Pear Flower
Prickly Pear Flower. April 2015.