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 | 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:

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:

Events:

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.
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.

Sabino Canyon – 5/22/2017

Lower Sabino Canyon below the dam. May 2017.
Lower Sabino Canyon below the dam. May 2017.

The dryness and early summer heat are having their way with Sabino Canyon – just below the dam the water’s movement is nearly imperceptible and in the still pools strange patterns and stresses emerge – it feels like the canyon and I are both longing for the refreshing July rains…

The Gauge at the Sabino Canyon Dam - July is usually reliable for weather and rain, but every year is different... July 2017.
The Gauge at the Sabino Canyon Dam – July is usually reliable for weather and rain, but every year is different… July 2017.
Lower Sabino Canyon below the dam. May 2017.
Lower Sabino Canyon below the dam. May 2017.
Lower Sabino Canyon below the dam. May 2017.
Lower Sabino Canyon below the dam. May 2017.

Sabino Canyon Nights – 2/26/2017 and 3/25/2017

Trees over the Sabino Canyon Lake. February 2017.
Trees over the Sabino Canyon Lake. February 2017.

With (seasonal) water and fast/easy access to interesting destinations Sabino Canyon is an easy choice for night photography.  You won’t escape the glow of the city here – if your only goal stunning images of the stars and Milky Way there are better destinations. But we have never failed to find something interesting to photograph and visiting Sabino Canyon at night is a chance to enjoy the canyon without the crowds – an increasingly rare treat!

Capturing Images at night in Sabino Canyon. March 2017.
Capturing Images at night in Sabino Canyon. March 2017.
Water over the Dam. February 2017.
Water over the Dam. February 2017.

Peppersauce, Shuttle, Weather, 60 – 2/11/2017

Santa Catalina Mountains from Panther Peak in the Tucson Mountains. January 2017.
Santa Catalina Mountains from Panther Peak in the Tucson Mountains. January 2017.

Photos: Exploring Peppersauce Cave in 1948 | News | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star: The Arizona Daily Star pictures from Peppersauce Cave in 1948! In 1948 Desert Magazine published a rather amazing article about Peppersauce Cave which included the location of the cave and a detailed map. The cave had been used/explored before 1948, but the Desert Magazine article – and a brief mention in a 1951 National Geographic Magazine article – probably contributed to the cave being widely known, and with the cave both widely known and completely accessible trash/graffiti/vandalism have been issues. (BTW there are apparently several versions of how Peppersauce Canyon got its name, but the popular stories involve Alex McKay – a prospector in the 1880s – and, you guessed it, his peppersauce…)

Free shuttle to Sabino Canyon for the holiday season – KVOA.com, Electric bus to Sabino Canyon part of new pilot program – Tucson News Now: An electric bus ran from Udall Park to Sabino Canyon during the holidays – it will be interesting to see if this service is provided next year. When this project was announced I mainly thought about the congestion of the Sabino Canyon Parking lot and the possible convenience of avoiding that – but one of the articles above points out that with several Sun Tran routes serving Udall this service provided a very nice link to Sabino Canyon! (And a bus that provides access to the great outdoors certainly brings to mind to the old pictures of the “Mount Lemmon Bus Line“!)

M.O.V.E. ACROSS 2 RANGES – “Marana, Oro Valley, Experience”,  “One Day. Two Ranges. Hike Challenge.” – This is an interesting event that has a variety of challenges to get you outside and into the Tortolita and Santa Catalina Mountains. Packet pickup and after party are being held at the Oro Valley Summit Hut and Patagonia & Summit Hut will donate $2 for every person who signs up for the event to the Friends of Catalina State Park!

This event is an awesome way to explore nature and get active. Hit the trails and experience the challenge and beauty of Southern Arizona’s Tortolita and Catalina Mountains in one day! Trail run, hike, or stroll through this fun event.  

Arizona State Parks and Trails Celebrates 60 Years and Holds 60 First Day Hikes throughout Arizona on January 1: On Jan. 1 the Arizona State Parks held 60 First Day Hikes to celebrate their 60th anniversary. If you have not visited the Arizona State Parks website you might enjoy visiting the updated site including new Oracle State Park and Catalina State Park pages and a statewide calendar of events.

Coronado National Forest announces fee-free days for 2017 – Tucson News Now: The remaining fee-free days for this year are President’s Day – Feb. 20, National Get Outdoors Day – June 10, National Public Lands Day – Sept. 30 and Veterans Day – Nov. 11.

Arizona Trail Association – Oracle Rumble: The Arizona Trail Assocation added a race to their list of trail running events this year – the Oracle Rumble! With 50 mile, 50k, half-marathon and 10k distances this race could be a great excuse to see the landscape just north of the Santa Catalina Mountains – a great area that is much less visited than the areas immediately around Tucson.

Opinion: Catalinas bighorn sheep reintroduction a win for wildlife and people | Guest Opinions | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star: An opinion piece about the Bighorn reintroduction – the piece makes some positive points about the reintroduction, but for me it seems like the missing piece of the puzzle in making judgments about the project is the knowing what happens long term…

Dog found after getting lost on Mount Lemmon three months ago – KVOA.com: A nice story about a dog lost on Mount Lemmon who was found months later at a San Manuel area ranch!

Buffelgrass pulled at Sabino Canyon – KVOA.com: Sabino Canyon is a popular area and it is great to see Buffelgrass removal taking place there – if you don’t know about Buffelgrass here is some reading from the Desert Museum.

Snow helps Mt. Lemmon firefighters contain blaze to 1 cabin, some trees – Tucson News Now: The plume of smoke from this fire wasn’t huge – but it was very visible – sad that the cabin burned but I am glad the blaze was contained.

Tucson Outdoors Jan. 26-Feb. 3 | Things to Do in Tucson | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star, Tucson Outdoors Feb. 2-10. | Things to Do in Tucson | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star: The Arizona Daily Star has started to do articles with lists of outdoor related events – quite a few different events are covered and you will probably find something going on that you didn’t know about!

The weather felt slightly late this year – but as always snow eventually covered the mountain and brought the standard road closures and overcrowding – slight frustrations compared to the joy of being in the snow an hour or less from Tucson!

Recent links about hikes and adventures:

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

  • 11/13/2016 La Milagrosa Canyon: Ankle injury above Molino Basin at the head of Milagrosa Canyon – hiker carried and ridden out.
  • 11/26/2016 Sutherland Trail: Backpackers loose their way and are found from their cellphone location after calling for help.
  • 11/27/2016 Soldier Canyon below Prison Camp: A climbing fall results in an ankle injury at Jailhouse Rock – climber carried out.
  • 12/7/2016 Pusch Peak Northwest Side Route: A hiker with a knee injury is able to hike out slowly with assistance.
  • 12/11/2016 Wilderness of Rocks: Hikers have trouble finding the trail, call for help and are assisted out.
  • 12/24/2016 Historic Trail in Sabino Canyon: A hiker with low blood sugar is assisted out.
  • 12/27/2016 Rattlesnake Junction, Sabino Canyon: A fall results in a dislocated hip and pelvis fracture – hiker was carried to the tram road and taken to the hospital.
  • 12/30/2016 Pima Canyon Trail: A hiker, possible with cardiac issues, becomes ill and is carried back to the trailhead.
  • 1/6/2017 Blackett’s Ridge: Ankle injury leads to a carry out.
  • 1/7/2017 Sycamore Reservoir Trail: Hikers at a trail sign but in the dark without lights call for help and are assisted out by family members.
  • 1/15/2017 Thimble Peak: Hikers intending to do the Bear Canyon Loop back to Sabino start up Bear Canyon but accidentally leave the Bear Canyon Trail and turn onto the route to Thimble Peak and are unable to continue – assisted out.
  • 1/24/2017 Seven Falls Trail: Hikers have problems with darkness and high water levels, assisted out.

Smoke, Leg Traps, Closures, Survival, Last Release – 12/19/2016

December 2016.
Snowy roads in the Bear Wallow area. December 2016.

Smoke from Mount Bigelow north of Tucson is a good thing – Arizona Daily Star: An interesting article on the Bigelow Prescribed Burn including some good how and why information about the burn.

Sabino Canyon is a beautiful destination but it is often crowded on any weekend with (even vaguely) good weather. Holidays can be particularly busy – to help with the congestion from Dec. 26 to Jan. 2 there will be a shuttle from Udall Park to Sabino Canyon. The shuttle will start at Udall Park at 9:15 and run each hour – the last shuttle will leave Sabino Canyon at 4:45. The shuttle can carry 40 people and it could be a nice way to avoid a packed and frustrating experience in the Sabino Canyon Parking Lot!! I believe this is the first year this service has been offered – it might be best to keep a little flexibility in your plans just-in-case the shuttle is full or not quite on time… Free holiday shuttle could help ease Sabino Canyon’s parking hassles | Government and politics | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star, Free Electric Shuttle To and From Sabino Canyon During Holiday Break – City of Tucson

Seasonal gate closures on Mt. Lemmon – Coronado National Forest, Some Mt. Lemon roads, sites to close for winter – KVOA.com, Some roads, day-use sites on Mt. Lemmon close for winter – Tucson News Now

Redington Pass Shooting Closure Extended, One Area Reopens – Coronado National Forest: The shooting closures that has been in place since 2013 has been extended and slightly modified. The area was originally closed while trash and debris related to shooting were removed and the extension is designed to help the area to recover. From the Forest Service:

According to the closure, shooting will be prohibited within 0.6 miles on either side of the road from the western boundary of the Forest to mile marker 6.3. The previous closure prohibited recreational shooting from mile marker 5 to mile marker 7.

This article is about the return of seasonal residents to the area but is included here largely for the interesting bits of information about the Southern Arizona Rescue AssociationSnowbirds back in Southern Arizona, and the wild outdoors beckon

Raven euthanized after caught in leg trap in Redington Pass – KVOA.com: A rather sad story about a Raven found in a baited leg hold trap in the Redington Pass area who was eventually euthanized – these traps are illegal on public lands as is trapping Ravens.

Authorities need help after deer poached in Catalina Mountains – Tucson News Now: “A $1,000 reward is being offered for tips leading to the arrest of the person who killed a Whitetail deer in the Santa Catalina Mountains last month. The Arizona Game and Fish Department said the animal, an untagged Whitetail buck, was found Oct. 9 off Forest Service Road 4496 in the Charoleau Gap area.”

BREAKING: Vehicle reportedly went off the road in Redington Pass – KVOA.com: According to the article one person was rescued and taken to the hospital after an vehicle accident in the Redington Pass area.

History of the San Manuel-Kalamazoo Mine, Pinal County, Arizona – AZGS Document Repository: Not a recent document but I had never seen this short history of the San Manuel-Kalamazoo Mine before and thought it was very interesting.

A Career of Her Own: Edith Shreve at the Desert Laboratory – University of Arizona Campus Repository: Janice Bowers wrote about Forrest Shreve, who worked at the Desert Labratory in Tucson, in the book A Sense of Place - The Life and Work of Forrest Shreve – she also authored this article about Edith Shreve. The article is from 1986 but I had not come across it until recently – it is an interesting read and includes a picture of Edith Shreve during an expedition into the Santa Catalina Mountains in the early 1900s! The name Shreve will be familiar to dedicated Santa Catalina Mountain hikers because of Shreve Saddle on the Sycamore Reservoir Trail.

Ron Hutter was lost on the mountain for several and nights after leaving from the Upper Green Mountain Trailhead for what he intended to be a short hike – thankfully he was eventaully able to walk back to the highway without any major injuries or mishaps. In this article from Tucson News Now –  Hiker recounts fight survival after getting lost – he gives a detailed account of what happened and what he did, worth reading/watching and thinking about. Deputies continue search for missing hiker on Mt. Lemmon – Tucson News Now, Missing Mount Lemmon hiker found OK after being lost for 3 days | Crime | tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star, Missing hiker recuperating after spending 3 days on Mt Lemmon – KVOA.com

In November, after the release of 20 more Bighorn into the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona Game and Fish declared that the population has reached a sustainable level and that:

  • No more releases are planned
  • monthly updates about the project will no longer be released
  • not all of the sheep released had GPS collars attached
  • Mountain Lions that kill Bighorns will no longer be pursued
  • AZGF Research Projects are scheduled to end in June 2017

I suppose at this point it will be many years until we know if this project was truly successful…

Recent links about hikes and adventures:

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

  • Wilderness of Rocks 10/1/2016: Hiker stranded by darkness is found off trail near the Wilderness of Rocks/Lemmon Rock junction
  • Windy Point 10/6/2016: An injury requiring a carry out of the patient
  • Sutherland Trail 10/8/2016: A hiker on one of the many social trail off the Sutherland Trail in the Catalina State Park area became exhausted and was carried out
  • Sabino Canyon 10/13/2016: Hikers requested help after hiking down canyon past the guaging station and were helped out
  • Aspen Trail 10/15/2016: Hikers lost the trail but were able to find the trail and reach their vehicle before help arrived
  • Butterfly Trail 10/17/2016: A biker on the Butterfly Trail lost the trail in the Novio Spring area and was extracted.
December 2016.
Snow hiding in the shadow of Mount Bigelow. December 2016.