Thanksgiving – I am standing in the spot marked as Cargodera Spring – a tree hangs over the canyon, there are deer tracks in the sand and a hazy white stain reveals where a bird perched above the canyon floor – we have already worked up and down canyon from this spot, there are water stains everywhere, but nowhere surface water or signs of Cargodera Spring.
It is really no surprise that we don’t find the spring – topo maps are always best considered beautiful works of historical fiction, often correct, current, and recognizable enough that it is easy to forget that they are frozen in time while the details of the real world constantly change – any blue marking on a map of the Santa Catalina Mountains is suspicious at best…
We watch a single Coati work up canyon standing still until his tall tail disappears – after one last glance for the spring we hike back to the Sutherland Trail and enjoy the sunset on the way out.
We are surrounded by what seems like an infinite variety of insects – walking this trail in the daylight, just hours earlier, there was little hint of the magnificent horde that would be conjured from the darkness…
Ewe #39555 was killed by a mountain lion 2/14 or 2/15 – the lion was pursued but not found/killed.
44 collared sheep are known to be alive – with a number of collars out of battery life and continued breeding in the range this count is less relevant than it was 12+ months ago – although the information from this subset of the population is still very interesting.
Sutherland Trail 2/12/2016 – A hiker intended to go up Sutherland and then come back down via the Mount Lemmon Trail and Romero Canyon Trail but lost the Sutherland Trail in the snow and was not prepared for night hiking – the hiker was able to hike out with an escort.
Romero Canyon Trail 2/21/2016 – A hiker called saying he was ill and in Romero Pass – the hiker was able to hike down and refused help other than gatorade.
The windy/dusty – slightly cooler – day pulled us out to the west side of the Santa Catalina Mountains for the Baby Jesus Trail Loop.
Golder Ranch Road Parking Area – 50 Year trail (a counterclockwise loop today), the single track of ends too soon… Dirt roads and gunfire as the background… Trail Link – Sutherland Trail, I barely paused at the junction with the Baby Jesus Trail, the thin track thru the desert was marked but seemed too small, thankfully Alison corrected our path.
The Baby Jesus Trail seems to get surprisingly little use near the junction with the Sutherland Trail – cows – the Wooden Trough Spring Tank has clear flowing water, a great surprise!
The cows have taken over trail building in this area and at times following the trail is a bit of a guessing game, today we are glad that the last hiker on this trail seemed to know it rather well and left us beautiful foot prints to follow.
The lower stretches of the Baby Jesus Trail are especially beautiful as it follows a ridge and canyon past beautiful rock formations – easy to see why the lower portion of the trail receives more use.
A short section of road – single track on the 50 Year Trail – the moon rising between Samaniego Peak and Mount Lemmon – Pusch Ridge – home…