Sunday, April 24, 2011

A new adventure: Pima Canyon hiking

As some of my friends may know, I've signed up for an REI travel trip in September with my good friend, Kimberly Rivera. We're going for 6 days of hiking in the Utah canyonlands and arches wilderness areas. I'm super excited, but I haven't really done all that much hiking in the past few years what with all the running and birding I've been doing. In addition, David and I have an opportunity to hike the Grand Canyon in November and he is in worse hiking shape than I am, so we've decided to condition ourselves now for the "big one."

This morning we hiked an "easy" hike (according to the Tucson hiking web sites I found). Pima Canyon is a 6.4 mile out and back hike with an 850 foot change in elevation and is listed as a class C hike - interpret that as whimp hike. At the end of the hike is a natural rock formation people like to call the "dam" which has Native American grind holes in it.  I had been there a few years ago birding with the Tucson Audubon Society and I remembered that it seemed long, but very beautiful. The guide said this was to be a 2.6 hour total hike - up and back.

We got a decently early start and began at almost exactly 7:30am. The weather was gorgeous - not too hot and not too cold.  I won't bore you with the details, but we hiked what seemed to be 4 or 5 miles up, got some great pictures, but we whimped out before we could find the damned dam. I'm sure we were almost there, but after 2.5 hours of hiking into the canyon - remember this was supposed to be a 2.6 hour hike altogether- we decided it just wasn't worth it. So, it's on our list of hikes to do again soon when we're a little more "seasoned."

One of the reasons we went took so was that DC was taking pictures of the interesting stuff we saw. Here are the best of them...

Blooming ocotillo at the trailhead

A beautifully heart-shaped prickly pear pad

An early cholla flower

The mouth of Pima Canyon

The only blooming saguaro we saw today

Hiker Inez

Don't know what kind of flower this is, but it's a pretty color

Thistle flower

David loved this very old, narly-looking tree

A spider's trap that DC found. If you look super close, you can see the spider inside.

The first Gila Monster we found. He quickly got away.

A second Gila Monster a little later was much more cooperative.

Yellow prickly pear flower

This is the craziest prickly pear pad I've ever seen. This is all one pad!

Itty bitty grapes


A prickly pear in bloom.
Ahhhhh! The bridge at the end of the trail!
I was soooo happy to see that damned bridge after not seeing the danmed dam!

So lessons learned from this hike:
  1. Add a little more time to the guide's time estimate, probably about 75% more time right now. 
  2. Get some good insoles for my boots. The boots themselves were comfortable - no rub spots or blisters, but my soles and arches hurt. Time for Superfeet.
  3. Divide up the snacks. I carried the first aid and put the snacks in DC's bag. He was a few minutes behind and I was starving. He had the sushi roll and the cransins. All I had was my chocolate agave gel. Next time, we each carry our own snacks.
  4. I should probably divide up the first aid kit now that I think about it. Some for him and some for me!
  5. Be more patient - haha I could use that in about every aspect of my life!!
Next hike (in two weeks), I'm thinking maybe one of the hikes in the Monument East. Til then!

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to read more, inez. GORGEOUS photos! Wow... Looking forward to September.