Unfortunately, not for the 1st time in Don’s hiking life, our friends in Washington, DC, messed up his plans. He was supposed to take a hike on the Esperero Trail out of Sabino Canyon, but it was closed since the Bureau of Land Management is currently furloughed. So he joined a group of “A” hikers (the best in the Hiking Club) on a hike up Pima Canyon to the Pima Spring. The combination of his not so good hydration skills, warm temperature, and roughness of the hike, left him almost dehydrated, bruised, scratched and full of thorns. Now, two days later, he is still very sore.
Pima Canyon is one of the gems of the front range of the Santa Catalina mountains. The canyon has been occupied by humans since long before a European ever set foot in the New World, as evidenced by the mortar holes ground into bedrock in the canyon which have been dated to around 750 AD.
The hike from the trail-head to the first dam is by far the most popular (3.0 miles – 800′ elevation gain – 1.5 hours), and was built by the AZ Fish and Game service in the 1960’s to help provide water for bighorn sheep and other wildlife in the wilderness area.
The track to the 2nd dam (an additional 1.2 miles – 1,050′ elevation gain – 1.0 hours) is more challenging, but offers awesome views into the canyon bottom, and back to the west of Tucson and Wasson Peak in the distance.
The track to Pima Spring (an additional 0.7 miles – 750′ elevation gain – 0.9 hours) continues to ascend with a steeper grade as it winds through this juniper forest and climbs, almost vertically at times.
This was the half way point of Don’s stupid adventure, since he now had to hike back to the trailhead. If he had continued to hike he would have reached the Pima Saddle, which would have provided amazing views, including a view of the backside of Mount Kimball and a nice, unobstructed view of Mount Lemmon.
He is already thinking, that maybe he will try again in January or February. And, he is wondering what we should do if our government continues its deadlock, and the National Parks are still shut down next Thursday, since we are scheduled to be in Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite National Parks.