Elizabeth and I have just returned to our Scottsdale home after an exquisite weekend in Tucson. Overall, it is hard to beat a weekend like this. It had a little bit of everything that constitutes fun, both in earthly and spiritual senses.
We attended a marvelous opera, and went peak-top-peak, cheek-to-cheek 🙂 – from Mt Lemmon (8,200 ft) to Kitt Peak National Observatory (7,000 ft).
We watched the sun for the first time through the world’s largest solar telescope, and saw two giant solar spots or flares. And then we drove back to Tucson through a torrential monsoon thunderstorm which cleared the air and dropped the temperature 30F.
We finished the weekend this morning (Oct 20) with an 8-mile hike in the Sabino Canyon.
SABINO CANYON: A PERFECT HIKE MORNING AFTER
“Ban Sabino Canyon Trolleys” or “Convert Them to Electric Power” – takeaway messages from our wonderful hike
When I lived in Tucson briefly 12 years ago, I used to do a lot of hiking all over the beautiful Catalina Mountains. And Sabino Canyon has always been my favorite.
The 8-mile round trip hike that begins at an altitude of 2,800 ft and reaches 3,300 ft at the end is like a walk through God’s art gallery. Breathtaking every time. No matter how many times you do it.
For Elizabeth and me, a hike up and down the Sabino Canyon has become like attending church. Actively, not by sitting in a pew. You always come out refreshed and uplifted even if sweat is pouring down your face.
But not this time. Our hike the morning of Oct 20 was perfect in every respect. Weather was great. Temperatures cool.
It was the morning after the big monsoon storm had passed over the area on Sunday. Everything was sparkling. And the canyon echoed with sounds of ethereal music. The “orchestral” part was played by the rushing creek and the waterfalls; the choral – by the hummingbirds and chirping sparrows.
Some deciduous trees were turning even in the Arizona desert. And, of course, I also paid my tribute to the mountain ridge about 3/4 of the way up the canyon at which the Eagle and the Lion first appeared to me during my 2013 Desert Quest. And Elizabeth celebrated her fourth Sabino Canyon hike. Quite a feat for someone who does not hike regularly.
The hike also inspired a new wallpaper image for my Eagle’s Nest Facebook page.
Feds – The Worst Polluters: Ban Sabino Canyon Trolleys or Convert Them to Electric Power
There was one recurring blemish in an otherwise splendid hiking experience. It has to do with the Federal Government.
Elizabeth commented at one point near the end of the trail how she was impressed that there was no trash anywhere despite so many people using the Canyon. Indeed, the people are evidently conscious of the need to protect the beautiful gift the Sabino Canyon is. And are doing their part.
Nevertheless, the arrogant Feds had the audacity to post this sign and lecture the public to “Protect And Enjoy Your National Forest” – while doing the opposite.
What a farce! What duplicity!
The Feds are the worst offenders against the Sabino Canyon. Their gas-powered trolleys that spew out carbon like there is no tomorrow. They are the worst and the only polluters in an otherwise pristine canyon.
So “Ban Sabino Canyon Trolleys” or “Convert Trolleys to Electric Power” – would be the takeaway messages from our otherwise wonderful hike.
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Nestled in the foothills of Arizona’s southern Catalina Mountains 12 miles from downtown Tucson, the oasis of Catalina Canyon is one of the most scenic spectacles in Arizona. A paved road runs 3.8 miles into the canyon, crossing 9 stone bridges over Sabino Creek. It begins at an altitude of 2,800 feet and rises to 3,300 feet at its end, a popular drop-off in summer because of the swimming holes at Hutch’s Pool and The Crack.
Winding through the canyon, visitors who follow the road have views of the creek, the riparian vegetation, magnificent Saguaros on the canyon walls, and towering rock formations. Picnic areas are scattered along the road, as are trailheads leading to other sections of the National Forest or paralleling the road. Within the canyon, visitors travel by foot or horseback. Bicycles are permitted before 9am or after 5pm any day except Wednesdays and Saturdays .
The only motorized vehicles allowed on the 3.8-mile paved road that leads through the canyon are the Sabino Canyon/Bear Canyon shuttles and Park Service vehicles. Ramadas at the entrance give canyon visitors a place to sit and watch the wildlife while waiting for the shuttle.