Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sabino Canyon, Trip Two

Yesterday we made a trip to Tucson's Sabino Canyon in the the Santa Catalina Mountains, just ten miles from where we are staying at Davis Monthan Air Force Base.  We visited for the first time a few weeks ago and walked about halfway up the 3.7 mile canyon road, which is closed to traffic except for open-air shuttles called trams.  This time we thought we'd try the tram and then hike an actual trail.

Tickets were $8 each for the 40-minute round trip, which is narrated by the driver and makes 9 stops. It was a fun way to get a look at the canyon and learn a little about its history, flora and fauna.  After a short hike at the top to Sabino Canyon Creek, we walked back down the road.  Jim did the entire 3.7 miles to the visitor center, but I stopped one mile short -- it felt like my quads might blow up after yesterday's weight lifting session -- and got on the tram.  While I was waiting I met a woman from New York who was hiking with two recently replaced hips!
The road up Sabino Canyon.  Our tram driver said 33 mountain lions live in the canyon; one of her first directives was do's and don'ts if you see one while hiking:  Maintain eye contact, back away, don't run, don't crouch down.  (Jim and I think you are also supposed to make yourself look as big as possible by raising your arms or holding up your back pack, but we've never had to put that to the test.)  She also pointed out a lot of places where the cats were seen from the road, but no such luck for us.  As it was warm (in the mid-70s) I was more concerned about rattlers, but we didn't see any of them, either.
An Arizona sycamore, which is native to Arizona and New Mexico and also part of northern Mexico.  
The Sabino Canyon tram at the top of the canyon, where we got out and started our hike.  When we started our ride up, Jim started humming "It's a Small World After All" because the tram does kind of look like a Disneyland ride.  Fortunately I was able to get the song out of my head.
Bev on the trail at the top of the canyon and on a trail toward Sabino Canyon Creek.
Our destination:  Sabino Creek, which crosses the canyon road several times but is about a half a mile from the road at the top of the canyon. We sat in the shade of a couple of big boulders near this spot and had a snack.  After the one mile round trip to the creek, we walked back down the canyon road. Jim took this photo with his iPhone.

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