Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pontatoc Ridge Trail September 29, 2013

                   Trail profile from www.tucsonhikes.wordpress.com

Location: The trail head for Pontatoc Ridge is located at the end of North Alvernon Road. Take Campbell Road to Skyline Road. Take a right onto Skyline Road and drive until you see Alvernon Road on the left. Three trails originate at this trail head including Finger Rock Canyon, Pontatoc Canyon and Pontatoc Ridge.  The Finger Rock Canyon trail is longer giving hikers and backpackers the chance to connect into more trails in the Catalina Mountains. Finger Rock is also popular with hikers who want to climb Mount Kimball.

Hike and Trail Description: Today I started hiking around three o'clock to take advantage of the late afternoon and early evening temperatures. I chose Pontatoc Ridge because it was shorter and it gained elevation quickly. The hike is about 5 miles round trip and it gains over 2000 feet in elevation. The Pontatoc Ridge trail branches off from Pontatoc Canyon after one mile of hiking. The trail sweeps back to the front of the ridge and then gains elevation quickly. The trail is very rocky so watch your footing and the cacti which grow over the trail in places. The trail gets  faint and hikers have made other illegal trails making it hard to follow. If you hike in the Catalina foothills watch out for rattlesnakes. Today I saw a beautiful Mohave rattlesnake. The snake was not at aggressive and actually more afraid of me. I gave it plenty of room and watched from a distance. Snakes play a vital role in our ecosystem so don't kill them.

                          A forest of Teddy Bear Cholla

                  Finger Rock Canyon in the background with Yucca and Ocotillos in foreground

                    Looking up Pontatoc Canyon

                   Saguaros with Tucson in the valley

                   Forest of Teddy Bear Cholla; I wouldn't hug them though.

                            Mohave Rattlesnake; distinguishable by green tint.

                    Late afternoon sun.

               Last light on Pontatoc Ridge

                 Catalina foothills