Friday, May 23, 2014

Green Mountain, Catalina Mountains May 18, 2014

                  Sky Islands vegetation

Location: The Green Mountain trail is located directly off the Catalina Highway in southern Arizona. The trail is accessible from two different locations: San Pedro Vista and Bear Canyon Picnic Area.

The Hike: Nevada and I reached the trail head at 10 am. We parked at the Bear Canyon Picnic area because the main parking area was full. The first part of the trail follows Bear Canyon. Here the flora is Ponderosa pine, Limber pine, oaks, Manzanita and Velvet ash classic southern Arizona sky islands vegetation.  The trail ascends Bear Canyon for 2.5 miles before reaching Bear Saddle and the junction of the Guthrie Mountain Trail. Here I ate lunch with two older gentlemen and their very well behaved dogs. These guys were very friendly and we talked about various places to explore in southern Arizona.  After lunch Nevada and I hiked over the ridge toward the junctions of  Maverick Spring and Short cut trails. Along this section the views toward the San Pedro valley were extraordinary. 0.8 miles from Bear Saddle I noticed Nevada was getting tired so I decided to turn around. On the way back to the trail head we stopped many times for water and rest. It is frighting how dry the vegetation is in the Catalina Mountains. Hopefully these mountains do not burn this summer.  Near General Hitchcock Campground I watched a Coatimundi for a couple of minutes in the forest. This was definitely a treat because previously I only saw a flash of the mammal as it crossed the trail.  Overall we hiked about 6.4 miles. (Information Hiking Arizona's Cactus Country by Erik Molvar).

     Looking toward San Pedro Valley

          Blooming Hedgehog Cactus

                         Bear Canyon
             Nevada near General Hitchcock Campground

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