Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pima Canyon Catalina Mountains October 4, 2014

                                         In the Foothills of the Caatalina Mountains

Two weeks after hiking this trail I finally have time to blog about it.

Location: Pima Canyon is accessible from the Catalina Foothills. Take Oracle Road passed Ina Road and turn right onto Magee Road. Follow this for 1.5 miles to the trail head.

Last year I hiked Pima Canyon with my friend Nathan and loved it. The trail was less popular and the canyon very impressive. I returned with the intention to hike to the top of the canyon where the Mt. Kimball trail branches off of Pima Canyon. I made good time in the lower part of the canyon where the trail was in decent shape and not very steep. In this section I saw many different colors of Desert morning glory. The Palo verde and Jojoba also grew like crazy after the September rains.Three miles in I reached a place where Pima Creek descended over two rocks. For most of the year this canyon is dry but in early October the water was definitely flowing. At the falls I met a semi-professional photographer who was taking photos of butterflies. He moved to Tucson from Chicago, Illinois, when he started to work for a camera lens company. After I left the water fall the trail became very overgrown. I had to use route finding skills to find sections of the trail. I also stopped trying to dodge Prickly pear and other thorny plants causing my legs to become riddled with small thorns. Around mile four part of the trail had been washed away by the recent rains.I continued another twenty minutes before I realized the high temperature would not be in the low 90s but the upper 90s.  I decided to turn around after I determined that I barely enough water to make the 5 miles back to the car. I rationed water extremely well but became a little disoriented near the bottom of the trail. The last mile to the car I hiked with no water something I do not want to do again in the desert. Total mileage: 10 miles.

After the hike I assessed mistakes made and decided on a number of changes. For future hikes I will take the same amount of water but will supplement it with Gatorade. I also need to bring more food such as trail mix to offset the loss of salt that I am loosing through sweat. Even experience hikers can become complacent and sometimes need a kick in the pants.

                  Desert morning glory

                      Lush vegetation in the canyon

                    More vegetation in the canyon

                  Butterfly enjoying water
Waterfall in canyon

                                     Yellow flowers

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