Sunday, August 3, 2014

Blacketts Ridge August 2, 2014

               Gila monster in the bush

Last Saturday I awoke to cloudy skies and cooler temperatures.  I also noticed a forecast of a 40 percent chance of rain. I threw my raingear in the backpack and drove up to Sabino Canyon. Sabino Canyon is not a summer hiking area because it is low elevation and can be hot. I arrived at the parking lot at 9:15 am. My objective is to hike Blacketts which is a about a six mile out and back with an elevation gain of 1700 feet.

Trail Description: The first 0.8 mile is in the main trail heading toward Bear Canyon. This trail is very popular and easy to follow. Various trail exit this one including Esperero Canyon and Sabino Canyon. After crossing Sabino Creek look for the junction with the Phoneline Trail on your left This trail is about five miles long and goes to the upper part of Sabino Canyon. Make sure to watch your footing because this trail is very rocky. A half mile later is the junction for Blacketts Ridge. Watch your footing on this trail because there are many loose rocks. After a mile it appears the trail ends at a nice shade tree. Watch for a fainter trail that continues to a sign at the top of the ridge. Views at this spot are spectacular; however, this is not a spot I would want to be in a lighting storm. Lucky for me it did not rain until later on in the day.

On the hike I saw  number of really interesting reptiles. Ten minutes from the parking lot I saw a Gila monster on the right side of the trail. I watched him for ten minutes before moving on. This Gila Monster was very active and even pawed at the ground a few times.  On the Blacketts Ridge Trail I saw a Desert tortoise. Desert tortoises are rare throughout the Sonoran and Mojave deserts and hikers can go years without seeing one.

                        The coolest reptile I have seen since I moved to Arizona.

                       Desert tortoise

                         Another picture of the tortoise climbing a rock

       A multi-colored lizard

    The view toward Tucson. The cloudy day made for softer lighting.

       Looking toward Bear Canyon near the top of the ridge.

      Sabino Canyon at the left. Mount Lemmon is also to the up.

        An Ocotillo with leaves.

              The upper part of Blacketts Ridge

              Blooming Hedgehog Cactus