Back in November I did an overnight in the Catalinas. I decided to go up Pima Canyon, then to Window Rock and finally down Esperero Trail to Sabino Canyon. It was about 14 miles and I could have done it in one day but wanted to test out some cold weather sleeping solutions and used this as an opportunity to do that.
Pima Canyon was a beateful hike that runs through some cotton woods and past a couple of dams. The trail is fairly easy to follow up to the second dam and there were plenty of people, even for a thursday morning. After the dam the grass started to overtake the trail and the cairns started to become necessary. I only ran into one person about five miles up, and then that was it until I got back to my truck the next day. Towards the top of Pima Canyon is were I stopped to fill up on water from the spring; after the spring is where it started to get a bit dicy. The trail was nonexistent in parts and stayed close to a 300+ cliff edge. Navigation at this point was bush waking and following the GPS. Once you get close to Mount Kimball the trail starts to show back up.
On the way up I managed to get a few shots of the sun coming over the ridge.
Around Mount Kimball there are plenty of social trails that go out to various views or climbing spots to be careful to stay on the main one. When I arrived at the top the sun was at the perfect height to get some amazing shots. Then I realized that I need to get to a camping spot quickly before my sunlight ran out.
After setting eating some food and hot tea I settled into my bivvy for the night. I had my SOL bivvy with a sleeping bag and Big Agnes pad in it and stayed pretty warm all night. In the morning when I started on the trail again I ran into this only a few hundred yards from where I was camping. Looks like bear scat to me and I can’t find anywhere more recent than 2010 for bear sighting up there.
I made my way along the ridge lines to Window Rock where the winds were billowing through making it ridiculously cold. I am pretty sure it was somewhere shortly after the window that I brushed up against another rarity in Tucson, Poison Ivy. Just a little bit, but enough to cause some blisters.
The views coming down Esperero were breathtaking and you wander into some unexpected creeks and waterfalls. I didn’t see another person until I came off the trail and got to my truck. Silence is golden and I am so thankful that there are still places you can go enjoy nature to this extent, and its so close to a metro area. However people still left their mark as there was some trash that was discarded along the trail but it was easy enough to pick it up and pack out.
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity” ― John Muir