Dayhike to Blacketts Ridge Saturday

3:53 p.m. on January 15, 2012 (EST)
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On staurday I did a 6 miles roundtrip day hike to Blacketts Ridge in the Catalina Mountains here near Tucson.


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View of the Rincons from 1/4 the way up the Blackets Ridge trail


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Cathedral Rocks on the horizon.


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A couple Barrel Cacti and a Century Plant with a Palo Verde bush.


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View back to Tucson, downtowns high rise buildings are above the two Saguaro cacti and just below the pyramid peak.


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Saguaros and Prickley Pear with the Santa Rita mountains 70 miles away to the south.


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Thimble Peak on right and Sabino Canyon below with the upper peaks of Mt Lemmon beyond.
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Inner ribs of an old dead Saguaro with some skin still clinging.


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Base of a dead Century Plant


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And its flowering top. Each of the seed pod ends are a bright gold when the plant blooms usually during the fall monsoons.


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Another Century base after the stalk has rotted and fallen away leaving the old leaves drying in the air.


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Looking across at the hieght I got to last Sunday on the far ridge of eastern Bear canyon. I was then in the sunlit saddle below the highest dark ridge.


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At the end of the broken ridge of Blacketts with Thimble Peak above left.


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From 4409 feet looking back on Tucson below.


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Sabino Canyon about 2000 feet below snakes its way up. The shuttle raod and creek seen there.


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They actually placed a sign to tell you where the trail ends. There is a small short distance to hike beyond to a drop off to the continuation of the ridge.


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Other hikers at Blacketts Ridge point


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The trail meandering back down the high ridge


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An Agave and a Yucca, the foreground Agave is the also so called century Plant and someday will produce the tall stalk with flowers on end. The Yucca seen above left is a Saw Yucca which also will eventually sprout a tall stem with different flowers.


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Looking back from the trailhead to Blacketts Ridge in the center of the mountain there.


















 

8:59 p.m. on January 15, 2012 (EST)
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NICE!!!!

12:44 p.m. on January 21, 2012 (EST)
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Super shots Gary.

Nice info on the plants, they sorta all look the same to me. :)

That old dead Saguaro is a little creepy, kinda looks like bones and dried skin.  I bet those ribs are hard as bone.  Maybe? 

Agave = Tequila?

Yucca  = Medicine?  Is that the one that helps with cuts and burns?  I can never remember all their uses, but I don't get to the desert very often.  I guess I heed to head south more often.  Maybe someday.

Wolfman

12:54 p.m. on January 21, 2012 (EST)
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You are thinking of Aloe Vera its simular but different.


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There are about 200 species of Agave's.

12:10 p.m. on January 22, 2012 (EST)
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"There are about 200 species of Agave's."

No wonder I don't remember them correctly!  I am trying to learn what OK to eat / use and what is not here in the PNW.  That not as simple as it sounds, I am learning that plant identification is not as easy as some would think.  :)  But hey it's fun. 

Enjoy the desert before you head back north.

Wolfman

2:59 p.m. on January 22, 2012 (EST)
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Any prickly pear cactus up there? It seems to be one of the most common varieties of cacti. It does'nt get as large as down here in the Sonoran Desert but I have seen it in the Ozarks in Arkansas, in Wyoming and Utah.


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Prickly pear fruit is very good to eat and the new pads in the spring are also good. I have prepared and eaten both parts.

The fruit needs to be singed to remove the tiny hair needles, then peeled and I usually blend the fruit with crushed ice, lemon juice concentrate and a banana to make my own Slurpies. Some people use the juice to make cactus jelly. It tastes like something between a Strawberry and a Kiwi fruit.

The pad in the spring when they are first growing have soft needles and basically only need to be sliced into bite size pieces and cooked like any other soft vegetable. I mix them into soups or coat them in cornmeal and fry them in a shallow oil in a fry pan. Once the pads have matured on the plant in the summer they are usually fairly tough but can be peeled to remove the outer skin then roasted or served the same way as above. I think they taste better when are new pads than after they mature. Also mature pads have to have the hardened needles burnt off first.

 


 

8:32 a.m. on January 23, 2012 (EST)
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456 forum posts

I've seen Prickly pear in eastern Washington and in Colorado, and in Mexico too, but never looked for it in the spring.  The plants I remember from Eastern Washington were not that big.  But, I have seen enough survival shows to know that it is one useful plant!  :)  

Wolfman

December 26, 2014
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