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From Tuesday the 20th to Sunday the 26th of March a friend and I did a 6 day/5 night hike in the Santa Catalina Mountain northeast of Tucson AZ. We went in at Bear Canyon Road, off East Tanque Verde road and found we had to get a free parking permit to leave the van at the trailhead after reading a sign saying so there. We had to call a number than go back down to the city and a east side library to get the permit emailed to us and pring it off twice. One copy for the van window and the other in our pocket.
We got back to the trailhead about 1 pm and began the first days hike to Seven Falls over about 4 miles. It was already quite hot in the 80s and the hike in was nice. We stopped at one of my favorite places along the way to rest about halfway.
(Tuesday) My friend Paul Harrison at the Trailhead. The southern edge of the Catalina Mountains is behind him.
Selfportrait of me at the same place.
A huge Shist,granite and quartz boulder and a waterfall along the way is where we stopped to rest. I have camped near this boulder many times in the last 30 years. Note Paul on the left side sitting down. Our packs are on the other side in the shade.
Closer view of the waterfall beneath the rock boulder. Our packs in the shade above look like two rabbits.
Looking back down Bear Canyon as Paul follows behind me.Tucson is in the flats near the horizon.
Seven Falls from the trail. There are seven pools and falls. I have also camped beneath the green tree at the bottom left many times over the years. In the upper right cliff is a un-named spire of rock. I have also climbed the slope up and over the saddle by the spire.
Looking down Bear canyon from near the bottom of Seven falls. Thats Paul on the granite right center.
Looking down from the third pool and falls.
A wedged boulder in the fourth falls. Its shallow now in the pool but after seasonal floods the pool can get to 10 feet deep.
Sunset looking south down Bear canyon. We camped at the base of Seven Falls.
(Wednesday) Early morning light on the cliffs above Seven Falls.
Close-up on the wedged boulder at falls four. Nice cold swim this morning washes off yesterdays canyon dust,
Heading up middle Bear Canyon towards Thimble Peak, its saddle and Sycamore Basin. The pointed rock in the center of Bear Creek is 4 storys tall. The tree's are cottonwoods and sycamores. And some Gamble Oak.
Paul and I along the middle Bear Canyon Trail.
A pool and fall down below invited us to come stay awhile.
A bit closer.
Paul and the pool. We both took a another cold but refreshing dip in the water.
Looking back down Bear. Seven falls is below the cliff next to the tree.
Frog holds his breath while he keeps an eye on me. His was under the water 15 minutes before swimming back and popping out again. He probably thought I would never leave!
Paul and a Yucca 6+ feet across, the purplish cacti on the far right is a Chain Cholla.
Looking back from Thimble Saddle. Thimble Peak is the highest point on right upper.
A few days before we left for our hike it rained a couple days. The new rain makes the spring desert come alive. This Century Plant is starting to send up it stem. In a few nights of blooming it will grow tall and produce its flowers and seeds. By next fall this Agave will be dead. They can take up to 20 years to grow before the stem shoots up after a certain rainfall.
Looking west into Sabino Basin and towards the western flanks of the Catalina Mountains.
A nice rounded Gamble Oak tree along the trail.
Paul holds a Agave (Century Palnt) stalk from last years. They can make very strong, lightweight hiking staff's.
Flowers and cacti along the trail. The last one is an Ocotillo in the foreground.
Holes in the granite where ancient IIndians ground the acorns and other plant seeds into meal. The largest on in back is about 12 inches long by 8 inches wide, all are about 4 inches deep and also hold the rain still from a few days before.
Our camp beneath another large granite boulder near Hutches Pool. The stream was 30 feet away in front of us, the rock wall acted like a echo device. Laying down on the tarp the sound was like there should have been a waterfall over our heads.
Thursday morning the sun rose at 7:30 warming our camp.
Today we hiked towards Romero Pass and our next camp in a Oak forest before it. Hutches Pool is in the Lemmon Creek below us. I will show it after we return this way in a couple days.
At about 5000 feet we find snow patches along the trail and on the shady areas of the mountains around us.
Looking east towards the Rincon's a 10,000' range still covered in last weeks snow.
Pual hiking up a near bare slope after we dropped our packs off at the Oak forest camp. This area had a bad forest fire a few years ago, killing most of the trees. Only Manzanita and youg oaks have begun to return.
Agave and other Cacti grow from a cracked Granite boulder.
Only view I got from Romero Pass is Paul taking a siesta.
Back at the Oak forest camp. Nice and cool in the afternoon shade!
Looking east the Rincon's snow has all but melted away by sunset.
Getting the fire up at sunset, once the sun goes down its fairly cold again. Days were in the 80s nights down to freezing, cold see our breath in the mornings.
Better than watching TV!
Two burnt out Oak tree stumps along the trail down Friday morning.
Another burnt tree and the hieghts of the Catalina's.
An interesting couple along the trail we met. Spanish Dagger and minature Sunflower.
The Oak forest covered lost of the upper canyon. Was nice to walk in its shade.
Dry side wash un-named coming down to Lemmon canyon.
The gamble Oak forest and looking back towards Romero Pass in center.
A boy Scout troop coming up the trail.
More wildflowers along the trail. A bee pollenates a Thistle
Back to Hutches Pool.
Hutches Pool, a few inches deep on this lower end and 20-30 feet on the other.
Water falls at the upper end of Hutches Pool.
Reflected tree shadow on a round boulder make a circle.
Friday afternoon we took a two hour hike up Lemmon Creek and found many waterfalls and big pools of water.
More cacti from the rock
Back at Hutches Pool Falls at sunset.
Another nice capfire at Huthes Pool the second time. White dot is my packs reflective tape in the camera flash.
Saturday morning's first light on Saguaro's and a Ocotillo above camp.
Early morning looking down Hutches Pool
We did another few hour hike up Lemmon Creek before breaking camp.
Water bubble patterns
Water fall rock slide
Well used, but now overground campsite
Two days later at the grinding holes.
Broken rock slab came from opposite side in middle Sabino Creek canyon Saturday.
Flash photo from end of long old mine shaft.
Chain Cholla cactus on day 6 Sunday hiking out.
I will add more pictures later for the last days hike out. And have some videos as soon as I load them to my youtube site.