Sabino Canyon in the Catalina Mountain near Tucson AZ

3:35 p.m. on November 16, 2010 (EST)
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Last week on Saturday the 7th(?) I rode down to Tucson with a couple friends.

On Tuesday I went up Sabino Canyon an a hike to be a four day overnighter. I left the entrance road at about 7 am.


Mile Zero on the Sabino Canyon Raod, a 2.8 mile entrance road leading into the Sabino Wilderness Area. The paved section is popular with walkers, cyclists and sightseers.


After a short distance I see some of the first Saguaro and the upper reaches of the Catalina's.


More Saguaro's now dominate the landscape with the early morning sun on the granite cliffs above.


The high dry peaks of the Catalina's come into view.


Thimble Peak (center) along the horizon line separates Sabino Canyon from Bear Canyon, where I will come out the next day.


A not so young Saguaro grows out of the Shist and Granite rock. I remember seeing the Saguaro before about 25 years ago. Here it is about 4 feet tall.


One of the seven low bridges that span Sabino Creek. Built low to allow annual Monsoon run-off to pour over them instead of into them. Before the 1980s the bridges were built over the creek bed, but yearly floods showed they could be washed out. Seen now a few weeks after the last rains of the year, barely a trickle of water now flows.


Comical signs like this one warn of the sharp turns at the bridges to save a life or two.


An old Sycamore tree shades the dried up creekbed scattered with pools of water from the recent Monsoon back in late October.

A deeper pool in the creekbed below Thimble Peak.

Waterhole known as The Crack where seasonal hikers can take a dip in a 15 foot deep hole. Possiblely along a old fault line in Sabino Creek Canyon.


Rock formation called Snoopy laying on his doghouse on the lower skyline above middle Sabino Canyon.


Rocks and cliffs above middle Sabino Basin. A forest fire went thru the area in the fall of 2003 buring off many pine trees and cactus in its wake. The area has now been replaced with mostly grasses. It will take many decades before the forests and cacti return.


Looking back the way I came with Thimble Peak on the left and middle Sabino Basin below.


Box Canyon comes down from Mt Lemmon in the Catalina Mountains.


Yucca plants growing as they wait for the right seasonal rains to make them bloom. Yucca's, unlike the Agave continue to grow year after year after blooming. The Century Plant which looks simular grows about 20 years, blooms then dies. I will show one later.


A Cholla Cactus laden with fruit. The pulp of these fruit is something between a lemon and a apple with many seeds like a Papaya. Another veriety of Cholla called the Teddybear Cholla is found at lower elevations and has thousands more needles protecting the limbs of the cactus. This one was at about 4200 feet.


My destination on the hike is called Hutches Pool at about 4500 feet in upper Sabino Canyon. It starts out shallow in the forground and becomes about 20 feet deep at the far upper end. Its natural tank and was formed thousands of years ago. The upper end has a small 3 foot waterfall with 3 large granite boulders. In spring,summer and fall when the air temps are highest its an excellent place to swim and relax.Its a 8 mile hike from the main road, u Sabino Canyon road and the trail I took.


The first upper picture above was taken at near sunset on Tuseday. This shot is at about 9 am in the morning Wednesday after I camped the night. The creek ontinues for about another 10 miles upstream where it starts as a spring in the upper Catalina's.


With the pour-off at lower Hutches Poolfrom above looking downstream. Below is another view.



The three granite rocks and the short 3 foot falls.


My camp at Hutches Pool. Firewood was very scarce, tho not surprising this late in the season. I fouund some kindling of Yucca leaves and tigs and had three large Mesquite logs for wood. But it burnt very quicly in a few hours after sunset.


The final rays of light shine on the upper reaches of Sabino Canyon.


My camp at last light.

Saguaro's silouetted against the late sky.

Later I will show the next days hike out. I ended up only staying one night as my old down bag was too cold by midnight. I decided to hike out if I could not find a place with more wood for a longer fire. I hiked up to Bear Canyon via Thimble Peak Pass the next day.

5:58 p.m. on November 16, 2010 (EST)
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Looks like you had a good trip, even though it got cut short because of your bag. Someday I hope to be able to do some backpacking out West, never done any of the more arid/desert regions.

6:53 p.m. on November 16, 2010 (EST)
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I lived in the Tucson area from 1983 to 1992 during the winters, after spending my summers in Jackson Hole, WY. I also spent many winters at the Grand Canyon between 1983 and 2003, staying hiking in the park from Late October to early April. It was nice getting back to Tucson and the mountains there. I am hoping to get a job at the local hostel and work from December to May.

8:44 p.m. on November 16, 2010 (EST)
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Outstanding photo essay Gary! Thank you for sharing the serene beauty of Sabino Canyon.

1:23 p.m. on November 19, 2010 (EST)
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Gary, thanks for sharing your photos of Sabino Canyon which is a place I have never been. Maybe I might have to go south after awhile to escape the snowy winter. Did so much enjoyed your photos!

May 20, 2018
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