Saturday, December 4, 2010

Blackett's Ridge Trail

...another weekend to stay away from the shopping centers...a perfect December Saturday in Tucson--sunny and in the 70's after a frosty morning, ideal for a  hike:
...a ten-minute-drive from where we live; starting in Sabino Canyon and ending up on a 'peninsula in the sky,' on the ridge between Sabino and Bear Canyons, just high enough to be above the 'saguaro zone'...

Just beginning to climb from the canyon up onto the ridge...
...the sycamores and cottonwoods down along the creek 
are beginning their autumnal show;
still amazes me how the fall color
(what little of it there is on the desert floor)
peaks in December here:

...the deer are so docile here--never nonplused by the hikers--
no hunting allowed...
human, that is--
there is a reasonably healthy
mountain lion population in the Santa Catalinas...

...from about halfway up, looking off to the SW
 toward distinctive Baboquivari peak, the 'navel of creation,'
according to local native Tohono O'odham legend...

...almost at the top--a framed view of Thimble Peak,
one of the 'landmark' mountains behind Tucson:

(were he alive today,
would Ansel Adams carry an iPhone for photography?)

...the canyon below is one of the best weekend running-routes... can just make out the ribbon of riparian color below, following the watercourse...
(I just had to include the photo of my friend: 'man vs. mountains'--
to try to show the scale and steepness of the landscape)

...looking south, over Bear Canyon and the far East side of Tucson, toward the Rincon mountains, and in the distance, the Santa Rita mountains...

 ...the end of the trail;
time for lunch among the sunning chipmunks...
then back down again...

Truly, one of the best hikes around Tucson:
stupendous views all around,
city and wilderness panoramas,
without having to plan an entire day to do it--
accessible, but still a good, steep, workout,
and the notion of hiking from one ecosystem up into another one is fun...
(The trail is marked in red below...)
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