Early bloomers

The yuccas are just blooming and one cactus is about to bloom

The sky has been so beautiful

Looking back on Antelope Mountain, which I passed yesterday, and the Santa Catalinas (with snow) in the background

Gotta go find some water

Junco

Cholla City

Since I dropped into the low desert it’s all about cacti, particularly chollas, and wildflower.

This shot shows the Catalina Mountains in the distance – I came over them three days ago

Right now I’m sitting among cacti

The chainfruit cholla is the king here

The plant kind of glows in the right light

It drops little baby chollas everywhere and my inflatable sleeping pad is at great risk!!

This is a superbloom year based on the wet winter and in some areas the desert floor is carpeted

A few more of the day yesterday

There’s no shade except near a large cholla

This place is incredible!!

Trail magic:

Above you can see what saguaro roots look like

Gotta push on

Junco

Oracle

Left the mighty Santa Catalina Mountains behind

Hiked down the oracle ridge trail into the small town of oracle where I met a hotel owner and trail angel named Marney

On the way down the ridge I was reunited with Maureen and Kim who were just starting a southbound section and brought me a hot lunch – talk about trail angels!!

Wanted to share with you some images of cactus skeletons

And some rock formations in the Wilderness of Rocks in the Catalinas

And a few more lucky finds

All for now

I’m entering a low desert area – heading for the town of Kearny

Enjoy the day!!

Junco

Tucson

Rolled into Tucson Tuesday after and was rescued by my daughter Becca – stayed with her until Thursday morning – resting and resupplying

Coming into Tucson was gently rolling grasslands

Yesterday I began a big climb up into the Santa Catalina Mountains.

I thought the rubber tire restriction was odd

As I climbed I saw many indicators of spring

See the moon setting?

If not, follow the charred snag

The sky was fabulous

Some great flowers

And cacti

Some odd wood shapes

Here’s where I am now overlooking Tucson

Quite the day!!

Junco

Gear

Resupplying in Tucson today and it occurred to me that I hadn’t mentioned two pieces of gear that I’ve been using that are new on this AZT trip.

One is a small solar panel that sits on top of my backpack and charges a battery that keeps my cell phone and headlamp charged. Has worked great so far in keeping them running

The other is my new tent that weighs only one pound, and is supported by my trekking poles.

Trying to keep up on the latest trends,

Junco

Leaving the Rincon Mountains

Climbed up and over the 8000+ feet Rincons.

Up top it looked just like Flagstaff with horny toads and tall ponderosa pines and patchy snow

Then coming down, spring returned

Caught a nice sunset

The grasslands were beautiful

So many flowers

Heading to Tucson and a day of rest

Junco

Guy Loomis, Saguaros, and the CCC

On my hike yesterday I met a retired fellow named Guy Loomis. He was riding a mountain bike on a technical section of single track. He offered me some water and I saw many 5 gallon water jugs in the back of his truck as well as all kinds of gold panning gear.

He has been gold panning for 12 years and has collected an ounce and a half of gold flakes. Valued at over $1000.

He told me how to join a local gold panning club so that I can start looking for gold near my house. Oh, yeah!!!

Also saw some gorgeous saguaros

Spent much of my day admiring the trail construction work of the civilian conservation corps from the 1930’s.

These guys did some amazing stone work that has held up for nearly 100 years.

A manzanita in bloom and a few others

Climbing today,

Junco

100

Past this milestone yesterday morning – 700 to go!!

Now I’m sitting down in the very hot, very dry desert enjoying a snack I picked up on a detour to Colossal Cave State Park. My daughter had left a food drop there. Yay Becca!!

A few flowers

As I move north into saguaro NP,

I saw my first saguaro yesterday in Cienega Creek sanctuary

Crossed under interstate 10 south of Tucson

There’s an equestrian bypass ( unless you have a really short horse)

Cheers!!

Winter high, spring low

Here’s where I sit as I write this – lots of sharp stuff

Straight up desert.

As I descended fro 6-7000 feet to 3000 feet, it became spring

Many cacti, too, like this fishhook barrel

And others

My favorites

Now I’m headed toward the Rincon Mountains and some big climbing

Best Life Ever,

Junco

Pay Dirt and Moths

Leaving the Santa Rita mountains behind

Met a very cool fellow named Ron Parry yesterday. He’s an academic guy who studies moths in SW New Mexico. He’s identified 500 species in his area and hopes to live to get 1000.

Also learned a lot about the Santa Rita Mining and Water Company that searched for gold in the Santa Rita Mountains in the early 1900. They used a technique called hydraulic mining (which required lots of water). They went to great extent to move water to dry canyons to blast the soil and separate the gold. Alas, not much gold was found..

There are still lots of posted mining claims along the trail.

A few more shots from yesterday

Heading north