Got a call from Mark just as they were leaving Gilbert Ray to go hiking in Sabino Canyon. Great. That would give me 45 minutes to get ready and then the 15 minute drive to Sabino.
Brushed the teeth. Put on hiking attire. Laced up the hiking shoes. Loaded the pack with water and a snack and headed to Sabino. I arrived at the park just a few minutes before they did. Mark and Bobbie were joined by Susan and Maikel (also parked at Gilbert Ray). Known Mark and Bobbie for many years (Mark's blog. Bobbie's blog). Over the years I have tracked the travels of Susan and Maikel -- when they aren't working. They are not recording their current travels.
Chose Hutch's Pools as the destination. Taking the tram to the trailhead, we headed up the switch backs and noted the first poppies we had seen this spring.
Looking back, there are views of saguaros clinging to the slopes in all directions.
This was the first water crossing. Stepping rock to rock the others posed for a photo before I crossed. Geez. They didn't even wait for me. What if I had fallen in. :-)
The leader of the hike changed from time to time and the sweeper (also know as mountain lion bait) changed from time to time.
On part of the trail, Maikel and I were hiking together and talking about our common Boulder (Colorado) experiences. Turns out more common than we had thought. We both had worked at StorageTek (no longer exists). Maikel was in manufacturing. I was on the dark side with marketing and sales.
The working of the brain is a marvel. Although looking ahead of me and focused on the center of the field of vision, the brain (probably the animal part) that is on the lookout for anything unusual in the peripheral vision. That is when I noticed what certainly was an unusual leaf shape. Didn't take but a second to realize it was the underside of a turtle. I didn't take a photo at the time I found out. (The photos taken later.) I found the carapace between two rocks. More than likely it became upended and died trying to right itself. The carapace was not completely empty, but nature had done a good job at recycling most of the body.
Then we came to the second water crossing. The inner ear balance/focus problem kept me from even attempting the crossing of that log. I was already having problems on the trail staggering from time to time. (And it wasn't Crown Royal. Too early in the day.)
After Maikel, Mark and Bobbie (behind Mark), Susan was the last to cross and mid-log she demonstrated the movements of the hula. Didn't know she could do that. Not into hula dancing, but I would have a hard time doing it on flat land -- let alone on a log.
As they headed up to Hutch's Pools, I sat down to eat my snack lunch of an apple and Lloyd's gorp**. Soon I was wandering along the water barrier that kept me from joining the others. Was wondering if there was a spot in the water that might have been shoe top height. Took a while, but with some rocks and a few steps in the water I could have made it. The hiking shoes aren't water proof and wearing the usual wool socks, it could certainly have been done and I could have continued hiking. I've done it before.
That was about the time the only hiker on the trail came across the log. He stopped to rest and he and I chatted for a few minutes before he headed down the trail. Back to the trail head, the five of us passed him as he was resting at a high point enjoying the view.
Soon after the hiker left, the rest of the group was returning from the pools and were preparing to cross the log.
I didn't allow them to rest too long as I started to hike down the trail. Didn't tell you that this is one fit group. Jeesh. And I am the oldest of the group by almost a decade.
Walking the trail, the peripheral vision of Maikel or Susan spotted the grinding/pounding stone just off the path which attests to the one time long ago residents of the canyon. Two metate depressions are to the left some what obscured by the branches of a bush. The pounding holes are to the right. Susan is demonstrating the technique. Might work a whole lot better with two hands. :-)
This is one of those trails with several changes in elevation. At times it seemed like it was uphill in both directions. At one point, the tram is visible below in the turnaround. From there it is all down hill. No more up hills. Finally.
After that 7.7 mile hike, Maikel wasn't wore out from the hike so he ran back to the visitor's center. We arrived only a minute or two before he did. Oh. To be young again. Although I was never a runner, long hikes were easier when this body was younger. Those were the days I could also do 14 mile hikes without a problem. (Paragraph edited next day to correct the impression it was a 14 mile hike.)
Good hike. Great scenery. Fantastic fellow hikers. It was an outstanding day.
**Lloyd's gorp.... Contents changes from time to time. That day the gorp had unsweetened cranberries, unsweetened dried cherries, pistachios, macadamia nuts and coconut flakes.