Saturday, February 21, 2015

Arizona National Scenic Trail ~ Part 11 ~ Oracle, Arizona to Saguaro National Park

The owners of the Chalet Village Motel graciously offered to drive us to where we left off near Oracle State Park.

Ascending up Oracle Ridge, our next rest stop was to be Summerhaven high above Tucson at the end of the road system.

We procured enough food to hike all the way to Colossal Cave Mountain Park near Vail, AZ.

Indeed, we did make it in for a wonderful breakfast in Summerhaven and bought a few additional supplies from the local store who caters to tourists and recreationists.

In these high and treed Sky Islands, we were reminded that autumn had just begun.

Water flowed and seeped everywhere.  The greater region around Mt. Lemmon with its rock outcroppings and infinite varieties of boulders wasn't anything short of being magical. 

This Santa Catalina Natural Area was appropriately named the Wilderness of Rocks.

We were now High above Tucson whose residents come up to Mt. Lemmon in the winter time to ski.

Sabino Canyon offered us our next steps of wonderment. 

I don't believe the temperatures rose above the high 70's anymore for the rest of the trip. The hiking weather was near perfect.

We did however use the abundance of water to cool off and relieve the body from any built up strain or charges. It was often good to clean the feet from all the desert dust that could build up in one's running shoes and socks.  I can see why some people wear gators in the desert.

Interestingly, this area also housed an old World War 2 Japanese Internment Camp.

Crossing the Mount Lemmon Highway, where one can descend into Tucson to resupply, one soon leaves this impressive mountain range in moving forward towards the undulating hills of Redington Pass.

The Rincon Mountains and the Home of Saguaro National Park loomed ominously in the distance as thunderstorms rolled through the area.  Supposedly, a good amount of rain fell in the region, but only landed us some sprinkles.

We walked with great stride through the dark to reach the Italian Spring Trailhead where we camped for the night just outside of Saguaro National Park. Tomorrow we had a 4000 foot climb up to the top of the mountain at Manning Camp.

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