It only took seven (7) weeks but we finally made it to Sabino Canyon Recreation Area on the north side of Tucson. We chose a weekday to avoid the crowds and it worked out well for hiking. Our first time here and I chose the hardest trail - Blacketts Ridge :)
Warm and windy day in the Tucson area - so off to another section of the Arizona Trail! We started at the Loma Alta Trail head - this is on the southern edge of the Saguaro National Park just north of Vail, Arizona. Heather opted for a hike and I went off on my bike.
Mountain biking and trail hiking on a nice Saturday... we left from the Gabe Zimmerman Davidson Canyon trail head for the Arizona Trail. Heather went for a hike and I rode my mountain bike. I started north on the 3 Bridges to Pistol Hill section of the trail and knew I'd be in for a challenge. This section is considered Intermediate 3-C (hilly, lots of climbs, and technical challenges) by the local MTB club. I survived the first 2.25 miles and decided that if I was to stay intact (no injuries), I'd better turn around and try the trail section to the south. Heather hiked on this section of the trail and enjoyed herself - very scenic.
Travel to Tucson in the winter and we run into some fine folks from Dallas. Keri and Stuart from Dallas were visiting friends in Tucson and Phoenix - Keri reached out to us to see if we wanted to go ride bikes today. We coordinated a place to meet them and their friend Jere (she just moved to Tucson from Dallas in September) along The Loop. Jere led us out to Saguaro East National Park to ride the loop road through the park.
Today we decided to divide and conquer - Heather went for a trail hike on the Hohokam Trail and I rode the same trail to the McKenzie Ranch Trails to get in some off-road time on my Jones bike. A local had told me about this fairly new trail system but we got some additional insight to the trails from some folks from SOORTA (Self Organized Off Road Tandem Association) yesterday. So off we go...
Based on an overwhelming number of personal recommendations from friends - we made a visit to the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson. This was our first visit to the museum and we opted to go self-guided through the five display hangars and aircraft located outside on the grounds.
We were very fortunate that when we arrived after lunch that a Museum Docent, Tom Collins (yes - just like the drink), was starting a free walking tour of the main hangar buildings of the museum. Mr. Collins was a former military pilot and was very knowledgeable about all of the aircraft and shared some fascinating stories associated with each plane.
There are around 21 craft breweries in Tuscon and we visited a few more this past week. Some of our favorites have actually been some of the smaller ones - so size doesn't matter :) (Barrio Brewing, Green Feet and Copper Mine)
Sort of a cloudy day in the Tucson area today - so we headed south towards the border with Mexico to Patagonia, Arizona. Found that there are some really nice gravel (dirt) roads from Patagonia that take you into the surrounding mountains in the Coronado National Forest. Patagonia sits at 4,050 feet and is a small town of around 900 people - 18 miles north of the US - Mexico border. We opted for a simple loop of almost 30 miles that would give us a taste of the gravel-dirt roads of southern Arizona.
A cool and cloudy day in Arizona brought us to hike and bike a southern section of the Arizona Trail. Our starting point was the trail-head located just 15 miles south of Tucson on Highway 83 going towards the Santa Rita Mountains. From the parking area we had a short half mile hike/bike to the intersection with the Arizona Trail on what is termed a "gravel road" - a very interesting road!
We ventured out today to a section of the Pima County Trail System that we had not been to yet - there are over 131 miles of paved trail to explore in the Tucson area. We started from the Ted Walker Park Trailhead just off of I-10 in NW Tucson and headed up the Christina Taylor Green Trailway (a part of "The Loop") up to the Town of Oro Valley.