First Days of Fall, October 2013

The first days of Fall are lovely in Tucson, the sun seems just as bright as it was last month, but the experience of standing under it has changed – the piercing rays of summer are gone, replaced by something still lovely-bright but more gentle. We don’t have the picture postcard Fall color change here, but the beautiful blue skies of Fall are amazing…

1310 View from Mount Kimball
An amazing view from Mount Kimball – I especially love this view of Table Mountain (far left)!

I managed to ascend the notoriously steep Finger Rock Trail, turn onto the Pima Canyon Trail and take the side trail up to Mount Kimball during mid-day hours without any concern for the heat/temperature! What a contrast to the summer months when even early am/late pm hikes/runs on the lower/front range Santa Catalina trails are brutally hot.

But perhaps Fall had not quite arrived – the joy of cooler temps did not last the entire hike – the last two miles down had the summer ‘baking in the hot sun’ feeling that anyone from Tucson should be able to instantly call to mind…

1310 Molino Basin to Agua Caliente Hill Trailhead
Looking toward Agua Caliente Hill after coming over the high point on the Bellota Trail.

Out of the Santa Catalina Mountains on the Bellota Trail – views into two stunning canyons along the Milagrosa Trail – across Agua Caliente Canyon and up new-to-me trails to the Agua Caliente Hill Trail and down Agua Caliente Hill Trail with Alison! Between unfamiliar trail junctions and new stretches of trail I didn’t even think about the temperature during this run. There are many more ‘serious’ point-to-point hikes out of the Santa Catalina Mountains (esp. into the Rincon Mountains), but at just over 11 miles (about 14 if you have time time go to the top of Agua Caliente Hill) this is a fantastic journey that is a bit less committing.

1310 Richard on the East Fork Trail
Richard running the East Fork trail – great views, smoother trails and downhill from east to west this is an absolute blast to run!

We met Richard at Prison Camp, provided a little extra water (he ran up via Bear Canyon) and then joined him for on his run down to the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center via the Molino Basin, Sycamore Reservoir, East Fork, Sabino Canyon and Phoneline Trails. This was a repeat of an adventure from February of this year (pictures) – we weren’t any faster this time – but we were smarter and finished the run in much better shape! Much of the landscape looked the same – although the area near Sycamore Reservoir seemed to have more green – and the temps were beautiful!

1311 Ryan finishing his run to the Basin
Ryan finishing his out and back run to Sabino Basin.

Richard and I ran in shorts and short sleeve shirts, never reaching for more until we finished – and sitting still and relaxing at the end the extra layer felt like more of a luxury than a necessity… But a few days later on a night run on the Phoneline Trail (with friends from the Summit Hut) the weather seemed changed. Sitting in the dark waiting for Ryan and Dave to return from Sabino Basin (most of us had stopped at the last junction down to the road) I added a long sleeve shirt, then a light wind jacket, then a thin beanie but still shivered and hugged myself for warmth in the chilly night air – maybe technically not the coldest night of the year, but the first night where my light layers were inadequate, I think it is time to change the gear in my pack, Fall is here…

1 thought on “First Days of Fall, October 2013

  1. Pingback: October and November 2013 Notes | consuming

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