Category Archives: Friends

Adrenaline Night Run, June 2013

1306 Sunset at McDowell Mountain Park

Aravaipa Running‘s 26km Adrenaline Night Run race starts in the desert heat at sunset – for a minute I run with my friend Ryan but he speeds off and is soon out of sight… I feel good – hot, but good – and a few miles in I turn on my headlamp. Why hasn’t the runner in front of me turned on their headlamp? We hit the first aid station and I hear no-headlamp-runner ask for batteries – I feel bad, I have a spare headlamp and spare batteries with me – should have asked, arg… After the first aid station there is a nice section downhill fun – but the last section of the loop is a series of awesome-on-a-mountain-bike rollers that wear me out before the Start/Finish line aid station.

1306 Adrenaline Night Run Finishing Lap 1

Finishing the first of two laps at the Adrenaline Night Run 26km

I take a nice break at the Start/Finish aid station while the great volunteers fill up my reservoir with ice and water – again out into the desert – I see headlamps spaced along the course but for awhile I can not hear anyone and I am essentially alone and not feeling great – why exactly did I sign up for this, wasn’t there a half marathon distance I could have done, will I ever do one of these again… But somewhere before the 4-mile aid station I start to have fun again and by the time I hit the last aid station I realize that if I keep running I can easily finish under 4 hours – longer on the course than I had guessed/hoped but it motivates me to keep a good pace all the way to the finish line where I am greeted by cheers from my friends!

1306 Saguaro and Stars

Night sky – taking a break after finishing before driving back to Tucson.

It takes about two days before I start thinking about what to sign up for next…

1306 Adrenaline Night Run

Samaniego Peak – June 2013

1306 Samaniego Peak and RidgeSamaniego Peak from the Sutherland Trail.

A few weeks ago Lance and I went down the Canada del Oro (often called the ‘CDO’) and had plenty of time to gaze at a location that neither of us had ever visited – Samaniego Ridge – it was too much to resist… Our hike down the CDO was amazing – but definitely hot, so rather than do the entire Samaniego Ridge Trail we decided on an out-and-back hike to Samaniego Peak from the top of the mountain.

Mount Lemmon Trail – Sutherland Trail – Samaniego Ridge Trail – CDO Shortcut Trail – Samaniego Ridge Trail – The first part of our trip was familiar from our trip down the CDO and from the Shovel Springs Loop (Traci on this loop in May). From there the Samaniego Ridge Trail was easy to follow – winding in and out of older trees and areas where the Aspen Fire burned a decade ago – with just a little bit of wandering to locate Walnut Spring.

1306 Walnut SpringWalnut Spring – a small amount of water was flowing in the drainage.

Walnut Spring was an unexpected treat – green grass growing around a small but flowing drainage – trees shaded the area and it was impossible to resist taking a break.

From Walnut Spring Lance and I began to work our way towards the peak – as we went the foliage became more dense – and sharper – and we eventually abandoned elegance and hopefulness for (literally) crawling under and thru some of the thicker sections.

1306 Below Samaniego PeakLance emerging from the brush onto a boulder – I am completely sure we did not take the best path up, I am also fairly sure that there is no best way up…

Occasionally it appeared that the boulders might offer a clear path to the top – but for the most part the effort of clambering on top of them only offered a great view of the increasingly daunting bushwhack! Eventually the peak…

1306 Lance on Samaiego PeakLance enjoying the view and checking out the rather impressive vertical drop on the other side of this block!

Samaniego Peak is a joy – great views – and today a swarm of Ladybugs! The hike to the peak took us longer than expected so we did not linger too long before bushwhacking down and heading (uphill!!!) back to the trailhead.

Trail Descriptions we used:

Samaniego Peak is named for Mariano Samaniego – this document hosted by the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation is an interesting summary of information about Mariano Samaniego.

1306 Samaniego Peak

A Night Hike to Point 4981 – May 2013

1305 Tucson Lights from Point 4981 above Hairpin TurnPoint 4981 is a slightly obscure high point in the Santa Catalina Mountains located above Hairpin Turn (near the start of the General Hitchcock Highway). I doubt I would have ever sought out Point 4981 but in 2012 while looking for better ways up to Gibbon Mountain from the Prison Camp/Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site I came across an old trail/route that leads up to a ridge with good views of Tucson and then takes a beautiful line out to Point 4981. This is a subtle pleasure I suppose – not a high peak, not particularly remote, no name or history that I know of – but certainly worth a visit if you love the backcountry of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

1305 Coral Snake

I caught a snake just off the trail in my headlamp – with somewhat familiar colors I thought Kingsnake – pointed and moved on –  but thankfully one of our friends took a second look and quickly identified this as a Coral Snake! This was a first for me – absolutely beautiful.

Directions/Info/Map/GPX for Point 4981 from

2013 May Point 4981 Night Hike flickr set