Category Archives: Life

Sad Signs – Pictures from the Santa Catalina Mountains During the Government Shutdown, October 2013

1310 Trails Open Campground Closed
 Joy and Sadness – an informative message at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

The shutdown of the Federal Government is, at least for me, (beyond encouraging people to think about improving how our government works and/or who we elect) pointless.

One victim of the shutdown is our Federal Lands – a shame since they are truly one of the best things about the USA – parks like Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon closed? Why? I was certainly deeply disappointed to have a vacation with good friends in the Grand Canyon destroyed – camping, dayhikes, R2R criss-crossing with friends, supporting R2R2R runs…

Thankfully Tucson is surrounded by quite a bit of National Forest, BLM, State and County land that is – unlike our National Parks which are ‘truly’  closed – still open for hiking/climbing/running/recreation!

The trails of the Santa Catalina Mountains (Mount Lemmon) remain open – trailheads, pullouts and the highway – open – but bathrooms, visitor centers, picnic areas and campgrounds are closed.

1310 Sabino Canyon Parking and Facilities Closed
Most of the trailheads at the base of the mountain are open, but the Sabino Canyon facilities (including bathrooms) and parking area are closed – if you can figure out where to park the area is still open to hiking (the Pima County Bear Canyon Trailhead is one option – beware the No Parking signs along Sabino Canyon Road near the parking lot entrance…)

1310 Molino Basin Bathrooms and some parking closed
The Molino Basin area is partly open – this is the only trailhead I saw where some of the parking spots were blocked – perhaps the parking spaces were blocked for reasons other than the shutdown? (note that the Prison Camp gate is closed limiting parking to the smaller parking areas near the highway – but that gate has been closed for months now).

1310 Cypress Picnic Area Closure
Sadly every Picnic Area and Campground that I saw was closed and either gated or blocked by caution tape and a sign. Note that the caution tape blocks access to the entire area (including parking) – not just to bathrooms/picnic tables…

1310 Windy Point Bathrooms Closed
The Windy Point Bathrooms – closed… Summerhaven has the only open public bathrooms on the Mountain that I am aware of – of course Summerhaven and Ski Valley businesses are still open as well.

1310 Mount Graham in the Distance from the San Pedro Vista
Taking a break and enjoying the view across the San Pedro River into the Galiuro and Pinaleno Mountains – vistas are open!

1310 Spencer Campground Closed
Campgrounds are closed – interesting that these signs have a slightly different tone than the white signs at the picnic area.

1310 Summit Parking Area Open and being used
The Summit Trailhead – alive with cars and hikers! The Bathrooms are closed but the trailhead and hiking is open!


An End To Summer, September 2013

Alison and I found the end of Summer on top of Blackett’s Ridge – sitting in the Tucson city lights we – for the first time in months – had to bundle up in our jackets, gloves and hats to stay and enjoy the view.

1309 Star and City light from the top of Blacketts Ridge

It seemed like a long summer this year – but don’t all Tucson summers seem to stretch on and on? This summer I made more time to venture into the higher reaches of the Santa Catalina Mountains – beautiful places…

1309 Flowers along the Red Ridge Trail
The lower miles of the Red Ridge Trail – where it makes its way from the East Fork of the Canada del Oro down to the Canada del Oro proper – were new to me. This section of trail obviously gets less use than the upper section of Red Ridge and on my first trip there were a few spots that seemed a bit obscure… On this particular trip I took the CDO Trail back to the Summit Parking area.

1309 South Fork of Edgar Canyon
For some time I have been curious about the lower stretches of the Knagge Trail – beyond the cabin ruins and old mine the obvious trail currently ends about 2 miles down – I thought with some time/gps/map surely I could find useful traces of this old path… I cross-crossed the supposed location multiple times as I headed down to the South Fork of Edgar Canyon but is seems time and nature have erased this particular trail.

1309 Clouds along Oracle Ridge
The best storms waited until later in the summer this year – it was a joy to hike the Red Ridge/Oracle Ridge loop again this year with Alison and Traci – Oracle Ridge was exploding with flowers/green and the clouds rolled over the ridge as we hiked – an amazing day!

1309 Ridge along the Brush Corral Trail
The Brush Corral Trail was new to me – the Brush Corral/Brush Corral Shortcut ‘loop’ was nice enough – but the part of the trail that I will be back to visit is below the junction of these trails – fire has burned across the ridges and the now faint trail heads down and out of the range, spectacular!

1309 Keebler Tree
The ‘Keebler Tree’ on the Crystal Springs trail – this area was lovely and fabulously overgrown, this trail always seems to take a bit more effort than I expect…

1308 AM Reflection Molino Basin headed to Box Camp
A view of the clouds and a reflection on the car – taking a break at Molino Basin on the way up to the Box Camp Trail – while climbing back up the Box Camp Trail from the East Fork/Box Camp junction I watched the clouds for hours – finally, at 7000′ I enjoyed my first storm of the summer…


8 for (nearly) 800

In 2012 I recorded most of my hikes/runs/rides on Garmin Connect. 2012 has been a great year for running and getting outside and at the end of the year I pulled data from Connect, did a little clean up, and found that in 2012 I recorded almost 800 miles on foot! For many runners/hikers that is not a remarkable number – but for me it is – so to celebrate I picked 8 of my favorite pictures from 2012!

April – Traditional Great Race Self Portrait

1204 Traditional Great Race Self Portrait

I have done more running this year than any other year of my life (maybe more than the past decade combined in fact)! I trained for and ran in the Fleet Feet Arizona Trail Race (8 miles), Aravaipa Running’s Mesquite Canyon (Half Marathon), Everyone Runs Catalina State Park Race (10 miles), Everyone Runs Reverse the Course Catalina State Park Race (10 miles), Aravaipa Running’s Cave Creek Thriller (30k) and Aravaipa Running’s McDowell Mountain Frenzy (25k), and  did plenty of other great runs – day and night, solo and with friends. A surprising number of the race pictures look, well, a lot like this picture…

May – Headed down to the beach

1205 Headed down to the beach

Alison headed down the beach at Blacklock Point – this was our last hiking trip on an absolutely awesome vacation to the Oregon coast. We were at Blacklock Point on a slightly chilly weekday and had the place all to ourselves – the point, beach, waterfall and views were amazing. Other destinations on this vacation (all pretty great!) – Waxmrytle Trail – Threemile Lake/Beach/Tahkenitch Dunes LoopNewport – Discovery Loop/Cooks Ridge Trail/Gwynn Creek/Cape Coast Loop, Lincoln City – Devils Punchbowl – Yaquina Head, Haystack – Cape Trail – Lincoln City and Tillamook Head Trail.

September – South Kaibab Trail below the first switchbacks

1209 South Kaibab Trail below the first switchbacks

Road Trip!! My parents took the train to Flagstaff – I picked them up and we did a 1,000+ mile road trip in southern Utah and Arizona! This was a fantastic trip – Grand Canyon, Zion, Cedar Breaks, Walnut Canyon, Montezuma Canyon and Well and lots of great time together!

October – Short Section of cable on the way to the top of the Kampenwand

1210 Short Section of cable on the way to the top of the Kampenwand

This year I had a great opportunity to visit the Lowa factory in Jetzendorf, Germany!!! In addition to a look at the amazing factory, previewing product from future seasons and discussing the US market we had the chance to tour Munich by bicycle, hike in the Alps and visit some great outdoor retail shops in Munich – AMAZING!

October – Walking on the Beach

1210 Walking on the Beach

In October I traveled to Seattle with the owners of the Summit Hut to visit Outdoor Research. I had a day and a half free and made the most of it – Little Mount Si, Deception Pass and Ebey’s Landing (pictured above) – I am sure I will be back (maybe in 2013 actually…).

November – Under the lights on top of Stone Mountain

1211 Under the lights on top of Stone Mountain

Several years ago the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance started having a fall show in Stone Mountain (Georgia) – this year Alison and I took a little more time to explore than we have in the past and one night we ended up on top of Stone Mountain all alone under the lights.

November – Table Mountain and North

1211 Table Mountain and North

In November I had a great day hiking with my friend Devin up to a new-to-me location – Bighorn Mountain in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness. This shot, near sunset, shows – I think – just how magical the Santa Catalina Mountains can be. We had hoped to visit the Cleaver also on this trip, but night fell as we arrived at the base so we abandoned that plan and had the pleasure (ha ha) of coming down from the Cleaver to the Pima Canyon Trail in the dark…

December – Tracks along the trail

1212 Tracks along the trail

I was surprised at the amount of snow as I headed up the Green Mountain Trail from the Lower Trailhead. As I turned onto the Guthrie Mountain Trail the footprints of other hikers faded away. Somewhere along the ridge I started to notice tracks, and then more tracks… I have to say that I had a moment of fear when I realized that these were from a Mountain Lion (at least a day old (I think) and headed the opposite direction on the trail – but it took a minute to put that together). The Mountain Lion had followed the trail for about a quarter of a mile before plunging off the ridge – with a dry trail I would have had no idea at all – what a privilege and joy to glimpse it’s passage…