These last two months of moving in and getting settled in our house has wrecked havoc on our leisure activities. Golfing, hiking, exploring and date nights were shelved for unpacking, sorting, hanging pictures, construction and installs. Feeling completely exasperated with the sense of being held prisoner in our own home, we made a breakout escape Thursday morning to the hiking trails of SaguaroNational Park.
We now live just a 5 minute drive from some great trailheads into the park. Douglas Springs trailhead is at the far east end of Speedway Blvd. just at the entrance to Tanque Verde Ranch. This was our starting point. We have hiked this area numerous times in the past. It is a matrix of small interconnected trails which are easily customizable to the hikers interests. In our case, with a forecasts of 90 degrees, we were up at the crack of dawn and on the trail by 6:30. I have to admit getting up that early is not my ideal wake up time, but right at and immediately after sunrise is my favorite time to hike in the Sonoran Desert. The colors are vibrant and sharp, and the shadows provide a wonderful contrast.
The best part of this time of year, besides the start of pool season, is the saguaros are blooming. Friday’s hike provided us a viewing of many Saguaros doing just that. Add in the early morning bright big moon, and we had the makings of a wonderful hike.
In our efforts to minimize “rehiking” trails, we headed west along a bypass trail, down the Shantz and Kennedy trails to Vanover trail connecting to Loma Verde trail. Our return loop continued on the Pink Hill trail, up Squeze Pen Trail, cutting across on the Creosote trail and back to the trail head. 5.7 miles and 2 1/2 hours total. Shorter than usual, but great to be back out on the trail enjoying the desert beauty.
To us, the morning sun, it’s long shadows, and the quiet of dawn is the best time to see the desert. The heat is not yet stifling, the birds are all singing, and the trails are so peaceful it is like they are there just for us.
This past winter was pretty dry here in the Tucson area, causing a sharp decline in the desert wildflowers and cactus blooms. But all was not lost, the Prickly Pears are still blooming and some of the Saguaros were bursting.
The moon low in the deep blue sky added to the morning making a great backdrop for the Saguaro buds and flowers.
After an almost 2 month respite from hiking, we could not have asked for a nicer morning or more beautiful scenery to remind us how much we enjoy our time immersed in the Sonoran Desert.