You can still enjoy the outdoors in the dead of summer. But it gets challenging.....
Ryan and I both had Friday off - and instead of doing a bathroom renovation project (that we had planned on). We played "hooky" on ourselves, and went for a long hike! It was only a high of 86 F.
The goal of this hike was to reach "Hutch's Pool". Which is a year-round natural body of water that is up in the mountains of the Santa Catalina's (in Tucson, AZ). There are supposed to be other waterfalls along the way. However, due to Tucson's drought - that was not the case. We saw a lot of dried up "waterfalls".
The hike was 16 miles round trip. It took us a little over 6 hours to complete. We averaged about 20-25 minutes/mile. This was no "walk in the park". This hike was insanely steep. Like 45 degree incline at all times. There was maybe 3 miles of respite total.
We did not quite make it to Hutch's Pool this time, unfortunately. It was getting hot, and we didn't want to run out of drinking water.
But, it was well worth it, and we still a wonderful hike. I'm going to be honest and say this makes the Top 3 Hardest workouts I've ever done! (and I'm counting my 3 marathons) I think going 6 hours straight, and the relentless incline (and then decline on the way down) got me! Mentally and physically. By mile 14, I really started losing agility due to shaking legs - which made scaling down a mountain tricky.
Oh, and we ran out of water by mile 14, too. Which is kind of expected. It got quite hot.
The neatest part of this hike was that we went from seeing Saguaro cacti to pine trees. We actually crossed over a mountain range. Hence my title, "Can we call ourselves mountaineers"?! (In all honesty, we can't - because we followed a trail. Not quite mountaineer material yet)
We did good about taking photos during the 1st 6 miles, and then kind of stopped after that due to time constraints.
Here are a few:
Here is the most perfect saguaro in bloom. A little fact - it takes on average 100 yrs for each arm to grow. So that's an old one!
Here is a close-up of the flowers in bloom. They only do this once annually. So it's pretty cool we got experience this!
Me scaling down. As you can see, it was such a steep grade doing down, that I had to lean back to keep balance.
This was about the 7 mile point. This is now "high altitude desert" - there are no cacti, just sage and brush. I felt on top of the world here!
Happy and sweaty couple!
This was such a fun challenge - and I look forward to doing more of these! However, probably won't be doing any this long for the rest of the summer. (as the day grew on, we started seeing snakes.....)