29 December 2019
Wandering Around Sabino Canyon
The recent rains and falling temps finally brought some snow to the Tucson area ranges. This made for some very scenic hiking in Sabino Canyon which the hikers in our group and 100s of others enjoyed.
The temps had dropped to a low of 28 degrees at day break so we had a chilly start to our hike.
Click on the photos below for a larger image.
By 10:00 our group was ready to hit the trail.
There was snow down to about 5'000 feet and lower on north facing slopes and canyon walls.
We spotted this javelina stripped Opuntia pad along the side of the trail.
As you can see, javelinas are well equipped for stripping away the soft part from an Opuntia pad.
Javelinas are omnivores, meaning the mammal will eat both meat and plants. Although javelinas have been observed eating small animals, their food of choice tends to be roots, grasses, seeds and fruits. The Javelina's short, curved tusks help it tear through tougher plants like the prickly pear cactus. The tusks of the javelina are also used for defense and for communication. By rubbing the tusks together, they create a chattering noise, which can be used to warn predators and other javelinas who are getting too close. Every time the javelina opens and closes its mouth, the tusks are sharpened as they rub against each other.
Javelinas live and travel in groups called a squadron. The average squadron size tends to be between six and nine animals, but javelina's have also been observed living by themselves. Javelinas have very aggressive and unpredictable behavior that prevents them from being domesticated. Your best chance to see a javelina is at night.
By now the temps had warmed into the low 40s and the southern Arizona sun was working its magic.
This was taken on the Esperero trail. There are some steep and rocky sections where one must pay close attention to one's foot placement.
This is looking down Rattlesnake Canyon to Sabino Creek. It will soon be January and still there are leaves on some of the cottonwood and ash trees.
Another peek at Thimble Peak.
Miss Winky peeking through the bushes.
Now we are in the lower section of Rattlesnake Canyon and the going is easy.
Although there are equestrian facilities nearby, we seldom see horses in Sabino Canyon.
Note the high, boulder strewn bank of Rattlesnake wash which is at times a raging torrent during the summer monsoons.
There are those who bushwhack up to the base of Thimble and climb to the top. Some use protection, some do not.
Obviously I had a hard time keeping my finger off the shutter button.
Here we are at Sabino dam, our official lunch break.
The 1887 Sonora earthquake dislodged massive boulders lining the canyon walls, which came to rest in the valley below. In 1905 the newly created U.S. Forest Service began administering Sabino Canyon. During the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Emergency Relief Administration (ERA) built Sabino Dam and nine bridges over Sabino Creek in an attempt to build a road to the top of Mount Lemmon. The road travels about 4.5 miles into the canyon, but was not completed due to the steep terrain at the end of the canyon.
Neighbor Bob is becoming a regular on our hikes.
There were lots of shutters clicking today.
"There may be Snow on the Mountain,
but there's a Fire in the Furnace!"
The final shot of the day. Let's hope we get more snow!
See you next time...
Mike and Betsy
~~~~~~~~~~ BONUS Photo ~~~~~~~~~~
1251 Hornbeck. Our home of 27 years.