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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Santa Catalina Hiking

Edge of the Catalinas with Tucson below
Pusch Peak Hike
Pusch Ridge Wilderness
Tucson, Arizona
Mileage 4.47
Time - 2:44
AEG - 2,695ft

My favorite mountain range in Arizona is without a doubt the Santa Catalinas. Bordering Tucson to the north, it appears as a fortress rising up from the desert floor with castle-like features on each distinct peak. I first set eyes on them back in 2008 when visiting friends in the area and said to myself "I must see what's behind those walls." Here we are seven years later and I'm still in awe every time I set foot in the Catalinas.

Bob climbing up Pusch Peak
Bob asked if I wanted to get another hike in this weekend and of course I was game. Considering the unseasonably cool May weather we are having in Arizona I said we should take advantage of it and go south. I looked at a few options and came across Pusch Peak. It has a distinct summit on the edge of the mountain range closest to town and only two miles to the top. Sounds simple enough, right? Only catch is that it was going to require 2,700 vertical feet of climbing in those two miles to get there. It was every bit as steep as we expected and I loved every minute of the climb.  A big payout waited for us at the peak. The far reaching view into the canyon depths and surrounding pinnacles to the northeast and city to the southwest was quite impressive. So glad we made the effort.

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Blacketts Ridge with Thimble Peak in the distance
Blacketts Ridge Hike
Sabino Canyon Recreation Area
Tucson, Arizona
Mileage - 6.2
Time - 2:19
AEG - 1,965ft

We didn't drive a hundred miles to only hike four, so we decided on a second and drove over to Sabino Canyon for another more moderate trek. I have wanted to do Blacketts Ridge for years now and coupling these two together made perfect sense with a short break in between. This route has all the making of an ideal day hike. Moderate distance and elevation, a well defined route with mostly subtle switchbacks, and finally a great ending point with awesome views of Mt Lemmon and the Santa Catalina Range.

Boone hiking up the Phoneline Trail to Blacketts

One of the brightest Collared Lizards I've ever seen



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