In December 2015, four days after I got out of the Army and flew down to my parents’ place in Arizona, they took me out to Sabino Canyon, just outside of Tucson. Despite it being December, it was fairly temperate in the 70s because of the arid climate. I got told to watch for rattlesnakes sunning themselves. In December.
Four days earlier, I was freezing my ass off waiting for a bus in Missouri. Yeah.
This artistic little shot was taken at the visitor center, and I’m including it here because Dad, who happens to be the real photographer in the family and whose DSLR I am borrowing here, thought my framing was neat.
This is an enormous Douglas Fir section, 300 odd years old and 110 feet tall. I grew up in a forest of them in Oregon, albeit ones not this big. The various markers read:
1700 – Father Kino founds San Xavier Mission
1775 – Presidio di Tucson founded
1821 – Mexico declares independence from Spain
1853 – Gadsden Purchase – southern Arizona purchased from Mexico
1865 – Arizona Territory established
1880 – Southern Pacific Railroad reaches Tucson
1886 – Geronimo surrenders at Skeleton Canyon
1902 – Santa Catalina Forest Reserve created
1912 – Arizona becomes 48th state
1930s – CCC/WPA organizations build roads and bridges in Sabino Canyon
1960 – Arizona population exceeds 1 million
From the visitor’s center at the start of the canyon, there are trams that take you on a guided tour all the way up. I took the tour, then hopped off to hike the distance back. A bit longer than I was used to after too much sitting around in the Army, but a good few hours of fun.
The geology of the canyon is especially interesting, with various different colors of rock in different areas of the canyon.
This is looking back towards the other end of the canyon, roughly from where I was dropped off. You can sort of see the road to the left.
I’ve given to understand that they made a few Westerns up here once upon a time. For some reason. Can’t imagine why.
Various points in the canyon had these rockfalls. Natural or left over from the 30s, I’m not really sure.
This is part of the trail along the edge of the canyon. I’m a fair ways up at this point, and as you can see, the trail gets fairly rugged at points.
Looking back down at the canyon. Opposite the road on the right is the creek that runs through the canyon.
The nice thing about canyons, of course, is the majestic scenery they provide.
That’s the trail I’m following, such as it is. It’s fairly level now, but you haven’t seen the zillion switchbacks it took to get up this far.
For an arid climate, there are parts of the canyon that are actually quite lush, in their way. It’s not quite the Pacific Northwet, but.
Yeah, those switchbacks. Good workout, there.
Worth said workout, obviously. This is looking over the far end of the canyon.
Again, the geology here is extremely interesting. And dramatic.
Are you getting tired of really majestic photos of mountains yet?
The author, in one of the most dramatic pictures of his life. Taken by a camera perched on a rock. I’ve really got to invest in a good tripod.
Also, I’m attempting to slowly grow my hair back out. Thanks for that, Army.
These little cairns mark the trail, such as it is, as it crosses a large stretch of bare rock.
Most of the canyon is small plants and a plethora of different types of cacti, but down near the creek there are a few mesquite trees and what have you.
That said, for the most part it’s not much of a creek.
It has its consolations, however. This quickly became one of the favorite photos I’ve taken.
Random interesting rock is interesting. And random.
And finally, walking the long road back to the other end of the canyon. That’s Tucson in the distance.
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