I spent this weekend with one of my dear childhood friends who I hadn't seen in 3 years. Mallory lives in Italy with her husband Luca and they were stateside visiting friends and family for 2 weeks. They made the trek out to the desert to spend time with my sister, her husband, and my cute little niece Addison.
When I lived in Chicago I got to see Mallory every time she was in the States, which was once every couple years. She and my sister hadn't seen each other since college but as soon as Mallory walked in the door it was like no time had passed. Age wise Mallory is smack dab in the middle of me and my sister and we both cherish our friendship with her. It was so sweet seeing her meet Addison and we enjoyed showing the desert to our Italian friends.
Luca had never been to the American Southwest and was fascinated with cactus. A hike was a must. I was tasked with choosing the trail. It had to have beautiful views, rated easy to moderate, and be close enough to my sister's house where we could get an early start to beat the heat. Pima Canyon was the perfect trail.
We hit the trail by 7:00am. The temps were cool and we were in the shade until mid morning. The trail gently weaves deeper into Pima Canyon which is full of saguaros, ocotillo, prickly pear, and Luca's favorite, teddy bear cholla.
The last time I hiked this trail with my sister we saw a Gila monster so I was hoping for some exciting animal sightings. At almost the 2.5 mile mark we were startled by a rattling sound to our right by a big boulder - it was a rattlesnake! My first one! Just as we were trying to decide how to get around it (Luca had already hiked ahead without seeing it and we weren't sure how he was going to get back) a trail runner came up behind us and suggested throwing a stick at it to get it to go away. I'm not sure that was the best technique but the snake slithered over the boulder away from the trail and we decided that was a good enough turn around spot to head back to the car.
The heat was starting to creep up into the 80s by 9:00am and it was only going to get hotter. When we were about a mile and a half from the trailhead we stopped when we heard another hiker yell loudly. We were not paying attention to our surroundings and soon realized we were standing two feet from another rattlesnake. This one looked to be in the striking position so we slowly backed away and kept heading down trail. In my two years living in Tucson I hadn't seen a rattlesnake on trail and now I had seen two in one hour. Luca was ecstatic. He couldn't believe how lucky we were! I was just happy I didn't have to use my WFR skills and help anyone suffering from a rattlesnake bite!
As we made our way back to the car Luca kept saying out beautiful everything was. Clearly Pima Canyon was the winner of the day! It was the perfect morning hike, even with the rattlesnakes.
The rest of the weekend was filled with a few of our favorite Tucson food experiences, mainly Sonoran hotdogs from a roadside stand and freshly made salsa at Guadalajara Grill. It was a great weekend with good friends. Addison loved getting to know her Zia Mallory and Zio Luca. Now I can't wait to go visit them in Italy!
Pima Canyon Trail
Date hiked: April 28, 2019
Total miles: 4.8 out and back
Elevation Gain: 200 feet
Total time: 4 hours
Land Acknowledgement: Ancestral lands of the Tohono O'odham and Hohokam