Sabino Canyon, Tucson, AZ

My hikes don't always go according to plan. Today was a perfect example. We've gotten a fair amount of rain the last two days however the clouds cleared a bit this afternoon so I thought I'd do a quick hike up Blackett's Ridge. I needed a hike with some quick elevation gain and Blackett's is the closest and easiest to get to.

I added extra weight to my pack for training purposes and was ready for the climb but once I got to the bridge crossing Sabino Creek I knew my plans would have to change. The bridge was completely flooded and the water was moving way too fast to try to cross it. A park ranger was stationed at the bridge to discourage visitors from trying to cross the raging creek. I didn't have a back up plan so I found the next closest trail and started hiking, not really knowing where it would lead. 

It happened to be the Bluff Trail which skirted along Sabino Creek. I've never seen the water in Sabino Creek move that fast. I knew that stepping into water moving that fast would be a poor decision so I reluctantly keep on hiking knowing that I wouldn't get the elevation gain I needed. I did stumble upon a crested saguaro which is very rare! The trail met up with the road so I walked that for a bit until I found Rattlesnake Trail.

There were a lot of hikers out. The overcast skies and the rain earlier in the day made for a nice, chilly, moody day. I love hiking in this weather. I met some lovely ladies in their 60s enjoying the day. One was visiting from Spokane and we chatted for a bit. I mentioned that I was supposed to be training for an upcoming hike of the Grand Canyon and she told me that if her 70 year old girlfriend could do it, so could I! These words of encouragement meant a lot to me even though I'm not doubting my abilities for my upcoming hike. Still it's nice to hear someone else say "you can do it!"

After I joined the Esperero Trail, I caught up with a large family with a handful of adults and 7 kids ranging from ages 3-7, I'd guess. They were taking a little break and stepped aside so I could pass. I smiled, thanked them and told them they had their hands full with the kiddos! They laughed and said their short legs weren't helping much. I laughed and hiked on. I'd gotten maybe 20 feet in front of them when I heard one of the adults instruct the kids, "ok, let's follow the lady!" meaning, let's head in her direction. But instead the kids took this as an instruction to run ahead and keep pace with me! I laughed as 4 of the older boys bounded up the trail to follow me.

They were very excited to be out hiking among the saguaros. One showed me his binoculars and his step count on his Fitbit. I asked them if they were from Tucson and one little boy said no, they were visiting from Wisconsin, where the temperature were currently well below freezing. Part of me wanted to play the role of Ranger Steph and ask them questions about the plants and birds they'd seen and tell them interesting facts about the desert, but I didn't want to overstep. I slowed my pace some so the adults could catch up and I let them pass once again. 

Before crossing the road to finish the last half mile of the trail, my attention was drawn to the drama unfolding over the Catalinas. The clouds had gathered again and the layers of the mountain were being engulfed in mist. Like I said, Iove, love this gloomy, Pacific Northwest weather. I stood and watched the clouds fill the mountains for a good 10 minutes, taking in the beauty and allowing my heart to fill. I reluctantly turned around and crossed the road to finish my hike. 

But then!

Another rainbow in Sabino Canyon! Once again my eyes wandered over towards the ridge that eventually leads to Blackett's and was surprised with a rainbow! Two weeks ago I was gifted a rainbow, and now here I was again with diverted plans and I'm given a gift I might have missed if my original plan had been successful. I stood there and welcomed this gift, soaking it up and feeling gratitude for this weird day of hiking and the ability to just get outside and enjoy the beautiful desert. My tracking on AllTrails for this hike looks crazy but it was a beautiful day spent in a beautiful place and I'm glad I didn't let it go to waste.

Sabino Canyon Loop via Bluff, Rattlesnake, & Esperero Trails

Date hiked: February 4, 2019

Total miles: 4.8 miles

Elevation Gain: 365 feet

Total time: 2 hours

Land Acknowledgement: Ancestral lands of the Tohono O'odham and Yaqui

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