I was excited to finally get back out there by myself but I was feeling trepidation as well. What if I no longer liked backpacking? What if I got lonely? What if I ran out of water? What if this is too hard for me and I haven't trained enough?
Our August Art Hike allowed us to explore the Bigelow Trail after an incredible week of monsoons in Tucson. The Santa Catalina Mountains have been gobbling up all of this rain, turning the mountains lush and green, and sending huge amounts of water down to the thirsty washes and desert below.
For June's Art Hike we headed back up Mt Lemmon to one of my favorite trails: Marshall Gulch. We got incredibly lucky with some cloud cover because this trail can get warm in the sun. We had another great group come out to hike and paint, some new faces and some who joined us last month.
Last month I hosted the very first Arizona Art Hike with The Kula Academy! I've wanted to do something like this for years, to finally combine my paint brushes and my hiking boots was a dream come true. It's kind of why I went with the name Brushes and Boots.
For living so close to Saguaro National Park, I don't make it there as much as I should. The Park is split into two districts, East and West, on either side of Tucson. The East district is 10 minutes from my home.
I hadn't been on this trail since the devastating Bighorn Fire burned almost 200,000 acres of the Santa Catalina Mountains. It was started by a lightning strike on June 5, 2020 near Bighorn Mountain (hence the name) and burned until July 23, 2020. Due to an almost non-existent monsoon season and extremely dry conditions the wildfire spread quickly from one side of the Catalinas to the other. It was gut wrenching to see the entire mountain up in flames and see billows of smoke from my backyard.