This was my initial thought after the effects of our hike today settled in. Given the clouds moving into the Tucson area, seeing any stars tonight did not look promising and finding a hot tub in Catalina State Park was not going to happen. Settling for a nice hot shower seemed the most appealing alternative.
We enjoy staying at state parks when possible as they usually provide more wide open spaces and great views. Catalina State Park, located within Coronado National Forest, sits at the base of the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains.
Sitting at an elevation of 3000 feet, this 5500 acre park is a haven for desert plants, wildlife and nearly 5,000 saguaros. Miles of equestrian, birding, hiking, and biking trails wind through the park and on into the Coronado National Forest. Mount Lemmon is the highest peak in the Santa Catalinas, standing at 9157 feet.
We opted for the Romero Canyon Trail hike today, a moderately difficult hike. We did not make it out to Romero Pass at 7.2 miles, choosing instead to turn around at 5.5 miles. This round-trip 11 mile hike, with elevation gains of 2000 feet was enough for us.
It offered some stunning views, with lots of running water in the canyon. It would be interesting to see how fast the water is moving through the canyon after the spring run-offs.
Most of the hike out was up, so the good news was we could cruise downhill on the return trip, but admittedly a little harder on the knees, as I watch my husband gingerly walking around the rig tonight. If I am honest, my legs are protesting a bit tonight as well.
About 3/4 of the way back, we started to see paramedics and other rescue personnel hiking up past us. There were a total of eleven rescue workers pushing up the mountain, and two staged with a bucket/gurney nearby, as well as seven rescue vehicles standing by to assist. We never did learn what occurred, and watching the local news tonight did not provide any answers either. We can only hope that whatever happened in the canyon today, it was not serious.
As we crossed over the stream at the end of our hike, a little boy, clad only in a t-shire and Superman undies, came racing around the corner dragging a toy truck. He stopped abruptly right in front of us, dropped his undies, and proceeded to water the grass along the trail. Ah, the innocence of children!
With some clouds rolling in, we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset over the Santa Catalinas tonight.
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