True Beginner Tackles Starr Pass

March 18th, 2017

 

I had the pleasure of taking Dale out on a guided bike ride the other day. He is what we call a true beginner where he has never been mountain biking on a trail before. The Starr Pass/Tucson Mountain Park (TMP) area is an intermediate trail system so sometimes the start can freak a true beginner out as they are expecting nice and smooth trails. Ha not here in TMP. He is an avid surfer though which helped him with balance and it didn’t take long before he was riding even the toughest parts many beginners walk. Impressive! Great job out there, Dale! Come visit us again!

 

Southwest Trekking

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520-261-9661

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“Desert Biking Adventure = Happy boys = Happy Parents!”

March 15th, 2017
A trip advisor posting.
“Desert Biking Adventure = Happy boys = Happy Parents!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

In Tucson, staying at the JW Marriott, for Spring Break with the fam including my 2 crazy boys (8 & 10). We decided to put the boys in a 2 hr guided desert biking adventure while my husband golfed and I watched their little sis. Although I was a bit nervous at first, sending my little boys off into the desert with a stranger and full Camelbaks, I was quickly settled by meeting their awesome guides (Jim and Cassi) and seeing my kids ear to ear grins as they practiced riding their bikes on the front lawn of the hotel (sorry JW). 2 hrs later, when I met them back at the drop off point, I was greeted by my sweaty and happy (but amazing not tired enough) kids with stories of their amazing adventure.
My oldest enjoyed it so much he even behaved himself for the balance of the trip to earn another outing (little bro was golfing with dad). Cassi was his private guide this time. On his 2nd trip, however, my little daredevil encountered a lose patch of dirt (I’m told it was not bc he was going too fast… ) and had a wipeout worthy of American Funniest Videos. Fortunately for him, Cassi was prepared with all the first aid gear and was even nice to him as he picked the rocks out of his wound. Fear not, the only permanent damage was to the little aspiring ego and the story will surely live on to be larger than life.

In summary, a fabulous experience for my kids and that makes one happy mom! Thanks Southwest Trekking!

Super Wesley!

March 15th, 2017

 

10 yr old Wesley tackled some of our rockiest trails in Tucson the other day. He and his little 8 yr old brother went out with Jim the day before and I took him out the next day. Despite a minor crash, he had an awesome time. Here he is showing off his crash aftermath. We got him wrapped up after and continued the adventure back to the hotel. What a trooper! Great job, Wesley!

Southwest Trekking

Professional Guide Services

520-261-9661

http://www.swtrekking.com

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Rare Crested Saguaro

March 14th, 2017

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The crested saguaro cactus is always a joy to find in the sonoran desert.  Biologists estimate that the ‘cresting’ occurs in roughly 1 in 40,000 saguaros!  Although they are unsure what exactly causes the cresting, it is likely an isolated genetic trait.  Come out on a ride or hike with Southwest Trekking.  We can show you where they are!

Southwest Trekking

Professional Guide Services

520-261-9661

http://www.swtrekking.com

Spring Is Coming To The Sonoran Desert, but not other places

March 14th, 2017

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Sonoran Desert Spring

 When lengthening days meet clearing skies that have been swept free of winter storm clouds intense sunshine spreads over the landscape bringing the “alchemy” of warmth that heralds spring in the Sonoran Desert.     

 During this time period, even as the days rapidly increase in temperature, the nights may still quickly become remarkably chilly following sunset.     The clarity of the desert air coupled with its low relative humidity and the lack of clouds above allows most of the days heat to escape and freely radiate into space.    

 Throughout the spring in the desert, moisture from the passing weather fronts of winter that was trapped by the reaching heights of the needy desert mountain ranges may still find its way in surface streams cascading down onto the floors of the desert valleys that surround them. 

 Most of these flows would evaporate before they can sink in just a few weeks later in the year under the shimmering heat of the summer Sun.     

 However, in the spring the shade cast from miles of rocky canyon slopes and cliffs helps to hold down the heat and reduces evaporation of moisture for a large portion of each day as if to whisper, “Stay a while longer”.    And, each mile of canyon bottom cups the precious fluid in fingers of stone that form numberless pools to prevent its loss.     In open areas weathered rocky mantles of pebbles, gravel, and cobbles serve to protect and “mulch” the thin soils below from moisture loss due to heating and the wind.  

 If the canyon bottom pools are heavily shaded or if they are large enough the water in these rocky “Tinajas”( Tanks ) may last from the spring through the usually waterless months of May and June until the arrival of the rains of the Sonoran Desert monsoon season later in the summer.     Given a general lack of flowing surface water in most desert regions for several months of the year, many Sonoran Desert plant types along with most birds and the larger animals have become dependant upon the tinajas and their friendly surroundings for their survival.

 The signature cool nights and the persistence of moisture in the landscape through the spring come as relief and are promises to the inhabitants of the desert and its travelers that for some short weeks the Sun will not yet rule the land.

 This is the setting that frames many peak experiences when viewing the spectacular sunrises and sunsets, forms of the majestic giant Saguaro Cacti,  wildflower displays, and unusual animals of the Sonoran Desert spring.

 The evidence for change that announces the arrival of spring in the Sonoran Desert is all about for those who use its desert trails, tracks, and routes.       

 Numbers of northward migrating raptors and other birds can be seen sailing  above the desert slopes where countless small Mammalaria Cacti with light colored spines that are accented with dark fishhook-shaped spines are found.  Their tiny pink and white striped flowers usually begin the annual blooming of the cacti that will last through the summer.     Pink to magenta and plum colored showy flowers of short-stemmed clusters of scattered kinds of spiny Hedgehog Cacti will appear next.      These are followed in turn by the yellow flowers found on the flattened disc-like “pads”(stems) of several types of Prickly Pear Cacti.      The large white blooms of the Saguaros signal the end of spring in mid-April as they flower to get their red fruits ripe and seeds on the ground before the coming summer monsoon rains. 

The dispersed flowers from several types of plants that grow from bulbs, such as the white flowered Desert Anemone or lavender to blue Papago Lily, begin the annual show of the classic wildflowers that may reach a crescendo in a riot of patches of color in the valleys and on hillsides that are acres in extent       Areas that show gold Poppies mixed with blue Lupines, white Tackstems, and magenta Owls Clover are favorites for photographers of all ages.

 Hill topping and canyon cruising butterflies hatch as early as February and begin their searches for mates and “butterfly” plants for their eggs as they are supported by the nectar from spring blooms.

 When viewed close up the amount of plant growth and diversity seen in the bright greenery of annual plants germinated by winter rain and sheltering under the canopies of desert trees such as the “Palo Verdes”( in Spanish Green Sticks/ Woods ), “Palo Fieros”( Iron Woods ) and Mesquites and other shrubs and plants is astounding.     Although it is greatly dwarfed in “amount” by the plant growth seen in other regions and climates, it should be appreciated that the Sonoran Desert supports several times the number of “species” of plants found in most biomes elsewhere! 

 This situation makes itself apparent again when one realizes the overwhelming amount of animal “diversity” that the plant life of the Sonoran Desert supports.    All three members of the Racoon family in North America are only found together in the Sonoran Desert.      This is notably the same for the four kinds of skunks!  And the list continues……   

 For instance with the first days of warm temperatures each live branch of the gaunt and very spiny Ocotillo or Coachwhip is suddenly hidden within a sheath of bright green leaves in preparation for growth and blooming.    Often a companion of the Ocotillo in the lower and driest areas of the Sonoran Desert is the “Chuparosa”( Hummingbird ) Bush which forms a tangled jumble of pencil thin bare stems for most of the year.      But in the spring these plants can be the first desert plants to provide showy splashes of color as they both produce large numbers of intensely red nectar-bearing flowers that are the sole forage for migrating hummingbirds!             

 Wildlife activity picks up quickly leaving as signs increasing numbers of tracks and new spoils cast up from winter quarter holes and tunnels.    

 Cottontail rabbits and two kinds of Jack rabbits( actually “hares” ) are present year around but become much more noticeable in the spring as they increase their numbers on the abundant new plant growth.     Nervous and hyperactive tan Round-tailed and white-striped bushy tailed Harris Ground Squirrels along with their more sedate larger cousin Rock Squirrels emerge from winter burrows and begin day-time activities.    

 The first reptiles to be seen are small lizards that immediately begin to “harvest” the plenty provided by numerous insects and other arthropods.     And, it is no coincidence that they are pursued by, ever alert, Roadrunners that seemingly had disappeared during the winter!       Desert toads and frogs will wait until the warmth of full summer and monsoon rains come to make their appearances.

 By spring the half grown fawns of White-tailed and the much larger Mule Deer are being weaned and take tentative steps away from the sides of their does to browse upon tender new plant growth.      And, in isolated desert mountains Bighorn Sheep browse upon  “haloes” of bright yellow flowers at the tips of stalks on Brittle Bush.

 Fleeting and compelling, spring in the Sonoran Desert is a call to experience adventure while it is abundant with life and the promise of its continuance. 

 This was written by Bill Peachey, Southwest Trekking Guide Extraordinaire.

 

Future Shredder

March 14th, 2017

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Avery

My Granddaughter

Shredding it.

I know, you’re jealous of the attire.

Southwest Trekking

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john@swtrekking.com

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Old Man Saguaro

March 9th, 2017

 

Every time I ride by this old beauty, I feel like I time travel 300 yrs in the past. The trail runs right by it. This one is at Arthur Pack Park here in Tucson. The bottom 4 feet of it is like a trunk of a tree with almost 30 arms if you count the ones that have been blown off. Amazes me every time I see it.

Southwest Trekking

Professional Guide Services

http://www.swtrekking.com

520-296-9661

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Get out for a hike!

March 7th, 2017

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Southwest Trekking offers guided hikes and bike tours to groups and individuals.  Come out and experience the Sonoran Desert with a trip customized just for you!

Southwest Trekking

Professional Guide Services

http://www.swtrekking.com

520-296-9661

Day or night….

March 6th, 2017

night hike

The beauty of the Sonoran Desert is awe inspiring!  Let us help you explore it.

Southwest Trekking

Professional Guide Services

http://www.swtrekking.com

520-296-9661

March 5th, 2017

The desert wildflowers are in full bloom in some places! With perfect temps, there is no other time to get out for a hike or a bike trip! The window to see these wonderful flowers is short.

 

Southwest Trekking

Professional Guide Services

520-296-9661

www.swtrekking.com

 

poppy