Archive for September, 2009


Tuesday, September 29th, 2009


Southwest Trekking loves children

We offer an unbelievable summer camp program.  Overnight trips, back packing, rock climbing and mountain biking.

Check out our web site:

They say a pictures says a thousand words,

Here are several thousands of words.




Southwest Trekking

Professional Guide Services

Arduous Journeys for Those Who Indulge In Extremes

Biking, road and mountain, guided and rentals

Hiking, camping and climbing

Tucson, Arizona Based



Joshua Tree

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Went to Joshua Tree National Park last weekend with my fiance and soon to be in-laws.  It was extremely hot, and kind of hazy, but that never detracts from the impeccable beauty of the high Desert.  Joshua Tree is located in the Mojave Desert, at roughly an elevation of 3,500-4,000 feet, and is home to the infamous Joshua Tree (it’s actually a yucca).  The Joshua Trees were named by Mormons as they traveled through the area.   There is, of course, many other plants and cacti that inhabit the area, but none are as awe inspiring as the huge fields of Joshua Trees.

As you drive though the park, one can gain a sense of appreciation of how large the park actually is, and how diverse each area is.  Among the amazing variety of vegetation, there are elaborate rock formations that are primarily located in the northern limits of the park.  For this reason, many rock climbers from all over the world flock to Joshua Tree to climb on some of the most unique Granite formations in the world.  Being a huge climbing destination, you are almost guaranteed to see people scaling the beautiful rock walls.  It is, for this exact reason, that I discovered the area.

From a climbers stand point, there is no other place that I have found that offers such diversity of rock climbing as Joshua Tree.  Weather it be old traditional routes with illustrious histories, newer sport climbs or bouldering, one is almost guaranteed to find something fun to get on.  As you walk around the park, one can’t help to feel ‘like a kid in a candy store’.  This picture is of me getting ready to top out a classic boulder problem located near the Gun Smoke area off of the Barker Damn trail.

J Tree

Brent Silvester

Chube V 2

Photo: Catherine Bolm

Southwest Trekking

Cochise Stronghold

Sunday, September 27th, 2009


So, I have been getting e-mails from a potential client by the name of Marga.  Hmmmmm  A bit of a weird name but then my name is John.  She wants to go for a hike but a very specific hike in Cochise Stronghold.  Cool.  Smart lady.  I assumed it was a lady, the name kinda says that.  I think.  I kinda wonder where she came up with Cochise Stronghold, but I try not to question intellect and good taste.  We have agreed to meet at one of the local hotels at 7AM and then off to Tombstone for breakfast.

We start down the road.  We talk. Imagine that.  As it turns out Marga is a medical tech from the Netherlands or Holland, kinda the same place.  She is brilliant.  And I have to say knows more and been more places in Utah and Arizona than most actual residents of the area.  Not only has she been there and knows that but she has a real love, appreciation and passion for the area.  It was great because I actually helped fulfill one of her dreams to take her into an area where Cochise and Geronimo held many of their gatherings to consider what they would do with the incoming white folks.  Now if you don’t know, and Marga did, Cochise was a very famous local indigenous chief and Geronimo was his ‘spiritual’ leaders.  So, I am not going to get into all the details.  We will leave that to you all.  So we hike on into the area and we talk about the happens of the area.  The trail is interesting enough that you have to pay attention but at the same same time you have to look up to see what else is going on.  I will give you a hint why, this area is also a premier area for national and international rock climbers to come.  It is a beautiful, spiritual area.  Oh yeah…….  Marga, and I agree, says she wants to go hang out and mediate on the rocks.  Smart lady.  She called it “The altar of Beauty”.  Yeah, I can dig that.  I hope she doesn’t mid me quoting her but, what she later e-mailed was, “Thanks for a very special time in the Dragoons.”  That is the mountain range we visited.  And,  “… decided that this was definitely the most beautiful day of all the time I have spent the the Southwest so far.”  “..this magical and sacred place.”

I like Marga.  We agree she will have to come back and we will have to share more of our special places with each other.


Marga, with the Rockfellow domes in the background

Southwest Trekking

Bike Church

Saturday, September 26th, 2009


A memorial for bicyclist killed on Tucson’s streets.


In Tucson, from Speedway, go south on Main Avenue.  You will see it on your right.


Built with the help of $50,000 grant from the Pima Association of Governments


Built by artist Joe O’connell of Creative Machines and Blessing Hancock with help from local students and volunteers.

Southwest Trekking

AZ Trail

Sunday, September 20th, 2009


It has been awhile that we have a had a full group of riders that can actually ride.  Now don’t get me wrong, lots of our clients can ride but this was special in that they could ride.  OK, I know it needs an explanation. So, Oscar gives me call, well actually he e-mails me and is asking a bunch of, well, kinda, strange questions.  We e-mail back and forth and try to resolve the answers to his questions.  Not really getting anywhere on the e-mail conversation.  Sometimes you have to break down and pick up the phone.  Much better results.  OK, now I understand, he wants an epic ride for himself and his buds that get together and, well, beat each other up, well actually the ride does and he wants to turn them onto something different.  OH yeah, I think we can do that.  So, we meet at six AM, Brent, one of our stronger guides is joining us.  Up the road we go.  We immediately start sizing everyone up to what we will be able to do with them.  Looks like it is going to be a great day of hard, fun riding.  Yahooooooo.  We get to the starting point and down off the vehicle the bikes come and we get on them and off we go.  Two and half miles of dirt road for a warm up.  Turn onto the AZ Trail, which at this point is single track.  This is one of the more cardio trails that we would choose only for the stronger group of riders.  And cardio it is, with some technical thrown it.  We be a walking some of this, all of us, hell, even Brent and he is a bad ass, or so he thinks.  OK, he is.  We all get to the top of the ridge and explain that it is now mostly down hill for the next six miles, be careful, AND just to remember that the science thing about what goes down must come up thing.  Yeah, yeah they all say.  So down it is.  OMG  This is one heck of a trail.  Scenic as anything, anywhere but you kinda gotta keep your eyes focused on the trail because it is interesting enough to keep your attention.  Yahoooooo  Ride em cowboy.  (You get the idea)  We reach the bottom and everyone is should we say, happy.  We discuss options, go back the way we came, which is the best, if we can make it or ride a four wheel drive road back out.  Sucky road, up hill and boring as heck.  So they all inform me that they are not any stinking road bike riders and they are here to ride trails in the mountains on their mountain bikes.   OK  I warned them.  One guy brought his single speed.  He must not have gotten the memo.  Kinda mixed feelings at this point, loving and hating life thing.  Well, I think it turned out to be hating life thing on the way back up.  Good thing he was real strong.  Now, as professional guides as we are, Brent and I are using chest packs to carry radios to communicate and let each other know how and where we and the clients are.  So he let’s me know that he is at a a tight switch back with a flat.  I reach up with my right hand and respond, and I might add I am going down hill at this point, my right hand is on the radio keying the mike and I squeeze my left brake.    Hmmmmmmmmmmm   Damn, I tell everyone not to do that.  Because???????  That’s right, you go over the handle bars.  Weird how that happens.  Most important was that no one saw me do it.  But wait, maybe not a good thing.  Everyone is ahead of me and do you think anyone is concerned about the back guide?  They probably would not have missed me for some time.  Good thing I was OK, well, OK, I was bleeding but I think that s pretty normal for this kind of ride.  We make it to the top and everyone is beat up pretty good.  Some more than others.  I personally was beat up pretty good.  One guy was useing foul language to explain that next time given the option to ride out the road he was going to choose the road.  Hmmmmmm  Weird that moutain biking swear, that was a first.  Brent and I had a contingent plan in case they wanted more, we were going to offer more.  No takers.  Actually we had two add ons if needed be, no takers for either.  Good thing for me.

So end of story.  Damn stinking great times.  I was pretty beat up the remainder of the day.  Slept like a baby and woke up feeling great.  Those hard epic rides help with life so much.  I told them that they were 1 in 1000 to be able to pull that ride off.  Thanks guys.  You rock

John Heiman

To Protect The Innocent

Friday, September 18th, 2009

So, this is a story about three guys and a guide.  We will not mention names or affiliation to protect the innocent.  Whatever that means.  I actually saw the gentleman in question the next day and told him that he was going to be subject to many stories.  He just shrugged and mentioned he made the others make a vow to secrecy.  But not me.

So, I show up to pick the guys up and head into the hills to do some ‘mountain’ bike riding.  They didn’t look any different than any other group we take out.  They were dudes.  Professional dudes.  40 to 45 years old.  Cool.  Funny.  ‘Let’s go,’ they say.  So we go.  The older guy is kicking it.  One guy is walking his bike in about ten minutes.  Now not to be unfair it is up a difficult hill and at the beginning of the ride.  Give the guy a few minutes, I think.  Cool.  But, but, I try to help and make some suggestions.  OK I make a lot of suggestions.  You know the story, motivation.  He is walking again.  Cool.  I stop along side of him and offer some ideas that may make it a bit easier.  He tells me that it may help if I don’t help him so much.  That he knows what to do.  The quote now is, “I know.”  Cool.  I take off to check the other guys and they are fine.  Hitting it good.  Breathing hard but I guess that happens when you ride a bike.  Weird how that works.  Go back and check on ‘I know.’  He is stopped and informs me that he feels like he wants to vomit.  He had just eaten lunch.  I suggest that that if he did vomit that that just may help.  ‘I know’, he says.  A bit goes by and he hurls, a lot.  ‘Good, good, good, good,’ I remark after each hurl.  “There ya go”, I say.  He feels better.  Off we go, again I take off to check on the guys and tell the dude to take it easy.  “I know, I know.”  I come back to check on him and he is stopped again.  I ask if he is getting light headed that he needs to stop and rest for a bit.  “I know.”  He stops for about 30 seconds and he is off.  I explain that it may be best if he rest until he no longer feels light headed.  “I know.”  He keeps going.  I take off.  Come back and he is stopped again.  “Still light headed?”  “I am feeling kinda cold.”  Hell he is working his ass off and it is 90+ degrees.  Cold?  “OK, we have to stop and we have to stop for at least 5 to 10 minutes and let your body regroup.”  I tell him.  “I know.”  He is about ready to pass out.  Sit him in the shade and pour water all over him.  We talk.  Hell, he just lost his mother and sister in a car accident.  Damn.  Not to mention he is a general manager for a high stress corporation.  Working a minimum of 50 hours a week.  Hasn’t exercised for a long time.

“I think you had better start at least going for a walk”, I say.  “I know.”

Southwest Trekking


Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

I thought you may enjoy, or maybe not, finding out who I am, John Heiman, Owner/President of Southwest Trekking, LLC


Out with a group in The Tucson Mountains


John, that being me, Back Country Ranger, National Park Service, Saguaro National Park, Rincon Unit



A stand off, the cattle or me.


Hiking in The Tucson Mountains


Mountain Biking, Alaska


Gulf of Alaska


Copper River, Alaska


Yes, there are actually Grizzlies close by.


Yea, so what, I think I am bad.  I have to have my fantasies also.


I be in the middle.  Sheridan Glacier, Alaska

Other than that I have a very boring mundane life.


Southwest Trekking

The Other Bus

Sunday, September 13th, 2009


I thought you may be interested in our ‘other bus’.  We replaced a fifteen passenger van with this bus and the ‘big’ bus replaced the van in this picture.  Both buses carry fourteen clients and two guides, 18 bikes and supplies and you don’t have to squeeze in and out like a van.  And then we have a 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser that can carry 6 bikes and five passengers.  Oh yeah we have a trailer that can carry 12 bike also.


Southwest Trekking

Professional Guide Services

Arduous Journeys for those Who Indulge In Extremes

Biking, road and mountain, guided and rentals

Hiking, climbing and camping

Based in Tucson Arizona


Tiger Rattler

Friday, September 11th, 2009

I recieced these pictures from a past cleint we took out hiking.  Jack Champion is his name.  Isn’t that a great name.


Tiger Rattlesnake, Crotalus molissus molossus


It was kind funny that he sent it when he did because we had just seen and had to capture the exact specei the night before on our patio at the house.  We had to capture it in the dark.  Get it into a trash can and then put it in the car and take it out into the desert.  It was quite a scene.  In the dark with headlamps trying to herd a snake into a trash can and then putting it in a vehicle that you were imagining it getting out of inside the vehicle, while you are driving.  And then letting it out in the dark.  That was one heart pumping evening.


Jack also got a great shot of a mule deer peering through a Palo Verde Tree.

Thanks for the pics Jack Champion

Southwest Trekking

Hiking, biking, road and mountain, guided and rentals

Rock Climbing and camping

Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico

Based in Tucson

Professional Guide Services

Arduous Jorneys for Those Who Indulge in Extremes

Ritz Carlton and The Cocaroque Ranch

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Yes, that’s right, The Ritz Carton Resort and Cocaroque Ranch.  They actually have nothing to do with each other but that is where I went today.  They are just finishing up the New Ritz Carlton Resort here in Tucson.  I have been out in the area in the past checking out trails for mountain biking and hiking.  The Ritz is located in The Tortolita mountains on the very far northwest side of town,  Actually it is not even officially in Tucson.  Should open in the next couple of months.  Hopefully Southwest Trekking will be an addition to their amenities.


The Cocaroque Ranch

After visiting the location for The New Ritz I went to meet with Jesus Arizmo the owner of The Cocaroque Ranch.  We had been asked to get together with Jesus to see if there was a location on the ranch that we might be able offer rock climbing and or rapelling.  Southwest Trekking has participated  several times in past events on the ranch.  The idea is that clients can be transported to the ranch where we can offer them:  Horseback riding, cattle round ups, team roping and other ranch type events along with hiking, mountain biking and a lunch or dinner.  Kinda an all inclusive thing.  And we were going to try and offer rock climbing and or rappelling.  But it is going to have to take a bit more investigating.  I saw something with a possibility but ran out of time.  Another day.

Keep and eye of our web site for more information

Remember:  We offer hiking, biking, road and mountain, guided and rentals along with rock climbing and camping guided adventures in Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico.  We are based in Tucson

Thanks for your time

John Heiman