Archive for January, 2010

Crazy Crazinessssssss

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

This is yet another good example of what happens when John has to much time on his hands.  This video has sound.  I would recommend turning it up as loud as you can.  But then, that is my suggestion.

Brent, Southwest Trekking, Lead Guide, and I, John Heiman, Owner of Southwest Trekking, took off for a ride and to video a bit.  This section of The Arizona Trail is one of our favorites.  One of our many favorite sections of The Arizona Trail.

The last section of the video is of Brent coming down the previous section.  It is, in case you can not tell, very fast, very steep, freaky, fun.   All the above.

We can take take you here.

You can ride here. 

If you can ride here.

Come join us at Southwest Trekking and let us show you how diverse the Sonoran Desert can be for all your riding pleasures.

Arduous Journeys For Those Who Indulge In Extremes

Southwest Trekking

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Turn up the volume and the resolution as high as your system can handle.  Sit back and enjoy.

Snowy Santa Rita’s!!!!

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

The storms have come, and gone, and now their back again!  Rain has fallen, snow has piled up, a washes have filled.  What a relief to be getting some weather around here.

Last Saturday, myself and some friends (including my pup) attempted to see some snow in the Santa Catalina Mountain range.  However, we were quickly shut down by the “man” with a road closure at the base of the Catalina Highway.  So, we had to come up with a new plan.  So instead of heading north, we went south to the SantaRita mountains.  What a good decision it was.  The Santa Rita mountain range is a little higher than the Santa Catalina’s, and its foothills start at a higher elevation as well.  This all added up to more snow.

We drove in towards Madera Canyon (while driving there, we got to cross the Santa Cruz river twice, and it was raging), and encountered snow almost immediatly.  Eventually the snow was too deep for a 4×4 Jeep, and we had to walk the rest of the way.  By the time we got to the trail head, there was almost 12 inches of snow!  And it just kept getting deeper and deeper the further we went.  Kind of made us wonder how much snow was at the summit.

It’s a rare treat for us desert dwellers to play in snow.  There was so much snow that we were able to make a nice snow shelter (snow fort), and have snow left over for a good ol’ fashioned snowball fight.  It was also the first time my dog got to see snow, and I can safely say he is a huge fan.

This picture was taken on the road, just after we had to park the car.

Another One

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Hi there. My last blog was about cristate (or crested) saguaros. I’m going to touch on that subject again because I found an even more spectacular specimen.

This Carnegia gigantea (otherwise known as saguaro) can be found almost exactly across the canyon from the first I blogged about last time. It is between the Lower Javelina (east leg) and Alamo Springs trail. I had looked for this cactus for some time for I had seen a map indicating is location. While hiking on Lower Javelina trail the cactus is not visible. From Alamo Springs trail you have to know just where to look in order to see it. I however didn’t see it from either trail. I first saw it while hiking down Wild Burro trail. When I first saw it I wasn’t quite sure what it was because of its extreme size. It only took a second to realize just what it was. I saw it at just the right time because the sun was rising right over the ridge it was on. Outlined in the sun it seemed as though it was calling for me. Here I am. I’m only going to give you a second to see me. If you walk any further you will miss me. Fortunately for me I heard it calling.cactus 118

For a cause

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Two weeks ago Southwest Trekking volunteered its services to help raise funds to support the Arizona Trail- an 800+ mile recreational trail connecting mountains, canyons, deserts, forests, and historic sites throughout Arizona as it stretches from Utah to Mexico. The trail provides superb opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts of all types and Southwest Trekking is blessed to have access to the trail within minutes of its doors.

the crew surveys the beginning of the route

the crew surveys the beginning of the route

photo by Chad Brown

photo by Chad Brown

To raise funds, a 38-mile one way mountain bike ride was organized. Those participating made a mandatory donation to the Arizona Trail Association. The donation earned them the opportunity to experience some of the most beautiful and diverse singletrack in southern Arizona with Southwest Trekking providing shuttle services for the cyclists to the start at Box Canyon.

The first climb....of many

The first climb....of many

A view of the Rincon Mountains from the north end of the Santa Ritas

A view of the Rincon Mountains from the north end of the Santa Ritas

Local cyclists Chad Brown and Scott Morris who conduct the Arizona Endurance Series (single and multiday self-supported mountain bike races of extreme distances) organized the fundraiser to support efforts to build and maintain the trail. Several of their races use portions of the Arizona Trail.

Once the ride was finished and everyone had returned safely to their vehicles at the Pistol Hill Trailhead, the grill was fired up and festivities were in order. Jon Shouse, who managed construction of the Las Cienegas portion of the trail, provided everyone who donated a plaque in appreciation of their donation.

Just rewards

Just rewards

It was a fantastic day to be out and SW Trekking was happy to be part of it. Arizona rocks!

Greg, again.

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

Whoaaaaa buddy……. 

Sir Greg strikes again.  (See story below)  Greg put this video together of his ride while visiting in Tucson.  I  might suggest you also go to the youtube version to further check out what else he said about, that, that, John Heiman and his so called business called Southwest Trekking.

Greg, Iam very glad that we were able to pull this together for you.

Come visit Tucson anytime and we will show lots and lots more trails that will rock your socks.  Whatever that means.

I do so hate it when it all comes to together and clients have fun. 

Major bummer.

I am so sorry.

I do have to tell you though that I had agreed with Greg that I would meet him at the end of the trail in a half hour and if he didn’t show up I would come looking for him.  Well, he didn’t show up and I went looking for him.  I didn’t find him.  And now I know why, he spent so much time doing shots of the ride that it took him forever to complete the ride.  And of course when he did finally arrive he didn’t bother explain what had happened.  And of course I didn’t want to ask because, well, I didn’t want to know.  No blood, no broken bones.  So it couldn’t have been that bad. 

It was worth it Greg. 



So that being said.  Thanks Greg for the kind words, even though I do so deserve them.  Rock on baby.

And, below is another video that Greg turned me onto of his other rides.  I have to admit, I am kinda wondering if Greg works at all or if he just tavels and rides his bike.  I am so sorry for your very sad life Greg.

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You yeah, and we like to have fun.  Go figure.

Rain or Shine, the Sonoran Desert is Alive.

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

We finally got some rain!  And I stress the word finally, because our monsoons this year were a little weak, and we are under our average amount of precipitation.  In any event, it finally rained on us in Tucson.  And hopefully, with the El Nino year upon us, we will see some more.

 I’m not the only one who is excited about the rain.  Wildlife all over the desert are relishing in this new moisture.  Hopefully these past few storms have produced enough rain to get the Ocotillo, Brittle Bush, and Tri-Leafed Bush Sage to leaf up in the next few days.  The Saguaro’s are also quite happy, as they start to plump up with all the extra water.  Let’s hope that the recent rains will also be enough to get our wild flowers to germinate.

 The local animals will also be very happy about the rain.  Some species that will be especially happy are Gila Woodpeckers, Thrashers, Mule Deer and the Desert Tortoise, as these rains are the only times they can drink water in abundance.  During these storms, and right after, are excellent times to get out and try and find some wild life that would otherwise be operating on a nocturnal schedule.  I went for a short hike this morning out in the Tucson Mountains and was rewarded with sightings of Bobcat, Mule Deer, and Javalina.

 The higher elevations are receiving snow during these winter storms, which means snow melt in the near future, which in turn means more water.  This snow will hopefully be enough to fill our washes and canyons, and again provide a very important refuge for our wildlife.

 So don’t be scared of the rain, embrace it and get outside.  Not only are the crowds down and the animals out, but you also get the wonderful experience of seeing and smelling the desert in its finest form. 

Southwest Trekking

Guided Hiking and Mountain Biking

JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

We are very excited about all our relationships with all of our partners.  And we are very complemented with our relationship with the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa here in Tucson.  There is some of the best hiking and biking in Southern Arizona, right out their back door.  Road and mountain.

Make sure you down load their link to the biking and hiking map.

Check out the links below and the remainder of their site.

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Thursday, January 21st, 2010

So Greg e-mails and wants to do some mountain biking while in Tucson.  He is here for some training and had to pretty much beg his boss to let him stay an extra day so he could ride.  He has always wanted to ride in The Southwest and here he was, in the Southwest.  Sounds like a great plan.  But, go figure, a monster storm moves into the area pretty much eliminates any chance of going.  Heck they even closed the Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix.  The tenth busiest airport in the country.  To tell you how crazy the weather was.  So, we discuss options, maybe a night ride, maybe he can get off early and we can squeeze even an hour or two in.  The instructor is now teasing him that they may get done early and we can sneek a ride in.  But no, she keeps them until dark.  I could even tell in his e-mails that he was getting desperate to ride.  We had to make this happen.  Alas, I pick him up today at 9AM and the clouds break.  Yahoooo  Lots, and lots of wind 50+ but heck we are riding our bikes in the desert and mountains of the Southwest.

Had Mexican food for lunch after the ride. 

I don’t know, rough day it was.

We had a great time.

Greg, you be bad. 

While riding he is taking video and still shots.  Promises that he will send the video when he completes it.

So I get an e-mail from him later in the day and he attaches a video of where he lives and where he rides.

Check it out.

And no, this is not in Arizona

Could be Northern Arizona, maybe.

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A collage of The Sonoran Desert

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010


I put together a short video/collage of pictures that we took and of pictures sent to us by past clients.  I think it says a lot about what The Sonoran Desert has to offer.  A very complex, diverse enviroment.  Oh yea, it has ways to have a lot of fun too.

Come Trek, hike, bike with us.

Southwest Trekking

Professional Guide Services

Arduous Journeys For Those Who Indulge In Extremes

Bring on the showers

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Well, it looks like rain has come to the desert. We sure can use it. We’ve been in a drought for several years so whenever we can get some moisture it’s a celebration. Not just celebrated by we humans but by every living thing in the desert.

The first thing you notice is the pungent perfume that permeates the air. This is the creosote bush, the desert’s natural incense. There is nothing quite like that smell. It’s something that many desert dwellers long for in those long dry months. It’s a sure sign that relief is here.

This time of year when it rains we get some beautiful annual wildflowers spreading across the desert floor. The javelinas seem to feel a bit more active and the likelihood to see them increases. The saguaros take a big drink and swell up. Storing up to 230 gallons of water to be used after the rains have gone.

So much for the weather report for now. I’m itching to get out there and breathe it all in.

See ya out there
Rick Gray Lead Guide/Southwest Trekking
Ritz Carlton/Dove Mountain