Archive for July, 2011

Summer Training

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

In Tucson we are known for our excellent winter time training but what do we do in the summer? Of course any hardcore outdoor enthusiast would probably brave the 100+ degree temperatures and continue to ride/hike/or run. But maybe a more sensible person would try something different for their summer time training; You could go out early in the morning or even at night with lights. You could hit the indoor rock gym to maintain some of that arm and finger strength for when you do have the opportunity to escape to higher mountains. You can also try the regular gym with free weights, P90x or CrossFit routines.

What I have been experimenting with is the Complete Guide to Navy Seal Fitness/12 weeks to BUDS. Now, even if you are not deciding to become a Navy operator, any workout which requires over 100 pullups, 200pushups, 300 situps and then run a couple miles will be sure to keep you in shape for anything. Therefore, if you are looking for outdoor activities with some of the fittest and most professional guides, be sure to link up with Southwest Trekking and we’ll be sure to show you a good time. Or die trying…


SWTrekking, Lead Guide


Friday, July 29th, 2011

Tiger Rattler


Black Racer

Gila Monster, Yes, MONSTER

Here are some “herpte-fauna” seen out by the Saguaro plot….


Yesterday morning Kevin Horstman & I “sheparded” one of your friends across the road – this one about a

foot in length at just after 7:00 AM!     I particularily liked the “reticulated” patterning on its body.


This past Monday, 25 July, Kevin & I ran across this Tiger rattler low on the hillslope adjacent to the plot at

7:48 AM.     At about 18 inches long, this one is at the low end of their adult maximum size.


And, way back on Tuesday, 05 July, we moved this nice Black racer off of its exposed sunning spot

on the road.


The monsoon here has “dialed back” over the last week or so but the vegetation has really accelerated

its growth with the moisture and nighttime heat.     There are  some summer blooming plants starting

to flower now – Arizona Blue Eyes, Desert Zinnia, Janusia, Cooper’s Paperflower, Coulter’s Hibiscus,

& others.

Cielos Azul!

A Night Ride

Thursday, July 28th, 2011



Brent and I went out for a ride, started out at dusk and continued into the dark.  We took cameras, this is what our initial effect resulted in.  We learned a lot.  We will be back with more later.

John Heiman


Southwest Trekking


Professional Guide Services

Come Trek with us.


Oh for goodness sakes!

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

So I hate to say it, but we’ve gotten some calls recently that some hotel guests have been getting lost on our trails, and in some cases needed to be “rescued”. I won’t name names, because I don’t want individuals or establishments to be called out, but these people broke most of the rules one would follow when heading out into the desert. So trying to not sound condescending, here are some pointers for HIKING in the desert during summer months.

1. It gets hot.  Really hot.  I mean really really hot.  If you’re from Florida or Texas, you still don’t know what hot is until you’re roasting under the afternoon sun in temps over 110 degrees with absolutely no shade.  Oh, and “It’s a dry heat” doesn’t help you when you dehydrated.  And one more bit of science, the ground gets even hotter as the superheated air gets trapped within the fist few inches from the surface.  Almost 20 degrees hotter.  I’ve seen peoples soles actually melt off of their shoes.  Don’t be that guy and think you can handle the heat.  No one can.  Ever wonder why desert animals are nocturnal?

2.  It is dry.  You won’t find water along most of our trails.  And during the summer, this is even more exagerated.  If you forgot water, you’re pretty much screwed.  You won’t find a stream or puddle down here in the desert.  And that myth of getting water out of a cactus is exactly just that, a myth.  Most cacti are high in alkalines making them rather poisionous to humans.  Moral of the story, take WATER with you and take MORE THAN YOU THINK YOU’LL NEED!

3.  The sun can kill.  This goes back to #1.  It gets really hot.  Heat stroke can kill, and it happens more than you would think.  And in an environment such as a desert, it happens even faster.  Not to mention the horrendous sun burns it causes.  So keep it off of you by wearing long sleeve shirts and a hat.  It can be almost 20 degrees cooler in the shade, and since there aren’t really shade trees on our trails, you’re gonna have to make your own with a wide brimmed hat.  It’s also much cooler in the early morning (5am), so plan outdoor activities for the early hours.

4.  Don’t get lost.  Any fun outing can quickly turn into a disaster if you get lost.  Our terrain, while very beautiful, often looks similar wherever you go.  So take a map, and probably a compass.  If you don’t have a compass, take your phone but don’t relay on a signal.  Don’t count on trail signs to get you around during your hike as they often “move” or disappear, and especially so in county run parks.  Trail signs are not always a given.  Get a map, understand where you’re starting from and where you’re planning on going.  If you do get lost, at least you’ll have the right tools to get out.

5.  Ever see 127 hours?  Make sure to tell someone where you are planning on hiking.  If you haven’t, at least leave a note on your call with the following information: Date and time of departure, intended route, and number of people in your party.  That way, if you don’t come back to your car, instead of a Park Ranger giving you a ticket for violating the parking lot hours, they’ll send someone out looking for your party.  If you’re stranded in our desert without water during our summers, you’ll be lucky if you make it through two days.  So every minute counts in a rescue situation.

6.  Heed advice of others.  Take it all with a grain of salt, but if an experienced trail guide tells you heading out at 2pm for a 5 mile hike when it’s over 100 degrees is a bad idea, they’re probably right.

Exercise the common sense and follow these basic rules and you’ll be fine.  Be safe and have fun out there.


Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

I saw a poor old tarantula smooshed today in a parking lot. Oh those big ‘ol spiders don’t stand a chance against a 2-3 ton vehicle. I’m hopeing that the driver was doing something other than paying attention when it happened, and that they didn’t run it over on purpose.

What was he doing in the parking lot? Well, it’s hard to believe but he was searching out a sweet little lady tarantula to mate with. Once the male spider has reached sexual maturity he goes out wandering to find a mate, often times traveling upwards of 50 miles. Once he finds a female, they mate, and usually get eaten by the female tarantula. During this time these male spiders are also very vulnerable to predators as they are usually out in the open, and sometime travel in large groups. So if you see them crossing a road or in a parking lot, try and avoid them. There’re probaly on their way out anyway, so let them have one last hurrah.

Coach whip

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

I was hiking down the trail today when across my path crossed a beautiful over six foot long coach whip snake. A beautiful black shimmering creature. Masticophis flagellum is their technical name. They are common in our area although seldom seen due to very quick movements and a fear of large animals. They can reach 8 feet in length and are non venomous and swallow their pray alive. Usually small rodents.

Randy Young/ Southwest Trekking Guide

Time to Bike

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Thankfully the Santa Catalina mountain is still open to the public. So there is no excuse to not get your body up to the top and hop on a bike.
While the desert is unbearibly hot during the summer, there are still lots of higher elevation trails found in our beloved Catalina Range that provide users great outings at much more comfortable temps. 105 too hot down in the basin for? Then about 75 degrees in the shady forests on the top of Mount Lemmon? For me, the decision is easy. So here is a list of some of my favorit trails that you can ride this time of year that wont leave you completly cooked afterwards:
1. Mt. Lemmon trail to Aspin Draw – Great riding in the pines, intermediate to advanced. If you park at the Ski Slope Parking, you’ll have to do some riding on the road.
2. Butterfly Trail – A much more challengeing trail is around 8,000ft in elevation and north facing. Some of it goes through burned out forest, so it gets sunny, but still very rideable.
3. Green Mt to Bug to Molino Basin – Hands down one of my favorite rides. You can do any one of these sections by themselves, or link em up. If you want to be awesome, then park at Molino Basin and ride up molino and bugs, then the road up to green mountain. You’ll feel like a hero if you do, and then bomb down. Green is the most technical, then bug, and molino is the easiest. So you can choose your poision.

That’s the top three I will share, but we know many more here at SWT. So give us a ring, we’ll take you there.

I Went For A Ride

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

It was early, it was hot.  I went fast, I went slow.  I had fun, I was scared, at times.  I lived, I almost died, at least I thought I might.  I walked, I rode.  I screamed.

John Heiman


Southwest Trekking

Come Ride/Hike with us.

Professional Guide Services


Click on the picture for a better view.

I Started Out Early


I Like My Bicycle

The Ocotillo Are Leafing Out

It’s Rained!!!!!

Friday, July 8th, 2011

And not a moment too soon. The monsoons have offically started with three consecutive days with a dew point of 55 and higher, and we have had some pretty impressive thunderstorms move through.  These almost tropical storms are dropping lots of rain onto a very dry and thirsty landscape, which have helped extinguish some of these seemingly endless wild fires.

Another awesome thing that’s happened due to these storms is that the Santa Catalina Mountains are open to the public again!!!! This is great news for any Tucson local who enjoys hiking, biking, or rock climbing. So give us a buzz, let us take you to new places. 

Happy 4th

Monday, July 4th, 2011

While riding up Lemmon the other week it was surprising to me how quite and tranquil the road was. As I ascended off the desert floor into the White Pine and Juniper, I soon remembered that all of the Coronado National forest had been closed due to the dramatic fire season in Arizona. It is shocking to think of those who have lost their homes this year due to the weather; from flooding, tornadoes, and wildfire.

So in spirit of the holiday weekend, I would simply ask that we reflect of some of the greatest joys and wonders which this nation provides. And I hope that we do not take for granted those little things which make our unique surroundings special. So when lost in our own musings on the mountain, think of ways to appreciate most.