Doesn’t happen often, but it does happen on a rare occasion. And today was one of those foggy days. As we were walking on the morning hike at the Marriott, when all of a sudden we were flodded with a dense layer of fog as it came rolling up the hills from the valley floor. And while it doesn’t last long, the dew collected on the spines of cactus does help hydrate the plants, as well as provide moisture to birds and animals. So luckily I had my camera, and was able to take a few photos of this rare occurance. All this fall moisture should help us have some colour in the spring.
Posts Tagged ‘JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort’
In an effort to better promote the Sunrise and Sunset Hike offered at the JW Marriott Resort and Spa, Southwest Trekking has been making an effort to take out the resort staff on the hiking trails in the Tucson Mountain Park. With the Lorane Lee Hidden Canyon and Bowen Trail heads literally 200 yards from the front door, the JW Marriott Resort and Spa has some of the best on site hiking found in Tucson.
Southwest Trekking offers a complementary one hour Sunrise (departing at 7:00am) and Sunset (departing at 5:00pm) Hike to all guests staying at the resort. Depending on group size and ability, we will either hike the Bowen or Lorane Lee Hidden Canyon trail. Both hikes offer stunning views of the amazingly rich Sonoran Desert and a knowledgeable guide to explain the unique fauna and flora found in the region. The morning hike allows guests the chance to start their day with some fresh air and exercise, while the Sunset Hike offers a chance to view the setting sun in a truly scenic setting.
This morning, I had the opportunity to take Steve, the concierge from the JW Marriott Resort and Spa, out on the morning hike. Steve was ambitious and I was itching to get in a little walk, so we were able to make it out to the stone house located 1.5 miles in on the Bowen Trail. It was Steve’s first time seeing the stone house, and I’m quite sure he was as impressed as I was the first time I saw it. We had a nice morning exchanging interesting facts about the city of Tucson and the Sonoran Desert while strolling through some of the most amazing stands of Saguaro Cactus found in the area. It was an eye opener for Steve as to how accessible and immense the trail system is out in the Tucson Mountain Park, and how diverse the vegetation is along the entire hike.
Unfortunately we didn’t get to see any animals this morning, save for a few trail runners and one dog, but it’s not uncommon to spot some Javalina, Mule Deer, and coyote on the trails in the early morning. Steve mentioned that he could now understand why having a guide was important and beneficial to the guests; not only do we know where we are going, but we can also explain some of the interesting characteristics of the Sonoran Desert. This was the whole reason for taking the staff out on the trails, so they could actually know how amazing the hiking is located at the JW Marriott Resort and Spa. I took this as a success.
As more and more hotel staff start joining us on the morning hikes, I’m sure we’ll see the popularity of the hike go up. And the reason is simple, once you get to experience this amazing desert, you can’t stop talking about it. If you are staying at the JW Marriott in Tucson, I encourage you to join us for one of our complementary hikes. It’s also important to remember that there is amazing mountain biking right out the front door of the hotel as well. If you ride, or want to ride, talk to a Southwest Trekking guide when you check in for more information.
Here is some information to a new trail I found out in the Tucson Mountain Park. There is always something new to find out there, and this was a real treat. It hosts some technical riding, and some great views. However, it’s rather steep and technical in sections, with pretty good drops, so be careful not to biff it going through the hard bits. This short new section of trail offers more advance riders the opportunity to change up their rides by allowing you to bypass some of the Bowen Trail.
I accessed this trail by leaving from the JW Marroitt at Starr Pass and getting on the Bowen Trail. I rode the Bowen/Yetman Trail past the stone house, through the wash, and up to the saddle. At this point you can go straight (takes you down [riding towards the water storage tank that you can see] to the Starr Pass trail which is marked with a wooden sign), go right which eventually pitters out into nothing, or go left. Take the left (almost a U turn) and follow the trail until you merge up with the Bowen Trail.
I have included a link to where you can find a map and more details about the ride. Copy and paste it into your web browser, and you are a-for-away. If you have an account with Trimble Outdoors, you can download this file to your Garmin or simular GPS unit. Good luck and happy trails.
Is it hot here these days or what? And to a year round local, it’s also muggy by our standards. Time to sweat, and sweat, and sweat, then shower and sweat some more. It makes perfect sense to sweat when it’s 100+ degrees and our humidity is creeping up, so don’t worry, I’m not embarrassed in the slightest. I bring up sweating because of two reasons: One, it makes you stink, and if any of you hang around me in the next few months, I apologize in advance. Two, it cools you down. Most mammals sweat, either through skin or paws, and it also cools them down and makes them stink.
Where am I going with this you may ask? Well, on my morning hike at the JW Marriott I was sweating profusely and enjoying the relatively cooler temperatures (82 F at 6am), guiding a mom and her son in the wonderful sonoran desert. They were eager to go, and I was already sweating, so we went a little furthur up the trail than we usually go. When they decided to split off and finish a certain trail, I had to turn around a get back to the resort. Since we had gone out a little further than usual, I decided I’d just run back to the hotel. . . you know, really get the sweat going.
So off I go, running down the trail, and actually enjoying it when all of a sudden a deer runs RIGHT in front of me. I mean this guy missed me by a few inches, I was even privileged enough to smell his sweat. It scared the living daylights out of me for a second, but once the adrenaline calmed down I was able to appreciate his beauty a little more. The Mule Deer found here are, for the most part, much like white tail deer you find in the east. However, they do have rather large ears, and are a little smaller than white tale deer. It was a real treat to be so close to this large mammals as he was gracefully strolling around while eating grasses and leaves. What boggles my mind about these large animals is that they have to go months without any real source of water. Although we have entered our Monsoon season, most of the city has yet to feel any rain drops. And seeing as the last spring rain we had was in early April, these poor creatures have been surviving solely off water found in the vegetation. Quite an amazing feat seeing as most of our vegetation is extremely drought resistant, and usually doesn’t have any ample amount of moisture in it.
Anyway, that’s what my morning was like – dodging deer.
Ok so this one may seem odd. I was changing a flat on one of our mountain bikes out at the JW Marriott Starr Pass, when there on the tire I saw my first cicada of the year. So I quickly went on line to do some res earch on them for this entry. I was intrigued by what I found. The cicadas in our area are called 17 year cicadas, because as larva they attach to tree roots and only after 17 tree cycle years will they emerge only to breed once then die. The female lays her eggs in a twig. once mature the larva drop to the ground burrow in and attach themselves to the trees roots. Then the cycle starts over again. Here are some excerpts from Wikipedia.
A cicada (pronounced /sɪˈkɑːdə/ or pronounced /sɪˈkeɪdə/) is an insect of the order Hemiptera, suborder Auchenorrhyncha, in the superfamily Cicadoidea, with large eyes wide apart on the head and usually transparent, well-veined wings.
Cicadas are benign to humans in normal circumstances and do not bite or sting in a true sense, but may in fact “sting” after mistaking a person’s arm or other part of their body as a tree or plant limb and attempt to feed.
Many people around the world regularly eat cicadas; the female is prized, as it is meatier. Cicadas have been (or are still) eaten in Ancient Greece, China, Malaysia, Burma, Latin America, and the Congo.
What I said edible? But only in remote places right? No I found many great recipes and some articles from Cincinnati. Here is a link to a site with lots of info and recipes.
This is one of their recipes I will be trying very soon and I will give you a review.
1/2 tsp cumin
3 tsp taco seasoning mix
1 handful cilantro, chopped
Taco shells, to serve
Shredded cheddar cheese
On the sunrise hike at the JW Marriott Starr Pass I had two guests from Seattle. It was a beautiful morning and equally wonderful hike. As we neared the pavement and end of our hike, One of the guests remarked that she really wanted to see some wildlife, a coyote or something. I simply said they are elusive and usually seen near dawn and dusk. About an hour later I saw them again, they said they had gone for a second hike and still nothing. Towards the end of my shift I went back out on trail searching for a blog topic and there in the trail, just looking over at me was a happy coyote. I thanked him for the visit and hiked on.
This morning I arrived early at the JW Marriott Starr Pass, so I went out on trail to find ripe hedgehogs. On my way down the trail I was delighted to find a bobcat cruising up the wash. Being a very solitary shy creature it made its way up the wash ahead of me only allowing occasional glimpses before it disappeared, using its camouflage, in plain sight. The bobcat (Lynx rufus)can be identified most readily by its short bob-tail which is 2 to 8 inches long. The tail has black fur on top and is white on the underside. It has a wide flat face with long fur on the cheek area. It has long legs and big paws. Its color ranges from an orange-ish brown to pale gray with black spots and bars on it legs and chest and less noticeable spots throughout its body. Overall size is 15 to 30 pounds at 2-3 feet long.
If you happen upon a Bobcat in the desert grab your chihuahua and enjoy the moment of beauty as it slips from view.
Randy Young, Southwest Trekking Guide
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.
Guided Hiking and Mountain Biking
Check out this short movie of a guided hike we did outside the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa.