Posts Tagged ‘Winter’

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!

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

Winter is Coming

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Over the past few weeks the Tucson area has seen a mesurable amount of rain, These winter rains are generally more gental, and occur for longer durations than the monsoons, doing a better job of soaking the soil. These rains, especailly in November and early December, start the germination process for many species of wild flowers. (If you are trying to grow wildflowers in the Tucson area, now is the time to get them planted.) With some luck and more rain, we will see the benifit of this precious moisture late Febuary and into March with wonderful displays of wildflowers and Palo Verde trees blooming.

With rain in the valey, we can also expect snow in the higher elevations of our surrounding mountain ranges. This snow is extreemly important for both the high country and the desert. As the snow melts, it will collect in rivers and basins, eventually feeding our canyons which are dry most of the year. A few amazing places to view these temporary rivers are Sabino Canyon, Mila Grossa Canyon, Auga Caliente Canyon and Ventanna Canyon. These rivers supply gallons upon gallons of fresh water to the repairin vegitation growing on the banks, as well as animals found at all elevations in the Sonoran desert. Make sure to tread lightly around these precious streams as many species relay on them to survive.wash