January 31 we left Borrego Springs, CA and headed east on I-8. After an overnight stop in a dusty old RV park in the little crossroads town of Dateland, AZ, we arrived in Tucson and quickly set up in our new home in Lazydays KOA.
We have stayed here many times as we really enjoy the Tucson area. It has great weather (for the winter), plenty of hikes in the numerous mountain ranges nearby, and good stores and restaurants. The day after our arrival we headed a few miles to the west to do a short four mile hike in the Robles Pass area of Tucson Mountain Park. We’ve hiked the Flight Path Trail section of the park a few times during previous visits and knew it was a good place to stretch our legs a bit. Plus the nimble hiker was anxious to get back among the numerous saguaros along this trail.
Dave and Sue (Beluga’s Excellent Adventure) arrived in the park the day after we did and Steve and Mona Liza (Lowes RV Adventures) came in a couple of days later. The group met up at Mariscos Chihuahua Restaurant, a few miles west of the park, to share recent travels and recognize MonaLiza’s recent “39th” birthday.
With Dave and Sue nearby we are still treated with visits from Lewis, who loves to chase a ball around the inside of our motorhome.
Days later, with temperatures in Tucson climbing into the 80s, we decided to go up into the Catalina Mountains to do some hiking in the cooler temperatures. The nimble hiker did some research and found the perfect hike to the top of Mt. Bigelow. To get to the trail we drove up the scenic Catalina Highway into the Catalina Mountains.
The road winds its way up through the mountains from Tucson (2,500′) to Mt. Lemmon (8,800′). Every visitor to Tucson needs to take this beautiful drive (27 miles) while in the area.
Just past mile marker 17 we parked in the San Pedro Vista lot and found the trailhead at the north end of the parking area.
Immediately upon leaving the parking area the trail began to climb steeply up into the rocks.
After about a mile our destination came into view in the distance. Mt. Bigelow (8,552′) is easily identified by the many communication towers located on the peak.
As we hiked up the trail we enjoyed some beautiful views to the north.
At times the trail ran easily through the trees, while at other times (most of the time) it went sharply up through the rocks.
We finally made it to the top, where we enjoyed lunch with a view while looking down on Tucson far below us.
From our perch on top of the mountain, we could see most of metropolitan Tucson, including Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. With binoculars we could easily see the aircraft boneyard located on the base. The facility takes care of nearly 4,000 aircraft, which makes it the largest aircraft storage and preservation facility in the world.
As we returned back down the trail we could see a climber on a rock formation called the Ridgeline. Can you see him in the photo below?
How about now?
Bet you can see him now!
After hiking almost six miles at 8,000′ with an elevation change of about 1,500′ we felt that we deserved a treat. So we made our way back down the Catalina Highway and into Tucson where we found one of those chain coffee houses out of Seattle. Sitting in front of the store enjoying a refreshing drink we could see Mt. Bigelow in the distance. It’s just to the right of the light pole in the photo below.
A little “zoom” on the camera helps bring it into view.
We’ll be in Tucson until the end of the month so we’re sure to have more adventures to share in future posts. More on that later . . .