Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hiking Pistol Hill

This morning looked like a great day to take another try at hiking Pistol Hill. In the background is Rincon peak... it still has a skiff of snow on it.  I was close to the top of Rincon just last Thursday.

Last week Shirley and I took a try at climbing to the top of Pistol Hill, but hiked up the road to the satellite towers and there was no trail to the top. We tried just scrambling up the hill between the cactus... but soon gave up and decided there had to be a better way. Today we found it.

As we started our hike a young man and his dog were just coming off the trail... so I talked to him. He runs the hill every week or so.  Good for him! He helped us get off on the right route to the top.

As we started to climb a part of our hike was in the early morning shadow side.

Shirley found this heart beside the cactus, so we took a picture and left the rock for others to enjoy.

Our lighting this morning was great for taking pictures.  Good contrast... nice shadows.

We saw a couple of these guys along the trail. Don't know who he was... but it reminded me of petals of a dead sunflower.

There were many Common Sotol on Pistol Hill.

I should have put a coin on the rock to help to show the size... which is about 8 or 9 inches across. You can see how it was split apart... and the beautiful white quartz was sandwiched between a reddish stone. A part of me wanted to take it home with me. But I just took a picture and left it there.

Since I'm working on a design in rock facing a wall, I am taking about 4-500 pounds of white quartz back to Canada... and it didn't take me very long to collect it.

I need help to know what shrub this is.

Shirley gave me her best smile as she came up the trail, surrounded by Common Sotol and Ocotillo.

I took a few shots of the dead flower of the Common Sotol.

You can see the stalk coming up from the base of the Sotol.

Close up of the Sotol.

On the top of Pistol Hill Shirley is scanning the horizon in the distance.

We could see 360 degrees around us... and to the south behind this stone cairn, the Santa Rita's.

Saguaro's don't grow on top of Rincon... but they are plentiful on Pistol Hill.

A survey pin on the top said Pima County, Monument No. 3

Tucson is surrounded by four mountain ranges... and we could see most of them from here. To the east is the Rincon Mountain Range.

To the south is the is the Santa Rita's... with Mt. Wrightston.

To the west is the Tucson Mountains and to the north and north-east is the Santa Catalina's with Mt. Lemmon... the whitest to the right.

On the way down I got a shot of a die-hard Ocotillo that just wouldn't stop blooming. Does it not know it's December?

We were almost back at the truck when I came upon this agave... and asked Shirley to stand beside it to give some scale to the plant.

This is the flower and fruit part of the agave.

And this is the base.

"My most memorable hike could be classified as 'Shortcuts that Backfired'."

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