We met near the Gilbert Ray Campground at the trailhead parking lot to leave on this 5 mile round trip hike. Sherwin, Suk, Roger, Nancy, Paul and Toy. Shirley was taking this picture.
In the first five minutes one of these pretty little cholla cactus thorns attached to my shoulder as I brushed by it. Ouch! They don't call these Jumping Cholla for nothing.
You can see how these Cholla are very close to the trail... and one must respect your distance from them as you pass.
In places the ground is distinctively red... red rock.
Shirley had lagged behind us taking some of these great photos... and as I looked back and saw her booting it up the trail, I caught this shot with my iPhone camera, looking back into the sun.
There is a large number of young saguaros... many only 5 feet tall or so in this area. Did you know it can take 50 to 75 years before they get their first arms?
Along the trail we saw Saguaros at all stages of life. One minute they are only 5 feet tall and just starting to grow... next minute you see one like this tired old grandfather in the stage of dying.
As we went along we stopped occasionally for a water break or to visit.
It was just a gorgeous day out here. Perfect for a hike.
At the top of Brown Mountain Toy got this shot of us... I'm pretending to be a Saguaro.
From the summit we could see the Desert Museum.
We have spent many enjoyable hours exploring around this Desert Museum. A great spot to bring your guests.
These two little fish hook barrels had shiny red needles.
When we got to the picnic area close to Desert Museum can you tell I was happy? I am always ready for a picnic. Others were very pleased and impressed to find flushing toilets here.
We could all get around one picnic table, but this was a group of hikers who followed us here today and they needed two tables.
I talked to other hikers along the trail and learned that there was another way back... the Cougar Trail.
So we all thought we should explore that trial today as well.
It turned out to be a great way to go... along the valley floor, not as much climbing and hence we we got back in half the time... and likely less than 5 miles round trip this way.
Not to mention that going home we don't stop to take as many photos.
Toy thought that he would like to climb to the top of this peak.
The trail is really in pretty great shape... and we were very fortunate not to see any rattle snakes today. They say that around the Desert Museum there are a lot of rattle snakes... so watch out!
Back at the parking lot it was Paul's turn to get the cactus needles out... he had picked up several little hitch hikers, so I got out my Letterman pliers out and he made quick work of removing them from his shoes.
Starting back I asked the name of this mountain with the towers on it. Toy, who is very knowledgable was quick to tell me it was Tower Mountain. But getting home when I googled it, there was no Tower Mountain in the Tucson Range. If any one really knows the name, please let me know.
Shirley had fun shooting this with her new polarizing filter. It makes a lot of difference as she rotated the lens taking several shots.
"There are two kinds of climbers, those who climb because their heart sings when they're in the mountains, and all the rest." -Alex Lowe
As we were on the trail coming home I was singing,