February 15, 2010

Romero Canyon in the Santa Catalina Mountains

So, it is a sunny 74 degree day at Catalina State Park, so we were thinking, what should we do? So, we decided to head up Romero Canyon which carves its way deep into the Santa Catalina Mountains.

It starts at the valley floor at 2800 feet elevation and ends at the ridgetop at more than 6,000 feet. We certainly were not going to do the more than 14 mile roundtrip to the saddle, but we did head off to the Romero Pools, where a stream gathers in nice swimming holes at about 3600 feet elevation.

The hike is rocky and steep, but it was such a beautiful day. In addition, the first real tangible signs of spring were visible. We saw our first wildflowers including poppies, fairy dusters, and a few unidentified shrubs with white flowers on them. In addition, the new sprouts are really growing fast in this warmth and the first buds have burst into small leaves on the willows, mesquites, and other shrubs.

We also loved the hike in that the ridge above the pools was more than 4000 feet, which meant we got into some higher elevation vegetation including beautiful Arizona live oaks and magnificent sotols.

Hilina had a wonderful time searching for aquatic insects with me in the stream. It was also such a neat site looking up at the 8,000 foot ridge above at the snow covered rocks and clearly visible Douglas firs and Ponderosa Pines above.

You can not ask for a better day than a nice 6 mile round trip climbing 1500 feet, cooling off in the pools, and then returning back "home" to have a beer at sunset!

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