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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Day 52 - Vantana Canyon Trail & Maiden Pools

Yesterday's hike should be classified as a walk as today was a HIKE.

The Meetup Group here went on a hike on the Vantana Canyon trail to Maiden Pools on Wednesday this last week at 7:00 pm so it was a night hike and flashlights were a must.  

I don't like night hikes as I can't chronical them very well without pictures and two, you leave the trailhead for your hike at 7:00 pm and it is at least a 3 hour round trip hike you are getting back to your car at 10:00 then it is 40 minutes to where I park.  It takes me on average 2 hours to write my blog and I would fall asleep with the phone in my hand.

The guy with the dog from yesterday's hike told me this hike to Maiden Pools was a must.

Here is an excerpt of the description of the hike from the Meetup trip.

"The hike is just under 5 miles round trip with about 1300 feet of elevation change (up on the way in, down on the way out). Bring plenty of water, something to snack on, and a camera if you like."

I hiked it today and it is closer to 3 miles.  The meetup I did a few weeks ago the host was also short on the projected distance and time.  

Folks this is not an easy stroll down some canyon path.  It is exactly one mile from the trailhead parking through land easements (although most is very nice) to get to the gate to the park.  Then one mike of steady climbing and rocky patches the the last mile is switchbacks up 1300 feet.  It is very rocky in the trail.  I am glad I wore my hiking boots.

I arrived at 7:30 am so it was cool to start and you can see the shadows.

You follow the brook for a significant ways before leaving it and climbing high into the canyon.

At this point I am thinking these are the pools but then remember I need to go 1300 feet up.  So far I may have climbed a few hundred feet vertical.

I am starting to climb now up the side of the canyon on switchback trails.

The sun is getting higher and so am I.  I am not quite yet to the pools and look at my elevation gain.

This is what is ahead of me.

Lots of beautiful scenery.  You can see I am now in the sun.

I'm nearly at the elevation for Maiden Pools.  Looking back to where I started and the City of Tucson beyond.

There were a lot of spring flowers along the way.

This couple came upon me in this high grass area just planning to take a break and eat an apple.  

We had a conversation and they had been here before and said Maiden Pools was just on the other side of this hill.  It turned out to be about a 1/4 mike away.

I arrived at the pools, well they are down there.  You can see the couple that passed me.

Ok, now I arrived.

This is where the water has run down the canyon for the age of time and carved out these very smooth surfaces.

The couple offered to take my photo and I took one of them in return.

We entered into a conversation if I was planning on climbing further up the canyon trail and I had only put 3 miles on.  They too were planning to climb higher. 

I hiked with them for awhile and eventually slipped back to take pictures and just take it a bit slower.

I just kept hiking further and further to the back of the canyon.

The trail followed the brook crossing it here and there and sometimes the water was in the stream bed and other times it was not there but it was.  It was running under the riverbed sand.

I know when it's time to turn around and it is when I start tripping as I am not lifted my legs high enough.  I checked my gps and it was 6.9 miles so I went to 7 miles and it was about 3 hours into the hike.  

I turned around and hiked back the same trail.  I met 2 young couples going up above the pools as I was coming down.

When I got to the pools again there were more people there now,  some I had passed on my way this am.

I didn't stop at the pools going down, but kept going passing more and more people climbing for the view of the pools.

You can see some clouds came in over the mountains as they often do afternoon.

People would stop and ask me how close they were.  When they were only about a half a mile from it I gave them encouragement.

The ones that hadent started up the switchbacks I was realistic and said it was still a mile ahead.

I met a couple around one of these corners about a mile and a half in.  Both had baby carriers on their backs and they asked how much further.  I told they they were half way and the second half was a steep climb.  They opted to turn around. The trailhead information doesn't do a good job of giving distance to the pools.

I am just about 1/2 mile left to my hike and I am beat.  

I arrived at my Priusmobile/home and took the hiking boots off and put on flip flops.

Then I made a sandwich and as I was doing that the couple I had hiked with came by and they had gone about a mile or two beyond me and came back.  They said they were beat too and ready for a beer. That sounded good but I was headed to the Pilot Truckstop for a needed shower.

My hike was 7 miles out and 7 miles back for a 14 mile round trip.  I did it in just under 5.5 hours total time not moving time.

I climbed 3350 feet vertical.  That is about 2000 feet higher than the pools.

After my shower I went to the laundromat  and after that I went to Walmart to buy groceries for the next few days.  Then I stopped at the park to make dinner and put food and laundry away.  Finally back to where I park for the night.

My legs are tired tonight so no hikes tomorrow.  I will just see what comes to me for something to do tomorrow morning.


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