Two young employees at La Casita Molina, the venerable neighborhood restaurant that I have been frequenting for 30 years in southwest Tucson, requested I take them hiking, after listening to stories of my adventures this summer. I finally had a weekend where I stayed home and didn't go camping somewhere, so we set this up. Originally I was going to take them up Wrightson, but due to time constraints for Chelsey (she had to be at work by 5pm), it was decided to do this loop instead. This is probably a way more involved hike than you would usually take newbies on, but I was counting on their youth to pull them through.
Turns out they did just fine. The journey up to Hopkins via Vault Mine Trail is brutally steep, and it was slow going for Chelsey, while Zack was having less trouble. But patiently, and with much encouragement, we made it to Agua Caliente Saddle for a much needed break before grinding out the next part. We made it to the observatory on top, took some pictures and then walked the road back to the picnic area for another break, before heading down. I was counting on them being able to pick up the pace on the return, which they did. Got back to the car at 230pm (we started at 910am), which was just right to get her back home in plenty of time to get ready for work. I'll bet she is bragging about what she did in the Santa Ritas today right now at the restaurant!
Hats off to Zack and Chelsey, they rocked on a tough hike!