A few co-workers of mine have asked repeatedly over the last two years: "when are you going to take us hiking or backpacking?" Not an easy question to answer - got to find something beautiful and relatively easy, but still tough enough to give that sense of accomplishment. Enter Romero Canyon Trail! I'd gone all the way to Lemmon's summit from Catalina State Park a couple years back and I remember how Romero Canyon looked to offer some good backpacking destinations. We set our sights on the "Old Trail Camp" (in the hike description), which lay ~4.5 miles up. Brian and his cousin Michael dropped some serious coin recently at REI to get some gear, and they were itching to use it. Brian in particular had been hiking Piestewa Peak to get in shape, and it paid off. Both of them flew up the trail. My other co-worker Brandt hadn't been hiking in 3 years, so was a little slower, but he persisted up the hills with no complaints. The attitudes across the board were top-notch!
We reached the pools and saw plenty of college kids and families enjoying the spring day. We soaked for awhile and rested before pushing past the Romero Pools. After this, the trail got steeper and less crowded, allowing the crew that "wilderness experience" that they signed up for. The steep climb up the north wall of Romero Canyon tested some legs, but offered bigger views in exchange. Brian and Michael bolted ahead to get to the campsite, while I waited with Brandt. By mid-afternoon, we dropped off the sunny hillsides back into the shady canyon and were greeted by a great campsite. The river was still flowing well through here, and we lounged in the pools in the sun that afternoon, before settling in for the night.
The hike out was much easier on everyone, after we enjoyed cooking up some breakfast burritos. Few hikers on the trail until we made it back to Romero Pools, where the crowds appeared again. As a send-off, we all jumped off the rocks into one of the pools, which had a garter snake swimming around in it....lol.
Nice weekend - glad they had a good time!
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