I knew the moment I stepped out of the car in the trailhead parking lot that the Arizona summer was upon me. The sun singed my bare shoulders in its far from subtle announcement that 105 degree weather had arrived. Undaunted, I laced up my Danners, wrapped my head with my v-shirt, scooped up my modest 1.5 liters of water, and began moving my boots into the Catalina Mountains.
The first mile or so was a pleasant nature hike along a well traveled path made of soft beach sand. The grade matured into a rocky staircase shortly after mile one and, from there, ebbed and flowed with stone steps and flat, cliff-side walkways. Just as the heat was beginning to steal some of my vigor, I caught a glimpse of the water at the canyon base. My strength instantly renewed, and I charged the last 1/4 mile of the undulating path until it fully descended into the canyon.
At first glance, the Pools did not appear sanitary or welcoming, but after closer inspection (including the splashing of some of the cool water on my now sun burnt body). I realized it was a literal oasis. I geared down and eased into the second pool, emitting a sigh of relief that had been an hour in the making. The "spot" could not have been "hit" any harder. According to some of the local visitors, there is ample camping nearby, but I did not take time to investigate or check with the rangers to see if camping is permitted.
I did, however, have the unfortunate experience of meeting a young guy who was mourning the loss of one of his dogs. He had brought 5 pooches up the mountain on this exceedingly hot day without adequate water. One of his poor pups succumbed to the heat along the way. As I felt sufficiently hydrated, and empathetic, I gave the young guy the last of my water, wished him well, and headed back. When I reached the parking lot, I called his brother and told him of the situation. I hope the cavalry was able to help. From that day on, I now promise to carry with me a TUB (Trail Underestimator Bottle) of water for the ill prepared when hiking in the AZ summer.