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Window Traverse (Esperero-Ventana Cyn), AZ

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191 23 1
Guide 23 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson N
Rated
4.3
4.3 of 5 by 12
 
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Difficulty 5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Shuttle 15.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,740 feet
Elevation Gain 4,539 feet
Accumulated Gain 4,863 feet
Avg Time Hiking 10 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 31.51
Interest Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Will recalculate on button tap!
11  2018-02-23
Esperero to Window Peak
markthurman53
25  2016-10-04
Window Peak
air
4  2016-02-13 HandsomeRob
11  2014-03-28 rvcarter
30  2013-12-07 GrottoGirl
24  2012-12-11 Gardka31
15  2011-11-08 PrestonSands
1  2011-03-12 walkalot
Page 1,  2
Author fricknaley
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 383
Photos 3,724
Trips 2,743 map ( 18,146 miles )
Age 43 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Co-Author Jeffshadows
co-author avatarGuides 28
Routes 20
Photos 672
Trips 169 map (1,088 Miles)
Age 41 Male Gender
Location Old Pueblo
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Preferred   Apr, May, Oct, Nov → 6 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:09am - 6:26pm
Official Route
 
0 Alternative
 
Water
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Geology Nearby
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The Ultimate Pusch Ridge Powerhouse
by fricknaley & Jeffshadows

It has been said that it is pointless to argue the difficulty rating of a trail with another hiker. All hikers are different, have different levels of conditioning, think different things contribute to the physicality of a trail. The standard logic does not apply to the Esperero trail of the Catalinas. When undertaken in its entirety, Esperero is the most difficult trail in the Front Range...and perhaps the most rewarding. Its course passes a number of well-known landmarks in the eastern Front Range, and offers views that cannot be matched of parts of the Catalinas few will ever see, while it relentlessly climbs just over 4500 feet and then steeply descends to a formation known as the Window.


The Esperero trail comes with history as well as splendor. To be completely accurate, the true course of the trail starts west of Sabino Canyon road, although its course is now interdicted by roads and houses. Perusing a circa-1960's map of the area one will find the true course of Esperero actually began in the foothills much below the current park boundaries in Esperero wash. The trail itself was blazed by the Forest Service in 1924 for equestrian use and called the Dixie Saddle Trail. By the 1950's, topographic maps of the area list the trail as the "Ventura Esperero Trail, Twenty-Five". The loose translation being "Trail of Fortune and Hope". One account of how the trail got this name concludes it had to do with Spanish miners expecting to find silver in the canyon in the 1800's. The Ventura name can still be seen, as can "Esperero Canyon Trail"; however, the Forest Service officially calls the trail "Esperero, Twenty-Five".

Two schools of thought exist about how to get to the trailhead, which lies just beyond the Cactus Picnic Area in Sabino Canyon; the simpler of the two being to follow either the Phoneline trail or paved road until you reach the turn for the picnic area. The other being taking the first section of Lower Bear until you run into the "continuation" of the Esperero trail, which connects to the right after about 300 meters. Either option leads to the signed junction between the trail and the paved road, which is where this description begins. The trail follows the wash and passes the Cactus picnic area, which offers water and restrooms. It immediately begins to climb over the low hills and drops into Rattlesnake Canyon where it approaches a junction with one section of the Rattlesnake trail, which was once much longer. The Rattlesnake trail goes right (east) and returns to the paved roadway, the Esperero trail goes left (west). This area is heavily used and many side trails exist.

Just after the junction the trail beings hill climbing again, and winds its way westward, eventually dropping down into Bird Canyon. This area can be lush after rainstorms. The trail then beings climbing the ridge above, and to the west, of Bird canyon and then begins ascending the ridgeline above Bird and Esperero canyons. It finally drops onto the east ridge above Esperero and hugs this ridge for roughly a mile, climbing gradually and offering great views of the canyon below. The trail then breaks away from the canyon into a side drainage and climbs towards Mt. Miguel. This section of the trail is grassy and flanked by patches of shindaggers. The trail approaches a wall to the north of the drainage and begins switch-backing its way upward. This section is known as "Cardiac Gap" by some local hiking guide books. It's over before you know it.

Standing on the ridge just opposite Mt. Miguel, Tucson is now in full view to the south and your eventual destination towers over you to the north. Esperero canyon is just west and you will circle your way around to meet it. Great views of waterfalls and the riparian nature of the canyon are available all along this stretch. The trail loses a small amount of elevation, and then begins gradually climbing again, with a few steep steps, as it winds its way west, then back east over the canyon below. After roughly a mile, the trail crosses a series of rock steps and passes several small boulders, entering into a grassy area known as "Geronimo Meadow". This area is frequently host to campers. Just beyond the meadow the trail drops into Esperero stream.

This section of the trail is perhaps the most pleasant of all. Although it is still gaining elevation, this is the only section of Esperero that can arguably be called "level". The trail follows the stream course, crossing it several times, while shaded by oak and sycamore. Water is frequently present in the stream, and the area is adorned with wildflowers when in season. Now at just over 5000 feet, the weather is much milder, as well. After roughly nine-tenths of a mile, a sign indicating the presence of Mormon Spring is encountered. The spring itself is off to the right of the trail and consists of the standard concrete cistern, usually full of brackish water. The trail continues along the stream for another half-mile until the canyon seems to widen and the trail encounters an obvious campground complete with fire ring. Just to the left of this campground is Bridal Veil Falls. The Falls are usually just a spray of water dripping down several rock ledges and forming a small pool, but have been known to be torrential after heavy rains. They are surrounded by a sandy area with many great places to sit and take it all in. Hummingbirds, butterflies, and wildflowers graced the falls when we visited the area in May.

After returning to the trail, the shaded canyon begins to disappear behind you and the trail begins to climb along a ridge projecting into Esperero canyon. This section of trail is fairly exposed and the trail begins to offer many opportunities for slips and falls in its sandy and loosely-packed bottom skirting the ridge. The climb persists for just short of a mile and approaches another wooded area. In the center of this wooded area stands the junction with the Cathedral Rock trail, which disembarks to the right (east). Continue along the Esperero trail, which now begins to climb toward Window Peak.

For the next (roughly) one and a quarter miles, the trail climbs steeply up a series of switchbacks and ridge climbs. This section of trail is very overgrown, not maintained in any noticeable sense, and offers countless opportunities for the loss of footing. The trail starts climbing toward the saddle between Esperero and Montrose canyons, which comes into view ahead. It zigzags its way from the head of the canyon and back to the east wall as it climbs relentlessly. In many areas trail finding will be difficult. The climb is rewarded by awesome views of the valley below, and the trail eventually reaches the small saddle between Esperero and Montrose, where excellent views of the Northern ranges of the Catalinas come into focus. Excellent views of Cathedral Rock grace the gaze east from here. Route finding in this section will be tricky. There will likely be tall grass overgrowing the trail and possibly trees down in its course. Standing at the saddle, look immediately west; the seemingly massive hill ahead of you is adorned by Window Peak, and that's where you're headed. The trail follows the saddle just to the Esperero side and begins to climb west.

This stretch of trail continues its relentless climb as it winds it way towards Window Peak. The trail is flanked and overgrown by shrubs in many spots along its course here, and routinely presents rocky step-ups. The trail winds back toward Esperero Canyon on its final ascent into a small saddle that comes into view ahead. Upon reaching the saddle, Window Peak is directly north and appears to be a large pile of boulders, Esperero Cayon looms below, and Ventana Canyon and the Window have not yet come into view. The views here are outstanding. This saddle is about 0.6 miles from the Esperero canyon saddle and about 535 hard earned feet above it. This is the highpoint of the hike sitting right around 7215 feet. A couple of cairns mark the spot.

As a note, just before you get to this saddle a small route will break off to your right at the last switchback. This likely leads to the top of Window Peak and will require some class 3 scrambling. On today's trip this was only scouted a couple hundred feet and remains for a later day...

From this gorgeous saddle you will now descend briefly and wrap around towards the north. The trail heads to another saddle on the northwest base of Window Peak. There is some nice shade here as well, with some pines nestled in the rocky spires of Window Peak. From here the trail starts a pretty rapid descent down the ridgeline heading west. As you break away from the saddle you will see some formations ahead of youbalong the ridgeline, standing tall above the brush. The last of these large formations houses the Window. You are that close. The trail zigs and zags on it's way down here and can be a little tough to follow. You will approach the Window from the right of the formations, and as such the Window will be on your left. As you get close, the trail hugs the formations very tightly, to the right is a significant drop off. Be careful here. Keep your eyes on the wall on your left, a small trail will break away from the main route and the Window just pops into view suddenly. Walk through the roughly 25 x 15 foot Window to the shelf on the other side and be prepared for a whopping panorama looking out over Ventana Canyon and the massive Mt. Kimball to the west. There is a hundred-plus foot vertical drop off right in front of you, so please be careful here. The Window is the best lunch spot in the Catalinas. A brisk breeze often whips through. In the summer if offers refreshing cool breezes, in the winter it is freezing. Looking back northeast through the Window there are phenomenal views of Window Peak and the Catalina highcountry. Take it all in. If you look down and to the right you can see the end of the Esperero trail as it descends to meet upper Ventana Canyon trail. The Window is not much more than a mile from the Esperero Canyon saddle and about 8.6 miles from the Esperero trailhead in Sabino Canyon. It sits at roughly 6880 feet.

From the Window you've got about 7 miles of almost nonstop descending in front of you. Rest those legs and get back on the Esperero Canyon trail, make a left onto the main route and continue heading west. The trail continues to descend at first off the spire housing the Window then levels out for a little while along the grassy ridgeline heading west. The views of Mt. Kimball to the west and back east over the Catalinas here are just fantastic. There is some old burn still evident here. Soon enough the trail starts to deeply switchback down the upper reaches of Ventana Canyon, staying along the east wall initially. After roughly 1.2 miles from the Window you will reach the signed intersection with Ventana Canyon Trail #98 to the left and Finger Rock Canyon to the right. Hang a left onto the Ventana Canyon trail.

The Ventana Canyon trail drops through the upper reaches of it's namesake canyon swiftly. There is abundant treecover in the upper reaches that seems almost out of character for Pusch Ridge canyon country. This is classic Ventana Canyon. The trail is never hard to follow and as it drops down into the streamcourse it will cross over eventually onto the west side. As you look down you can see some pools and little falls, depending on the current water situation. If you're lucky you may catch some mortar holes ground into the stone along the trail. They are literally right on the trail. Soon enough the trail crosses again at Maiden Pools, which consist of multiple scattered pools and large rock slabs perfect for stretching out on. There is usually water in Maiden Pools, but it can get pretty murky if things are dry. From here you have about 2.4 miles to go to the trailhead.

From the pools the trail continues to descend somewhat gradually for a while ultimately putting you at the apex of a ridge that cuts down sharply from the west, where the canyon cuts abruptly east. The views of the mouth of the canyon here are just great, with the narrow spires of the entrance walls of the canyon perfectly framing Tucson and the Santa Ritas in the distance. The trail sharply switchbacks down this ridge to place you back in the streambed, which it crosses a number of times. It can be a little hard to follow in through here, but the trail never stays in the streambed so always look for it to cross when you reach the bottom. Before long the trail breaks out of the east side permanently and crosses some flat desert. You will pass a sign announcing the Wilderness and cross a hikers gate. The rest of the hike is along a narrow trail that passes through some private property then parallels the resort for a short while before finally dropping you back off at the Ventana Canyon trailhead and your previously arranged shuttle ride.

Congratulations, you have just hiked one of the hardest, most beautiful and rewarding routes in Pusch Ridge.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Note
This is a difficult hike. It would be insane to attempt this entire hike without prior experience hiking.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2008-05-21 fricknaley & Jeffshadows
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent of 11 deeper Triplog Reviews
Window Traverse (Esperero-Ventana Cyn)
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First time up window peak.
Thank you to Jim_H for the nice photos and tips that made the peak ascent easy.
Highlight of the trip was the spectacular airshow by about 35 ravens that came in from the west and then circled and played above window peak with acrobatics around the peak.
https://vimeo.com/1857...

Went up Ventana and down Esperero.
Lost the trail more than a few times due to the non-native Lehmann Lovegrass covering the Ventana canyon trail starting around Maiden Pools and also in a few spots on Esperero going down before you hit the creek and then the entire stretch between the creek and Cardiac Gap.
Apparently not just me because some of the wrong turns unfortunately looking more like the trail than the trail itself, you just end up in a spot that doesn't make sense (cliff, pile of boulders, furious looking vegetation)
Not recommended at all or if you do feel you have to go bring a stick and wear pants.
Esperero from Cardiac Gap down is now much better than it was a month ago and I flew down that section.

First time at Bridal Veil falls and the water really helped.
Total water for the day was 6 liters thanks to the one I picked up at the falls.
Window Traverse (Esperero-Ventana Cyn)
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Have you ever been out on a hike and a song was so stuck in your head that any time you hear the song, you think about that hike? I have a feeling that's gonna be true here. New song played in the car ride, and on the hike.

Very enjoyable day, back on Esperero and Ventana. Thanks to fricknaley :app: :app: :app: , who picked me up at Ventana TH and shuttled me over to Sabino. He had an early morning appointment with Blackett's Ridge and was extremely gracious in letting me bum a ride ... walking from Sabino to Ventana afterward in 100-degree heat would not have been a great way to end this one. :yuck: Found myself shooting up Esperero around 5:30am, beautiful temps helped me kick up the pace and get a jump on this one.

The morning trip up Esperero was wonderful. Almost complete shade the whole way up. After I passed an elderly Asian couple at the start of Esperero (just off the road), I never saw another soul the entire day...had both canyons and the peak all to myself. Esperero had one big area of some really thick, high grass in one area, probably 4 feet tall and crazy thick, and dead. Not a good recipe. Farther up, Esperero had the usual brush growth across the trail once past the Cathedral Rock junction. For me, it was the first time on this final section of Esperero, no Cathedral turnoff today.

Made my way toward Window Peak — especially loved slipping over the ridge and seeing the view of Oro Valley, Catalina, and northwest Tucson. Once I made it up to Window Peak I never could find the register, once I made it up to the top I looked around but just wasn't in the exact right spot. Lots of really large boulders there with steep dropoffs between them. Spent over a half hour soaking up the view, then headed down. The heat was on, but I still had a lot of shade thanks to the oaks and juniper until dropping to 4500 feet.

Before leaving the oaks, funny, I startled a snake relaxing and staying cool in one of the branches. He quickly tried to get down and put his weight on a branch that was dead. It snapped and he fell down onto the ground (ouch!).

Oh, and the song? Like friendofThundergod, I'm a total alternative music guy... check out "Stressed Out" by twenty one pilots. Crazy dudes. Careful tho, this song can get in your head and not leave...https://youtu.be/pX ... 6vMY ](*,)
Window Traverse (Esperero-Ventana Cyn)
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Window Peak
Window from Sabino using the Esperero. Turns out, I am not a big fan of the Esperero Trail. I used GPS Joe's traverse track, trimmed, cloned, reversed 1, joined, re-synced and arrived at my figures, so I assume they are accurate. Poison ivy in the middle of Esperero, which is similar to what I remember for Ventana and Romero.
Window Traverse (Esperero-Ventana Cyn)
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Another awesome Alt Hike! I posted the hike midweek and was overwhelmed by the response? In the end we had 14 hikers. The Window was very cold so we took our lunches up Window Peak. I got to do first human tracks down the snow from the peak into Esperero. Bridle Veil had interesting ice formations. We went for pizza at Zona 78 afterwards to fill up!
Window Traverse (Esperero-Ventana Cyn)
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We saw that Steve was leading a hike to the Window today for SAHC, so we asked if he'd pick us up at Sabino Canyon before the meet time so we could do the loop. He decided he'd go with us if no one else showed up.

At Sabino, a coyote was lounging in the parking lot. He seemed pretty used to the cars.

As we were getting all our gear on, I noticed that Steve's pack was leaking - he had a new Camelback bladder and no matter how many times he try to screw it in it still leaked. We continued to Maiden Pools. There Steve decided he was fed up with having a wet backside and had lost about a half liter so far so he turned around.

Joel and I continued up to the Window where we had a break. It was freezing! From there we continued up to the saddle next to Window Peak. We scrambled up Window Peak and had our lunch. The views from the top are wonderful. You can see Cathdral, Little Kimball, Mt Kimball, and much more!

From there we went down into Esperero Canyon. There was a nice sized pile of moist bear poop with blue colored berries in it.

We stopped for another break at Bridal Veil falls. It was dripping pretty good. From there we headed back to the car at the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center. Along the way we saw a tarantula and a bull snake.

After the hike we immediately went for Chinese and ice cream!
Window Traverse (Esperero-Ventana Cyn)
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Nick and I had been talking about doing the Window for quite awhile and today we had the chance. We set up our shuttle and headed up the Ventana Trail on a chilly autumn morning. We pusched our way up the rugged canyon, first through saguaros, then oak, and finally into pines: a classic sky island experience. :) Turning onto the Esperero Trail we entered a snowy wonderland of frosted trees and hoodoo rocks. And, of course, there were incredible views of the massive Catalina range. As we approached the Window a scene of massive rock spires and snow covered pines appeared. I was in heaven and snapping photos by the score. We chilled (literally) at the Window for a few minutes before continuing east along the slopes of Window Peak. Snow conditions looked acceptable for us to summit, so we left the trail and made the fun little scramble up Window Peak. Enjoyed the view, then continued our journey on into Esperero Canyon. Esperero Canyon was especially scenic, with its huge rocks and pine-oak woodland. After a long descent we entered saguaro country again, and other hikers began to appear, signalling our proximity to civilization. We arrived back at the Sabino trailhead after a full day in the mountains, and shuttled back to my truck at Ventana. Nick went home and I went over to Mesquite Valley Growers for a much needed cactus fix. A great hike for sure, and a wonderful mini-vacation. Thanks for another awesome Catalina tour, Nick! :)

https://www.youtube.com/user/PrestonTheY ... SiC2QS6WNc
Window Traverse (Esperero-Ventana Cyn)
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preston and i have been talking about the window traverse for quite some time. he finally made it down my way and we made a plan to hike it in reverse just in case the snow/ice situation on window peak was bad, at least he'd get to see the window. so we left my car at sabino and cooked over to ventana to start hiking on a perfect morning. a little brisk to start we were sweating bullets within 20 minutes. the yeti liked what he saw in rugged lower ventana, then we entered the middle to upper reaches...it got cold within one single breeze and we layered up and began the hot/cold game for the next few hours.

as we hit the ridge we were treated to a beautiful snowy wonderland with the major peaks of pusch ridge and lemmon covered in a light blanket of snow...ahh my favorite place in the catalinas (the segments of pima, finger and esperero connecting on the pusch ridge line). we followed the tracks of some determined little mammal along the increasingly snowy trail (north facing in the shade) until we arrived at the gloriously snowy and icy window. the yeti roared his approval.

we decided it looked reasonable to go for window peak and the traverse and made our way up the snowy west slopes of window peak. once we countoured around to the south and got in the sun, the snow and ice cleared up. we hit window saddle and had lunch. scoping out the short route to the summit, it looked pretty clear so we scrambled up to the summit rocks of window peak for my favorite catalina summit and view.

back down we continued down esperero, hitting some significant snow on the northeast slopes of window peak again. from the saddle it was smooth sailing down the long and scenic esperero canyon trail.

what a perfect day on one of my favorite catalina hikes. good times, yeti my boy :y:
Window Traverse (Esperero-Ventana Cyn)
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Dropped a car at Sabino Canyon and hiked up Ventana. Plenty of water in the creek but I still carried a bunch for weight because I am training for the Grand Canyon. This was my first backpack of the year and it's interesting to see what muscles need to be built up before I head to the GC. Spent the night on the ridge before the Window. Great views in the morning of the Supes and Weaver's Needle. To the south the sky islands rose up out of the haze. Visited the Window and took the requisite photos. There was still snow and a little ice on the north-facing slopes and I was glad I brought my Microspikes for a couple tricky areas. One of my favorite parts of the whole day was the high saddle between Window Peak and Cathedral Rock. What views! The descent on the Esperero Trail seemed to take forever. I took a break at Bridal Veil Falls, which had a small trickle, and then it was more descending and descending on the Esperero Trail. There were some interesting rock spires on one part of the trail. Saw only one other hiker near Cardiac Gap. The best part of the Esperero Trail is looking back from the start of the trail waaaay back at where you came from.
Window Traverse (Esperero-Ventana Cyn)
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Back in early March, I first thought that I was in good enough shape to do The Window hike in a single day, I talked to Susan, a hiking buddy from the Alt-Hiking group, and a plan was hatched. I am slower on the uphill and she is slower on the downhill, so neither one of us could abide by a Speedy-Gonzales-type hiker on this long trek. Unfortunately, when we compared calendars, we couldn't find a date that would work until May.

In April, I talked to a couple of hiking buddies who had done The Window, and they convinced me that it would be best to do it as a shuttle hike. I agree - you gotta love a good loop or shuttle hike so you can see different scenery. I had done the Esperero Trail before to the Bridal Veil Falls before - with its "Cardiac Gap" - and I wondered why we wouldn't do it the other way rather than the way it was written. Why not start at Ventana and end at Sabino? We'd make the hike about 260 feet less of elevation with this simple reverse in direction. I had to talk Susan into the extra couple of miles (with the shuttle rather than the out-and-back), but that didn't turn out to be that difficult - she was game. It was only later that I read JeffMacE's triplog that proclaimed that anyone would be "cheesy" for doing the hike in reverse. I say: if it's easier and you still see the same scenery, bring on the cheese.

We started up Ventana at about 7:30 AM. This section of the trail had quite a few wildflowers still in bloom. Of course, this meant that I needed to take pictures - timing be damned. We had both been to Maiden Pools before, so we decided that would be our first "real" break (as opposed to the fake breaks that I take when snapping photos). The Maiden Pools did turn out to be a little harder to spot when they weren't so full of water. They were kind of slimy, but still had our break there in the shade. It was getting warmer now, and we also required zipping off our pant legs so we could sport our shorts.

Wouldn't you know it - soon after we zipped off our pant legs, we nearly ran into a batch of poison ivy right on the trail. We narrowly escaped this time, but we knew that this would remain a hazard so we kept our eyes peeled for those leaves of three.

The first glimpse of The Window was quite exciting, as was the trail sign for Esperero. That meant that we were close to having lunch at the "best lunch spot in the Catalinas." Several times during the hike we took out the HAZ trip description and tried to figure out where we were in reverse. I wouldn't recommend this action. We should've brought along a copy of the description of the typical directions (via Ventana Canyon) to The Window as well.

When we approached the saddle and could see Biosphere off to our left and the Santa Ritas to our right, we knew we were drawing even closer to the famed lunch spot. The scenery was beautiful, and I had switched gears to my "beer time" pace for the fairly flat areas and slightly uphill while we were on the ridge. Then the trail began to be relentless. "More up?," I whined, prior to the approach to The Window. "Could it be possible that we missed it?," I wondered, since it seemed much longer than 1.2 miles from the junction. Finally, when The Window was in view, Susan let out a scream. We made it! :y:

I must have a thing for attempting these things in high winds, because it was WINDY up there! I had forgotten my windbreaker, so Susan loaned me one of hers and we proceeded to take photos of each other in The Window. Then we had lunch (and I had my beer!) at what I would call, too, the best lunch spot in the Catalinas. We both called our mothers, too, since it was Mother's Day after all. I found a pair of sunglasses up there and put them in my backpack to return to Lost and Found. Something that I did not expect to see up there was a cigarette butt, but I saw two. And different brands, too! Can you believe that not one, but two disrespectful smokers had made it that far? I stashed these in my backpack as well before we moseyed on our way.

Well, at least I thought I was going to mosey. But there was more up. This is a fantastic ridge hike and I'm so glad that I did it this way, but during this moment I was thinking of how great it would've been to have nothing but downhill in front of you. The Esperero Trail at these higher elevations (above Bridal Veil Falls), was very poorly maintained. It was easy to find the trail, but the trail had lots of downed trees where we had to find a way over, under, or around. There was also a bit of loose gravel and dirt and I managed to fall just once.

It was about this time where my feet began to ache a little and I dreamed about the last time I was at Bridal Veil Falls. In January 2008, the falls weren't rushing, but they were definitely flowing, and with a nice big pool at the bottom. Not nearly so this time. It was barely trickling, but there was a little bit of clear water so I could soak my foot for a minute and take a couple of Ibuprofen. Susan's knee was giving her a hard time, too, and she wrapped it in an ACE bandage before we headed down.

I mentioned this in my photoset and I will mention it again here - there are HUGE cairns and lots of them just below the falls. It's like someone had WAY too much time on their hands. And, just like that, we were back in poison ivy territory. This time, I don't think either one of us made it by without touching them. It's just a wait-and-see exercise to see if our legs develop rashes. (As of posting date, Tuesday evening May 11, I do have significant itching on my calves, but I don't think it is poison ivy. Susan is fine was well.)

Once we got to Cardiac Gap, we were going pretty fast. Susan's knee was hurting and she lost her bandage clip and had to take off the bandage. Nothing was going to stop us now, though - nothing except a couple of shots of the sunset as we made our way out. Again, there were a couple more up-hills on the way back that we wouldn't have had to deal with if we had gone the other way.

We finally made it back to the pavement, and then to the parking lot, and the day was done. :D We went and retrieved the other car, and it was time for some Mexican food and margaritas at El Charro at Kolb and Sunrise before heading home.
Window Traverse (Esperero-Ventana Cyn)
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Went for a Pusch Ridge blowout hike with Jeff MacE. I've been to the Window via Ventana Canyon. I've climbed Esperero to the saddle dividing Esperero from Montrose Canyons. I had never been on the connector route between the two. I didn't know what I was missing. This section of trail is hard to explain, other than to say it just flat out rocks.

The Esperero, in my opinion, is the hardest trail in Pusch Ridge. Of course, that also makes it the most fun and rewarding. Cardiac Gap is nice, Geronimo Meadows are better and Bridal Veil Falls are sweet (pictures definitely do not do justice here). They all pale in comparison to the ridgeline though.

We lucked out with the most perfect weather you could ask for on this kind of hike. The HAZ hiking gods smiled on us this day.

Permit $$
Visit this link for full details.

There are four specific day use areas that require a Coronado Recreational Pass or a National Pass/America the Beautiful Pass.
1) Sabino Canyon - located on the Santa Catalina Ranger District (520)749-8700
2) Madera Canyon - located on the Nogales Ranger District (520)281-2296
3) Cave Creek - located on the Douglas Ranger District (520)364-3468
4) Mt. Lemmon at 11 day use sites.

Catalina State Park $6 per day. Sabino Canyon Tram is $10 extra.

Coronado Forest
MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
Paved - Car Okay

To Sabino Canyon Recreation Trailhead
From the intersection of Tanque Verde and Grant/Kolb Rd head northeast on Tanque Verde. Turn left at the second light on Sabino Canyon Rd. Go about 8 miles up Sabino Canyon Rd and you come to a four way stop with Sunrise. Go straight through the intersection and take the next right into the parking lot of Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. Signs marking the way start on North Kolb road.

This is the universal directions to Sabino Canyon Recreation Center. Hikes take off from all directions and some you might need to hike another trail to get to the start of your hike. Reference the hike summary for details.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 117 mi - about 1 hour 57 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 14.1 mi - about 30 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 261 mi - about 4 hours 1 min
page created by fricknaley on May 21 2008 12:33 pm
1 TB Flash Drive... $40
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