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Finger Rock to Ventana, AZ
mini location map2014-02-09
22 by photographer avatarwritelots
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Finger Rock to Ventana, AZ 
Finger Rock to Ventana, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 09 2014
writelots
Hiking12.00 Miles 4,400 AEG
Hiking12.00 Miles   8 Hrs      1.50 mph
4,400 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
Sarae
Can you believe it was almost 80 degrees on this beautiful February day? It was the best of conditions for hiking in the front range - sunny, occasional breezes and clear air. Perfect! I packed my fleece in case it was cold and windy on the ridge, but I never took it out. In fact, I took my long sleeves off while eating lunch on the ridge!

We started at about 7:30 am after setting up the shuttle from Ventana. The canyon was in the shade until we reached the "Heart Attack Hill" portion of the trail. There were some early wild flowers out - mostly Hooker's Primrose and Wiry Lotus, but a few others peaking out. I saw no sign of a poppy bloom, and the few lupine starts I saw looked to small to flower even later in the season. Looks like the perennials might have a good year, though (penstemon and brittle brush in particular). When the trail ascends the eastern wall of the canyon, we could see pools of standing water in the creekbed below, so it's not completely dry yet.

We were at the Pima junction by lunchtime, so we stopped to have a quick bite and enjoy the views off to the northeast. I'm glad we recharged here, because it was slower and tougher going on the Finger Rock trail from that Junction to Ventana. As Sarae mentioned, it seems like it's mostly used by bears and a few trail walkers who seem to decide whilly-nilly when reroute is necessary (and use sticks and cairns to do the strangest walk-arounds). I've done most of the trails in the Catalinas now, and this one won't ever be a favorite, though it's certainly not the worst. When it finally begins to wrap around the southern face back toward its meeting with the Ventana trail it's at its worst. That was the only moment when I felt hot and frustrated, but it was short lived (thank goodness!).

The Ventana Canyon trail was as it always is: seeming unending and punishing on the feet. But, it's not loose and it's so easy to follow that you don't have to think about anything but your next step down. There was flowing water in places along the trail, and the pools were clear and cold. We even saw some spots where the cottonwoods were greening up already! Unreal!

I was immensely relieved by my ability to do this hike. After all the troubles with my Achilles tendon in the fall, I was worried that tough climbs would be out of the question for a long time. But, laying off of it for a while seems to have done the trick, and it performed better than expected. Now, if only I could get a these pounds off that I packed on while not hiking...
Flora
Flora
Wiry Lotus
Culture
Culture
Throwing a Wendy
Named place
Named place
Baboquivari Peak
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Oenothera, wiry lotus, Ragged Rockflower

dry Finger Rock Canyon Dry Dry
Pools in shady bedrock areas

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Ventana Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Dries up in spots, but Maiden Pools were nicely full
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