My schedule aligned with the weather and provided me with a free day to enjoy a hike in slightly more mild weather. Decided to head to the Window via Ventana Canyon.
Got an early start before 6:30 and proceeded up the canyon. I was out here a few weeks ago and there was water through most of the stream crossings once past the forest boundary, but now it's down to a meager trickle. Mostly just damp sand in spots.
First stop was Maiden Pools where I took a quick rest and enjoyed a snack. Also noticed that the winds were extremely strong here which didn't bode well for conditions on the ridge.
After my stop I continued up the canyon and am happy to report that although the fire did impact some parts of the canyon the streambed is still very green and that most of the trees will survive. The really pleasant section between the pools and the switchbacks at the top of the canyon was much greener than I expected, and could almost be called lush (for the Catalina front range).
On the downside it would appear that poison ivy is moving in to the shaded sections and setting up residence adjacent to the trail in several spots. Either that or I misidentified (see photo). I was surprised as I haven't seen any prior reports in this canyon.
The final climb out of the canyon is steep and the trail is falling apart in spots, but it's still better than Finger Rock.
The top of the ridge is scorched earth in most spots with very little plant life still alive. Not as bad as the Pima Canyon trail on the way to Kimball, but similar. On the bright side this may be the one place where the Esperero trail isn't overgrown
Stopped at the window, but didn't stay long as the wind gusts must have been well over 40mph. I clocked a couple at 30mph, but there were several much stronger once I put my anemometer back in my pack. Although still a warm day it was actually chilly up there with the wind.
Took shelter behind the wall and had lunch then headed back down the way I came. Overall a nice day and likely the last time I'll be able to do one of the front range AEG hikes before the fall.