Took my good friend Jon out to climb Agua Caliente Saddle as his last tough climb before he goes for Mt. Ranier next weekend. We had a great time, and he climbed well on one of the toughest hikes around (for the distance). The Santa Ritas were alive today...recent strong rains had water flowing strongly. Huge amount of wildflowers, more than I have ever seen there before. The backside of the saddle was quite overgrown with flowers and grass, we were soaked and stoked by the Agua Caliente Trailhead.
This is a really tough shorter hike in the western Santa Ritas, untouched by the Florida Fire. It climbs a little over 4000 feet in 8 miles, so it's a good training hike too. I've always been impressed with the wildlife in the Santa Ritas and today was no exception. All sorts of birds, including my first elegant trogon sighting. I'll include pictures of it. What an amazing bird. I also saw more bear scat on the upper reaches of the Agua Caliente trail than I have ever seen around here, with the possible exception of the upper stretch of the Sutherland Trail when I climbed Mt. Lemmon. Did not see the actual bear though.
The fire last year was terrible, but Madera Canyon remains a special place here in Tucson.
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.