Sabino Canyon Recreation Area contains many trails of differing levels of difficulty for SaddleBrooke Hiking Club members. On Wednesday, October 4, a group of nine hikers met for a relatively easy ‘walk in the park,’ which consisted of tacking the Bluff and Rattlesnake Canyon trails on to the Esperero Canyon trail. Guide Bruce Landeck wisely moved the starting time from 8 a.m. to an early 7 a.m. to avoid the heat, for much of the way proceeds through open desert, packed with saguaro cacti and low growth trees and plants.
The first leg started level and then climbed a rocky—but not too onerous—path where views of the Santa Catalina Range grew enormous in front. Next, the Rattlesnake Trail dipped back down into its own dry creek. Here, the hikers found more shade, and—thankfully—no rattlesnakes. In the side of a stony outcropping which rose to the right, Landeck pointed out a small cave, reputed to be the domicile of, perhaps, a mountain lion. If so, the creature was either sleeping or not at home.
Continuing on, this trail met Sabino’s tram road, peopled with walkers, a few runners and finally, the morning’s first tram. After a short stint on the pavement, hikers found their next leg, the Bluff Trail. This piece wound down the rocks with only one or two huge steps to a shady stopping place beneath Sabino Dam. When water flows, this site offers a cool respite with the welcome sound of running water—sometimes rushing precipitously. On this day, however, the stones of the dam, built in the 1930s, sat bone dry. Nevertheless, this condition provided an interesting view of the dam’s structure.
The remainder of the outing consisted of a simple mostly flat walk back to the Visitor Center and parking lot. By then, the temperature hovered near 80 degrees, which, is precisely where Bruce likes to end his hikes.