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Saturday, April 24, 1999

Wow, I did tire myself out today. I was going to take the bus to Ina and Oracle and then ride my bike to the end of Magee and go for a hike. That would have been two miles up and two back by bike. Instead I ended up with 16.5 miles by bike.

I had forgotten that most of the early buses just go to the Tohono O'odham Transit Center by Tucson Mall. When I realized I would have to wait over an hour I decided to ride my bike. I had to go out of my way as there are no good bike routes into the foothills between Swan and La Canada, so I rode up La Canada. It's a bit of a climb but ok if I just shift down low.

Before heading up the last couple miles on Magee I stopped at McDonalds for breakfast. My legs were already a little tired and it felt good to sit down and rest. I got a great breakfast, McD still has one of my favorite breakfasts and watched the people.

I hadn't realized what a stiff climb it was from Oracle to the trailhead. I've always driven it before. I had to stop several times in just 1.5 miles, where I hadn't stopped at all coming up the three miles on La Canada. My legs and lungs were killing me. I was so glad when I finally got to the trailhead.

This is Pima Canyon that heads up the front range of the Catalinas. It's on the far west end and is one of the prettiest canyons. The part I did is a fairly easy hike as the altitude gain isn't too steep. There is a drinking fountain at the trailhead and a memorial to a hiker that helped keep access to many of the trailheads when the developers wanted to block them off.

The first part goes through rocky desert with a wide view of the Tucson valley. The air was clear on my way up and was a great view. The trail is quite rocky and often crossed ledges of rock and came down into the wash. Soon the trail starts going through high brush and soon there are cottonwoods along the stream. It's pretty dry right now. There are a few brackish pools but that's all.

I'm already tired from the bike ride so I feel like I'm going slow but I'm keeping up with everyone else. There is a group of three men with a batch of kids from a baby in a carrier to a couple of grade school kids. It's so nice to see guys out with the kids, especially babies. They all seemed to having fun.

There were couples and several groups, but I was surprised by how many people were hiking by themselves. There were some guys but even more women. It was nice to see that women are doing things on their own and enjoying it. Quite a few older people, my age and older. This is also nice to see. Actually some of the younger people seemed to be having a harder time.

I went through most of the riparian area but stopped before I came to the dam as I could feel that I was getting very tired even with stopping to rest a couple times. Another rest and then I started back. I don't mind retracing a trail as it always seems different from the opposite direction. I could also get great views across the valley as I came down. It was a very good walk.

Going back on my bike was great. I just went downhill on 1st Avenue. The first part was really steep, just like coming up and I had to use the brakes a lot. At Orange Grove there was a long stretch of construction but, except for the culverts, I had the blocked off lane all to myself. Nice.

I feel good this evening, like I've really accomplished something. I just need to do this on a more regular basis so I don't get so tired. And my new boots worked great.

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Hiked - 5 miles
Biked - 16.5 miles

Rachel Aschmann 1999.
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