turkey-induced food coma and a good night's sleep, some form of
outdoor activity was indicated.
Rather than attempt something hard-core, we opted for a trip to
Sabino Canyon and a tram ride through the canyon. Sabino
Canyon is one of the most scenic areas
in the Tucson area.
The photos below are what we saw.
Cholla, my favorite!! Huge, savage thorns that burn and
itch if you touch them. The buds tear off easily and bury
themselves in deep in your flesh if you give them half a chance.
Sabino Canyon visitor center has an awesome view of the Santa
Catalina mountains to the north.
high-dollar homes on the side of the mountain under Ventana
hopped onto the tram and headed into the canyon. From the
tram we got a nice view of the flora of the Sonoran desert:
sahauro, cholla, mesquite, ocotillo, palo verdes and prickly
through the canyon gave us intermittent views of Thimble
Peak. The steep walls of the canyon were studded with
south side of the canyon had large cliffs of banded gneiss.
sahauros got denser as we went deeper into the canyon (and
higher in elevation).
primary component of the canyon walls is banded gneiss.
Occasionally, large blocks fall into the depths of the canyon
where they get eroded by the stream. This boulder has been
worn smooth by the action of sand carried by the stream water.
currently mostly dry when we were there, the bottom of the
canyon is a riparian area that is dense with a variety of plants
not normally found in the desert.
the stream was not actively flowing, there were isolated pools
of tannin-stained water left over from the last rainy season.
cliffs under Thimble Peak were daunting and present a nearly
impassable obstacle to human travel.
hoodoos and window on the distant skyline.
hoodoos and ragged peaks continued along the south walls of the
upper pine-covered reaches of the Santa Catalinas were visible
from the upper tram stop. The highest peaks of the
Catalinas are nearly 10,000 feet.
north walls of the canyon were nearly as rugged as the south.
slabs of banded gneiss were visible near the bottom of the
Canyon is a rugged place.
upper tram stop was in an open ampitheater in the canyon.
had a number of side canyons.
eye near the top of the peak in the photo above.
span the now-dry stream bed. Usually in the spring, and
sometimes after monsoon rains, the stream runs bank-to-bank.
remaining isolated pools of water provide life for the canyon
wild life: deer, coyote, bob cat and cougars.
banded gneiss produces steep canyon faces.
the canyon were turning their fall colors.
egress from the canyon we could see the Tucson valley in the
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2016, all rights
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.