People visit Tucson from every state in our union and countries all over the world. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Tucson has much to offer. Have you hiked the David Yetman Trail? On the day we took a walk we encountered two couples, one from Minnesota and the other from England. They had stopped us to ask some questions about the flowers.
Getting to the trail head is easy. Head East on Speedway into the Tucson mountains. Turn South on Camino de Oeste. Camino de Oeste turns into a dirt road and you will find parking less than a half mile after the dirt begins. The trail is over seven miles, this day we had time to hike less than three miles one way.
The hills are alive with cacti. (Did you know cacti is the plural of cactus?) What made this walk even more special was a result of a wetter than normal winter. All of the cacti are plump with water to see them through the normal summer dry spell. Green grasses cover the ground and wild flowers are in bloom.
This trail is a relatively easy walk. Based on the advice of a former Grand Canyon Park Ranger, I now use trekking poles. They take a lot of stress off your knees. Trust me on this one, you end up taking a lot less Aleve, ha ha! On this day I had a new backpack with a two liter hydration pack. It saves having to carry bottles of water. We were testing it. Years ago we had tried using one, but the taste of the water was gross. This brand claimed tasteless water and this is a good thing. It performed.
You’ll see a variety of cactus, saguaros, different cholla species, prickly pear, ocotillo and more. Take the time to enjoy these amazing plants. This time of year you can see the beginnings of their fruit. The ocotillos, that’s the tall plant in the middle, were bursting with green leaves. It doesn’t take much moisture for them to produce their leaves. During drier times, they appear to be not much more than brown sticks. Ocotillos create orange blossoms at the end of each branch. These nurture migrating humingbirds and our resident hummers too.
We couldn’t believe this Saguaro root. It looked like a tree root.
This is jojoba. There’s a male and female plant. Only the female produces the seed that creates the jojoba oil and waxed used in beauty products and medicine. Did you know in the 1600’s, when the Spaniard’s were exploring the Southwest and Mexico, jojoba was shipped back to Spain as a cure for baldness?
On this day wildflowers were greeting the sun. The desert is filled with a painter’s palette of yellow, orange, white and purple. First time visitors are surprised to discover the Sonoran Desert is filled with life, even more when nature decides to nurture it with moisture.
We had time to hike only as far as the Stone House. What a history. We will save these pictures and stories for another day.
Winter, early spring and late fall is the best times to hike in the Tucson Valley. During warmer weather you can escape to Madera Canyon. When it gets to be 100 plus degrees, Mount Lemmon is the preferred destination. No matter what time of year, wear comfortable shoes, a hat, sunscreen and take plenty of water and snacks. Stay away from the cactus, being pricked or stabbed by the spines will not be a pleasant experience. In warmer weather, be on the lookout for snakes. Unless you provoke snakes, they will normally continue about their day without interfering in yours. Most importantly pack it in and pack it out. On this day the only trash we saw were a few cigarette butts (shame, shame on those smokers). Use common sense on the trails and you and the environment will be happy trekkers.
Please leave your comments of your favorite Tucson day trips. Happy trails to you until we met again. (Did I leave you singing that one?)