Arizona’s Sabino Canyon Park

Sabino Canyon – photographers’ dream landscape in Arizona’s Catalina Mountains, 19 miles from Tucson

From back row left: Jayne, Allyson (instructor), Mary, Sylvia & Front row left: Ann, Barbara, Adriana, Gail, Monique
From back row left: Jayne, Allyson (instructor), Mary, Sylvia & Front row left: Ann, Barbara, Adriana, Gail, Monique

After a morning’s exploration of memoir writing at Facilitator Allyson Latta’s writing workshop, 10 writers drove to Sabino Canyon and hopped aboard a two-car tram ride departing the low plateau Sabino Canyon station.

We rode a scenic trail to the topmost lookout at the heart of the Catalina Mountains. Sabino Creek begins its journey on the slopes of Mt. Lemmon, bouncing down the canyon. It supports the lush greenery and trees in which deer, javelina, coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, birds, and other animals find food and shelter. For 30 minutes our driver and guide pointed out significant ecological and geological features, telling historic tales of Hohokam natives and westward pushing settlers – and warning us what to do if we came upon a mountain lion (rare, trust me, or I wouldn’t have been there).

At the summit, #9 Rest Station, four hiked even higher, while the rest of us hiked down the road to the #8 Rest Station. From there three hailed a down going tram ride to #1 Rest Station where we hailed another up going canyon ride. I enjoyed a second trip up the canyon to view the spectacular scenery without a camera in front of my eyes. As we had a new driver, I absorbed even more of the narrated information. We collected the rest of our hiking group when we found they’d hiked down to #3 Rest Station — and no mountain lion sightings! In fact, no critters of any kind.

Lower Sabino Canyon in winter (January) – Forest fires are necessary for healthy regrowth but are carefully controlled. Debris flows from floods, such as the exceptional one in 2006, are monitored to study the geological history of the Catalina Mountains and to help ecologists keep the zone balanced for nature, residents and tourism.
Lower Sabino Canyon in winter (January) – Forest fires are necessary for healthy regrowth but are carefully controlled. Debris flows from floods, such as the exceptional one in 2006, monitored to study the geological history of the Catalina Mountains and to help ecologists keep the zone balanced for nature, residents and tourism.
Constructed under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal project, the tram road up the Sabino Canyon helped 180 unemployed men in the depression. In the 50s, prison labour constructed the road to the heights of  Mt. Lemmon in the Catalina Mountains.
Constructed under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program, the tram road up Sabino Canyon employed 180 men in the depression. In the 50s, prison labour constructed the road to the heights of  Mt. Lemmon in the Catalina Mountains.
A winter scene (January) of Sabino Creek. Fish stocks introduced into the stream, were eliminated by the floods such as the one that washed down the canyon in 2006.
A winter scene (January), Sabino Creek. Flooding eliminated fish stock, such as the one that washed down the canyon in 2006. Re-introduction occurs regularly.
Saguaros cacti are native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, the Mexican state of Sonora and a small part of Baja California in the San Felipe Desert (not Texas as so many people believe). The saguaro blossoms from April – June and is the State Wildflower of Arizona. Major pollinators of the flower are bees and doves by day and bats by night. This is a winter view (January). Many of these trees may be over 100 years old. 
Saguaros cacti are native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, the Mexican state of Sonora and a small part of Baja California in the San Felipe Desert (not Texas as so many people believe). The Saguaro blossoms from April – June and is the State Wildflower of Arizona. Bees and doves by day and bats by night pollinate the plants. This is a winter view (January). Many of these trees may be over 100 years old.
Scenic and serene Sabino Canyon in January (winter)
Scenic and serene Sabino Canyon in January (winter)
Thimble Rock overlooking Sabino and Bear Canyons in winter (January)
Thimble Rock overlooking Sabino and Bear Canyons in winter (January)

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Mountain maintenance holding up a wall above the tram road! I shuddered as I walked alongside, fingers crossed that this would not be the time the rocks decided to shift.
Mountain maintenance: bolts holding up a wall above the tram road! I shuddered walking beside it, fingers crossed this would not be the time the rocks shifted.
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