Oracle Ridge Hike for Old Times Sake   2 comments

Oracle Ridge-72Panorama of Valley Between Red Ridge and Oracle Ridge

The first time I hiked Oracle Ridge was the summer of 2011. This area was severely burned by the Aspen Wildfire in 2003 and still shows the damage it caused. 

Oracle Ridge-2019-72Oracle Ridge Trail

The trail went through Alagador Juniper, tall pines and ponderosas. Today the trail is best known for plenty of wildflowers in early summer on Mt.Lemmon. However, late April is way too early for wildflowers.

Oracle RidgeWe did see some dandelions and lupines.

Oracle Ridge-25-72Mt. Lemmon

The Aspen Wildfire destroyed several homes in the small town of Summerhaven coming very close to the radio towers, Sky Valley and the Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter Observatory.

Oracle Ridge-28-72The Remains of an Alligator Juniper Near the Top of Oracle Ridge
Oracle Ridge-22-72.jpg
Many of the Alligator Juniper and pine trees were cut as part of a fireline on the ridge to help contain the wildfire.

Oracle Ridge-30-72Looking North from the Top of Oracle Ridge

Oracle Ridge-35-72Mt. Lemmon Control Road

The Oracle Ridge Trail trailhead is located to the left of the entrance to the Mt. Lemmon Control Road. Before the Catalina highway coming up from Tucson was completed, the main road to the top of Mt. Lemmon was from Oracle located on the north of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The road is a narrow twisting one-lane primitive road and in order to control the traffic, officials had to control the traffic on a stretch of the route where drivers would have to take turns using it since it was not wide enough to allow travel in both directions.  

Oracle Ridge-42-72Tom, John, Jim T., and Jim E.

I titled this posting, Oracle Ridge Trail Hike for Old Times Sake because were among some of the first hikers I got to know after moving to Tucson in 2010. I got to know many of the trails (and off-trails) in southeastern Arizona with the help of these guys. Tom and I are the young ones at 78, the other boys nearing 90 this year.

Oracle Ridge-37-72Jim with his “stick-flicker” walking stick. — Images by kenne

Jim turned around before the others. I stayed with the group before deciding to go back and catch-up with Jim. When we returned to the trailhead,  Jim asked me to take a picture of him, for this was going to be his last hike. I joked with him, trying to play-down the thought. But couldn’t keep from crying when I told joy.

Like a lot of us old hikers, Jim didn’t always know the name of a wildflower when asked, which didn’t keep him from naming it. He named a lot of wildflowers, “Apache Yellow.”

–kenne

Posted May 1, 2019 by kenneturner in Information

2 responses to “Oracle Ridge Hike for Old Times Sake

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  1. Wonderful photo essay. I wonder if I could do that hike anymore. You guys look good.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Enjoyed the way that Jim named the wildflowers. It’s their beauty that is to be enjoyed and names are not important.

    Liked by 1 person

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