Archive for the ‘Crystal Springs Trail’ Tag

Yellow-eyed Junco On Old Mining Wheel   2 comments

Yellow-eyed Junco On Old Mining Wheel — Image by kenne

Old friends? They mostly vanish, they are ghosts out on the road
Some turned around, threw up their hands, and disappeared
Like old folk songs, their stories change, fairytales of love and pain
Another verse, another chorus, one more year.

— from The Light Beyond the Coyote Fence by Tom Russell

Hiking The Upper-Butterfly Trail To Novio Falls On Mt. Lemmon   2 comments


Hiking The Upper-Butterfly Trail To Novio Falls — Image by kenne

This week’s SCVN hike on Mt. Lemmon took place on the Butterfly Trail, hiking to Novio Falls (approximately 2.5 miles) and back. Starting at 7,700 foot elevation, the trail goes down 200 feet to an old campsite & saddle, one mile out. The trail continues down 350 feet, .4 of a mile to the junction with the Crystal Springs Trail. At this point, some of the hikers turned back to the trailhead.

Four of us continued on to Novio Falls, another mile out taking us down to an elevation of 6,500 feet. The area normally has flowing falls, formed from several springs — not this year. The last few years have been very dry, so dry this year that many of the oak trees have already begun to drop their leaves. 

The weather for the hike was partly sunny with a little higher that normal temperature and humidity — lower 70’s with a 35% humidity. I have done this hike several times, but this one was the least fun, since I struggle climbing the elevation change of 1,200 feet. Suffering from watery eyes, a lot of sneezing and a very try throat, I now know I was in the early stages of a summer cold. 


Crystal Springs Trail Forest Fire Recovery   7 comments

Images by kenne

Much of the Crystal Springs Trail area in the Santa Catalina Mountains was destroyed by the Aspen Fire ten years ago. Since then, much of the area has recovered with new vegetation. However, many of the large trees, although dead for ten years, still stand. Time is wearing on the dead forest and many large trees are falling each year, some falling across the mountain trails. Photos taken on a recent hike show the increased frequency of trees falling.


A Mexican Garter Snake Having Breakfast   11 comments

Mecican Garter Snake AZ Striped Whiptail blog

Mexican Garter Snake AZ Striped Whiptail blog

Mexican Garter Snake AZ Striped Whiptail II blogMexican Garter Snake & Arizona Striped Whiptail Lizard — Images by kenne

This morning while hiking the Crystal Springs trail on Mount Lemmon we saw this Mexican Garter snake having just caught an Arizona Striped Whiptail lizard. The snake was in a hurry to het away from us so he could have breakfast.

Regular hikers on Mount Lemmon should take note, even after all the rain on the mountains, the springs are no more. Maybe it’s time to rename the trail. 

Also, the Control Road to the trailhead is in real bad shape from all the mountain rains — lot’s of deep ruts, making for a long 2 1/2 mile drive to the trailhead.


Capturing The Moment — “Buckets Of Rain” On Mount Lemmon   16 comments

“Buckets of rain
Buckets of tears
Got all them buckets comin’ out of my ears
Buckets of moonbeams in my hand
I got all the love, honey baby
You can stand

I been meek
And hard like an oak
I seen pretty people disappear like smoke
Friends will arrive, friends will disappear
If you want me, honey baby
I’ll be here …”

— Bob Dylan, “Buckets of Rain”

Butterfly Trail July 2013

The Monday Morning Milers hiking group had scheduled to hike upper Butterfly trail to Novio Falls, which I had done Friday with the SCVN group. I like this trail because it is both a beautiful and challenging hike. It was a sunny morning on the mountain when we arrived at the trailhead. The faster hikers had already started down the trail, so I set out to catchup with them and was making pretty good time till I started stopping to take photos. I was trying to take advantage of the sunlight we didn’t have on the Friday hike. 

Before leaving the parking lot to car-pool up Catalina Highway, some of the hikers indicated they would only be hiking to the Crystal Spring trail. But, when I reached the Crystal Springs cutoff, no one was there. Not seeing them on the trail, I assumed they had continued on to Novio Falls. As I got closer to Novio Falls (The area to the right of the big rock in the above image.) I could see clouds beginning to cover the higher elevations.

Butterfly Trail July 2013When I got to the falls no one was there, so I decided to continue to where a F-86 airplane had crashed in 1957. Once I got there, the rain began, so after taking a few photos, I started back toward the falls when I met a couple sitting under a large ponderosa pine. There didn’t have rain gear, but the tree was keeping them dry, at least for a while. (Unlike my earlier hikes in the rain, there was no lightning.) As I left them behind the rain began to come down heavier.

Butterfly Trail July 2013This is when I learned that my wind-breaker was not waterproof. I had already placed my camera in a plastic bag, but unlike my previous hikes in the rain, I decided to remove it now and then to capture some rainy images. Since the rain was still pretty heavy, I tried keeping as much of the bag over the camera after removing it in order to still keep it as dry a possible — then back in the bag.

Butterfly Trail July 2013The higher elevation in this view shows the direction in which I was headed returning to the upper Butterfly trailhead. I wasn’t sure how the images were turning out, since I wasn’t taking the time to view them, nor check how much rain was on the lens. 

Butterfly Trail July 2013As I got further down the trail from the falls, I turned around and took this image toward where I had been.

Butterfly Trail July 2013As you can see in this image, see the clouds were beginning to break up over one of the last ridges I would be hiking to the trailhead.

Butterfly Trail July 2013At this point in my return the rain began to diminish.

Butterfly Trail July 2013This image is a view not far from the trailhead. The rain was now a sprinkle as the clouds continue to break up.

Remember I mention that we carpooled up the mountain, so those in my carpool had to wait for me — at least I was hoping they would. Based on where the others had turned around on the trail, and the distance I had gone, they had to wait one hour — man, did I blow it! I was very apologetic and pleased that they had not reported my failure to return after an hour to the Forest Service. 

As we rode down the mountain they shared the various scenarios discussed while waiting, if I had not returned in more than an hour. They knew I’m a capable hiker, but . . .!

With all the rain I’ve experienced this month, while hiking on Mount Lemmon, I decided to start this blog posting with the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s song, “Buckets of Rain” and included a YouTube video for those of you interested in listening to this Dylan song — with buckets of moonbeams in your hand.

— kenne


Hiking The Butterfly and Crystal Springs Trails To Novio Falls   Leave a comment

Butterfly Trail July 2013

Yesterday’s SCVN lead Friday hike was upper Butterfly #16 , and Crystal Springs trails to Novio Falls. — Images by kenne (Click on any of the tiled images to see larger images in a slideshow format.)

Hiking The Crystal Springs Trail Before The Much Needed Monsoon Rains   2 comments

The continuing lack of rain on Mt. Lemmon is causing many plants to lose their leaves.

Some of the ferns are under stress.

Hikers are pondering the piece of machinery on the log — it wasn’t there last year.

Usually there is at least some water trickling over this rock formation.

Still, the view along the Crystal Springs Trail is beautiful, even with some smoke over the San Pedro Valley from the Fox Wildfire at the northeast end of the Rincon Mountains. — Images by kenne


Capturing The Moment — Sparrow On A Rusty Wheel   6 comments

Image by kenne

Just a resting place

Sparrow on a rusty wheel

No longer turning.


Capturing The Moment — Rock Falls   Leave a comment

“Rock Falls” — Image by kenne

Image captured along Crystal Springs Trail on the backside of Mount Lemmon


Capturing The Moment — Crystal Springs Trail   4 comments

After the 2003 Aspen Fire much of the burned area was seeded with a mix of native plant species designed to prevent non-native invasive plants from becoming established in areas affected by the fire. The result over the years since is a very thick ground cover that at times make it difficult to follow the trail. (See photo below.) I did some research trying to name the above flower, but will now have to depend on some of my naturalists friends to help name the wildflower. As you can see, it was getting some light through the thick foliage

One of the many trails through the area seeded is the Crystal Springs Trail, which we hiked yesterday. The trail is on the north side of Mount Lemmon, often referred to by Summerheaven residents as the “backside”.  There are two ways to reach the trail, one from an intersection of the Butterfly Trail, the other from the Control road, which was named that since it was the only access to Summerhaven before the Santa Catalina Highway was built. We hiked the trail down to a small springs, which like a lot of the area was difficult to find because of all the overgrowth where still some of the giant walnut trees remain.


Images by kenne

%d bloggers like this: