Archive for the ‘Lower Butterfly Trail’ Tag

A Recent Drive Up The Catalina Highway To Ski Valley   3 comments

Yesterday (08/05/20), I drove up the Catalina Highway to Mt. Lemmon. The highway was opened to the general public last Saturday morning for the first time since the Bighorn Fire began in early June. The mountain town of Summerheaven, successfully protected from the fire, is now open for business, although still having to follow HOVID-19 business regulations in Arizona.

Oricle Ridge-72Oracle Ridge and Mt. Lemmon Fire Station

Before entering Summerheaven, there are two ridges going north; Red Ridge and Oracle Ridge. Both ridges were severely burned during the 2003 Aspen Fire that destroyed almost all the homes in Summerheaven. Over the years since the Aspen Fire, the forest canopy has still not returned on these ridges. However, a lot of ground cover containing some bushes and small trees had returned. On June 17th, the two ridges were again burned. On June 19th, I posted two time-delay videos of the fire coming through the area pictured in the above photo. The fire station and most of the pines behind it were spared — not true of the storage building and new growth since the 2003 fire. It has now been 50 days since the fire occurred. Note how green the scared area has become with the return of ferns on the mountain slopes.

Except for the highway and Summerheaven, the public is not allowed to go anywhere in the National Forest. From what I was able to observe from the highway, most of the hiking trails with trailheads near the highway are ok, at least partially. Parts of Lower Butterfly Trail and Green Mountain Trail don’t look good from a distance.

My guess is that the trails in the forest around Summerheaven were burned like the two ridges north of Summerheaven. From a review of burn scar maps, the Marshall Gulch area to the north and west, which would include Carter Canyon, has been badly burned. For those of you who hike this area, It’s possible a lot of the Marshall and Mint Springs trails were destroyed. We may not know until November.

Since Sabino Creek originates along the Marshall Gulch Trail, the monsoon rains can result in a lot of potential flash flooding coming down through Sabino Canyon. So far, the rain amounts are very below average, but we are still in the monsoon season.

— kenne


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Images Taken From Catalina Highway by kenne


First Summer Hike In The Santa Catalina Mountains, June, 2015   Leave a comment

The remnants of Hurricane Andres moved into southern Arizona yesterday bringing clouds, scattered showers and cooler weather to the area. Hikers gathered at the Lower Butterfly parking at the Bigelow trailhead in a light rain to begin the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN) first hike of the summer in the Santa Catalina mountains. By the time we began our scheduled 9:00 am hike to Leopold Point, the rain had stopped and we were able to complete the four mile hike without rain. Temperatures in the fifties and occasional strong wind gusts made wind-breaker jackets standard apparel, it was a perfect day for hiking in the Santa Catalina’s.



Hike to Leopold Point Images by kenne (Click on any image to see larger view in a slideshow format.)

Hiking To Leopold Point   Leave a comment

Friday Hikers (1 of 1)-15 II blog

Hiking to Leopold Point — Images by kenne (Click on any of the tiled images for a larger view in a slideshow.)

SCVN Mt. Lemmon Summer Hikes Have Begun

The SCVN lead Friday Summer Hikes started June 6th on Mt. Lemmon. Twenty hikers gathered at the lower Butterfly Trailhead for a 3.9-mile hike to Leopold Point, a big boulder lookout over the San Pedro Valley. This first hike of the summer season was lead by Ricki Mensching , the coordinator of the summer hiking program.

The Friday Hikes have a history that goes back to 1992, when Dick Toups and other SCVN members (Bob Porter, who started the Mt. Lemmon Nature Walks; BJ Martin; Heidi Schewel; Jim Martin) started the Mt. Lemmon Volunteer Interpreters (MLVI). Since the MLVI was never an official organization operating under the Forest Service, the group was ask to not use the name Mt. Lemmon Volunteer Interpreters. However, since the MLVI members were also SCVN members, the summer hikes have continued under SCVN.

“I truly believe that one of the nicest things that a person can do
is to share something special with another.
What better way to do that than to lead people
through a peaceful forest with all that it offers,
somethings to some really spectacular views.”

– Dick Toups


(Parts of this posting are from “Mt. Lemmon Volunteer Interpreters – History of An Unofficial Organization,” by SCVN member, Ricki Mensching)


SCVN Guided Hike On Lower Butterfly Trail To Leopold Point   3 comments

Lower Butterfly Trail to Leopold Point July 2013

Lower Butterfly Trail to Leopold Point July 2013Maribeth and Ricki looking out over the San Pedro River Valley.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Lower Butterfly Trail to Leopold Point July 2013Taking a break at Leopold Point — Images by kenne

Capturing The Moment — Rusby’s Primrose At Leopold Point   1 comment

As we neared the top of Leopold Point off of Lower Butterfly trail in the Santa Catalina mountains, these beautiful Rusby’s primrose wildflowers seemed to jump off the rocks. — Images by kenne

A Flower Seen Along The Trail Today   6 comments

Lower Butterfly Trail to Leopold Point July 2013

Lower Butterfly Trail to Leopold Point July 2013I tried to identify this flower in, but no luck. — Images by kenne

Hiking To Barnum Rock In The Santa Catalina Mountains and Meeting Tristan from Whitehorse   13 comments

View of Tucson and the Santa Rita Mountains in the distance. — Images by kenne

The SCVN fall hiking schedule began last Friday (October 5th) at the lower Butterfly trailhead, with our destination, Barnum Rock. As you will  see from the photos, it was a beautiful day to be hiking in the Santa Catalina Mountains. There will be two more hikes at the higher elevations  (Bug Springs on the 12th and Guthrie Peak on the 19th) with the remaining fall hikes taking place at Sabino Canyon and other desert locations.

Tristan, from Whitehorse, Yukon

Before beginning our hike at the trailhead, we met a young man, Tristan, from Whitehorse, Yukon. Working only with his name, where he was from, where he had been and where he was going, I began an Internet search. I found a blogger, Gypsy by Trade — Ridin’ Bikes and Travelin’ Light, that sounds a lot like Tristan. He writes: “In Whitehorse, I met Tristan at the Icycle Sports bicycle shop.  Nearly a small warehouse, the shop is well stocked and rents space to a coffee roaster that operates a small coffee bar.  Bikes and espresso– just about perfect.  Tristan will be in Banff around August 1 to ride the Divide, and beyond.  He shared a sampling of local Whitehorse singletrack with me, including the famed Yukon River Trail on a sandy embankment above the river.”

Next, I was able to find a reference to a Tristan Geisel in Explore — “During the summer we can go out for two rides after work, because it barely gets dark,” says bike mechanic Tristan Geisel.” With a full name, I went to Facebook — every young person has a Facebook account, right? Of course! Tristan is on Facebook, so I sent him a message. I would love to get a message back at some point in the future, but we will see.

All of us have a Tristan in us, so you can’t help but admire this young man. I can’t help but think about his travels everyday — wonder where he is today?

Ride on Tristan, ride on!


Post Note: I left out one important detail — Tristan started his six month venture in July, traveling from Whitehorse and was on the return leg following the Arizona Trail, hitting all the states north to the Canadian border. Sorry about that! Now you know why I have impressed!

(Click on any of the gallery photos for a larger view.)

%d bloggers like this: