The Seven Falls hike, without the falls - Winterlude 2020 - CycleBlaze

January 11, 2021

The Seven Falls hike, without the falls

After ten straight days in the saddle, we decided it was time for a change.  With a windy day in the forecast anyway, this seemed like just the right time for a hike.  We chose the Seven Falls trail, up in Sabino Canyon on the lower slopes of the Santa Catalina mountains.  We took this hike last winter on our previous visit here, and thought it was outstanding.  We were especially impressed then by how dense and varied the desert vegetation was, the striking huge fractured rocks in the canyon, and especially by the beautiful series of falls cascading down the head of the canyon.  It’s a very popular hike, and when we were here before there were perhaps two hundred others out on the trail and a significant crowd playing around and in the deep pool at the base of the falls.

It was a fine hike today also, but with a much different character.  We’re in the middle of a prolonged drought now, and have scarcely seen any precipitation at all since we entered the region a month ago.  The desert vegetation and the cliffs and rocks are still here, but the surface water is gone - completely.  On our first visit we were challenged by seven crossings of the creek (in both directions), carefully stepping across the rocks to avoid slipping into the rushing stream.  This time the creek is bone dry.  It makes for a less challenging hike, but also a less aesthetic one.  On the plus side though, it was also much quieter.  We saw very few others on the trail, and only a few folks lying around on the rocks at the base of the dry falls.

I’m sure we’ll want to take this hike again sometime, but I think we’ll wait until there’s been some rain to spice things up a bit.  On the plus side though, we did see our first snake of the year (Frank, here’s your advance warning!).

I think we’ll go dark for a couple of days now, until after we’ve moved into our new home; so don’t be surprised if there’s no news in the meantime.

Entering dry, dusty Bear Creek Canyon. This place could use some precipitation.
Heart 2 Comment 0
I liked these two nearly identical saguaro stalks, growing like conjoined twins.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Looking up waterless Bear Creek.
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This is a photo from our hike back in February, so you can see the contrast.
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First snake of the year! And a big one - this guy is easily six feet long.
Heart 1 Comment 1
Jen GrumbyWow!

I've never seen a snake this big outside of a reptilian exhibit.
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1 week ago
A Sonoran gopher snake? If so, it’s scary looking but harmless - unless you’re a small rodent. Beautiful animal.
Heart 3 Comment 5
Bill ShaneyfeltCorrect ID! Good job! Not often you get to see one that size.

They can be quite gentle when handled, or quite aggressive. Wide differential in temperment. One of the first snakes I ever caught and took home was a gopher snake.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltI would have LOVED to have a pet gopher snake as a kid. All I ever could find in Seattle were garter snakes, but I kept plenty of them. To mom’s disgust, they would occasionally escape into the house.
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1 week ago
Bruce LellmanThis creeps me out big time. Not a fan of snakes!
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanDon’t like snakes? And I put this in here especially for you. I must have misremembered. It’s that aging thing again.
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1 week ago
Bruce LellmanWell, I hope in the future you keep me in mind before you post any photo!
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1 week ago
One of those huge rocks I was taking about. It makes you just a bit anxious when you look up at the cliffs on either side of the canyon.
Heart 1 Comment 0
A complex saguaro, Bear Creek canyon.
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Here’s another of those fallen rocks blocking the way. They must be lighter than they appear though.
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Another surprising wildlife sighting. Such an unlikely place to see a mountain gorilla.
Heart 3 Comment 1
Bruce LellmanYou guys have really good luck seeing unusual wildlife!
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1 week ago
Here are the famous seven falls we hiked all this way to see.
Heart 1 Comment 0
It was a more evocative and refreshing scene last winter.
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Here’s the full extent of our company at the falls today. Quite a different scene than our last time out.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Falls or no falls, it’s a lovely spot to take a break before heading back down.
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The view south as we descend back down the canyon. I’m more knowledgeable this time. The nearest formation is Mount Wrightson and the Santa Rita range, which I knew before. Beyond it though is the range that includes Baboquivari Peak (the prominent point on the left) and Kitt Peak on the right.
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I was lucky to have a look at this youngster on the way back. It didn’t pose for long before bounding off into the mesquite.
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A last look back.
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