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The Seven Cataracts Journey Hike: A Mountain Sliding, Canyoneering Exploration Into Willow Canyon

The Seven Cataracts Journey Hike: A Mountain Sliding, Canyoneering Exploration Into Willow Canyon

Arizona is an extremely stunning, wildly assorted point out with topography ranging from lower level desert landscapes, to superior mountain peaks and alpine forest ranges. A lot more than any other geologic element however, Arizona is extensively renowned for its numerous attractive and distant rock canyons, deep slot gorges, h2o falls and pools which are scattered in the course of the point out. Having said that, what I find even more astounding, is that numerous of these backcountry wilderness canyons can be accessed through “non-specialized” canyon hiking routes which will not have to have ropes and are basically inside of a single day’s journey from possibly Phoenix or Tucson. For an great late summer months to early drop working day vacation and hike, if you are up for extra of an thrilling problem and an extraordinary and scenic working day trip, then acquire a mountain sliding, canyoneering climbing experience to 7 Cataracts, and check out Willow Canyon, Tucson, Arizona.

It was the Labor Working day holiday getaway and early on Sunday early morning that I left Phoenix, about 6am, heading out of town on I-10 East and arrived in Tucson by 7:30am. At the Ina Street exit, I swung off the freeway and took a remaining, heading east 8 miles, and satisfied up with the TLC Hiking Team, led and arranged by Eric Kinneman, at the Westin La Paloma Vacation resort and arrived by 8am. Simply because the parking was stated to be minimal at the trailhead for this hike, we carpooled it with each other and set out for the day’s hike and journey heading east on Sunrise Blvd. by 8:25am.

The stunning travel on Sunrise Blvd throughout the northern stretches of Tucson and by way of the rolling foothills of the magnificent Santa Catalina mountains has often been a most loved of mine. The Santa Catalina Mountains are Tucson’s best mountain assortment achieving all the way up to 9157 ft in elevation at its very top, Mount Lemmon. To get there and to attain the trailhead for our hike, we zig zagged it throughout Tucson, driving east on Dawn Blvd to Swan Highway, turned right (south), to River Street, turned still left (east), then a proper on to Sabino Canyon Highway, still left onto Tanque Verde Road and headed east on Tanque Verde Street till we achieved the Catalina Freeway, aka the “Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway”, and then turned remaining yet again.

It was about 4 miles or so immediately after making the left turn onto the Catalina Freeway that you enter the Coronado Nationwide Forest and start off the winding ascent up into the rugged Santa Catalina mountains. While it really is been a extensive time due to the fact I was very last there, I was however amazed at just how beautiful and attractive this travel actually is. Quickly as you head on up in elevation starting at 3000 ft, the views are completely amazing with just about every switchback and hairpin curve supplying a new and amazing rock formation or beautiful canyon vista off to the distance. If you like to prevent and take a large amount of shots, as I always like to do, you have loads of possibility to do so since this drive presents a amount of vista details to love along the way. On the other hand, at about mile marker 5, just past the Molino Canyon Ignore, there is a pay station where you must purchase a $5 Coronado National Forest day use recreation go if you’re preparing on halting anywhere additional together the drive. We obtained the working day use passes, a person each per car and journeyed on for three a lot more miles right until we attained the Seven Cataracts Vista Position, just past Thimble Peak Vista and about at about mile marker 8 and about 1/3 of the way up to Mount Lemmon.

We pulled into the Seven Cataracts Vista stage, and our trailhead, parked and started out on our day’s climbing and canyoneering experience by 9am. The view searching down into Willow Canyon underneath was completely wonderful, but also unbelievably steep much too! Promptly, suitable from the commencing, the fall off into Willow Canyon on this “working day use” path was intense, to say the extremely the very least. Believed to be around about a 1000-1300 ft descent straight down with a 60{4962d8e2c73ee88aad7125033d5658fd247043cd5a624d71ac5e800504586b0b} grade on all unfastened dust, gravel and rocks, each one of us had to pretty much drop down to the ground on our “butts” and from part to section, slide it on down for about a overall of a ¼ of a mile till we experienced produced down to the bottom. What a website it was to see way too, actually exciting and a ton of fun! Nevertheless, this “non-official” path, largely employed by seasoned canyoneers, is rated very difficult, some even say treacherous or unsafe, so I would not advise accomplishing this hike on your have unless of course you are an skilled canyon hiker or have an seasoned canyon climbing tutorial with you.

The moment we experienced all securely slid our way down and arrived at the bottom and immediately after a brief team picture, Eric started leading our group on our canyoneering exploration additional down into Willow Canyon, scrambling, boulder hopping and course 3 climbing through partly functioning water falls. Definitely attractive and magnificent scenery all the way down much too! We ongoing on for about a ¼ mile where we had attained a really great managing falls and savored the option to cool off, rest and get pleasure from the tranquil tranquility and elegance of this distant and lesser regarded wilderness canyon. In the meantime, Eric, together with a number of other adventurous associates, journeyed on for an additional 1/3 to ¼ mile, and just after a lot more scrambling, boulder hopping and class 3-4 climbing, reached a attractive 100 foot h2o tumble and a bigger swimming gap deep adequate he explained that even with a jump off a 10 foot cliff, they could not strike base! Remarkable!

Just after about an hour or so break, we decided it was time to start out generating our way back again. Now it was time for the most complicated aspect of our canyoneering adventure, making it back again! So we began our trek back via Willow Canyon the exact same way we arrived, scrambling, boulder hopping, wading as a result of the swimming pools, then climbing it back up by the h2o drop. It only took a shorter time nevertheless and within minutes we experienced all produced it securely again up and to the foundation of the aspect of the hill we had at first “slid” down on previously. It was below that we met back up with Eric then broke up into two groups. You could come to a decision to possibly make the ascent in the identical spot you arrived down with the 60{4962d8e2c73ee88aad7125033d5658fd247043cd5a624d71ac5e800504586b0b} grade on all free dust and gravel, where by Eric stated it was for each and every 3 measures up, a slide of one or two back. Or my pal Dan made the decision it appeared like if you took it up a tiny more down to the remaining, you could much more effortlessly climb it straight up the rocks and cliff and up to the top rated. So myself, together with several other customers adopted Dan’s lead and hand over foot, we gradually and carefully climbed it, part by part till we safely attained it back up to the top rated. Wow, for me and anyone who’s afraid of heights, and not professional at rock climbing, it was demanding but a whole lot of enjoyment and unbelievable work out also!

The moment back at the major and at the 7 Cataracts Vista parking whole lot, we waited for the closing members to safely and securely return, then by 12:15pm we acquired back into our autos to travel the rest of the way up to Mount Lemmon for lunch at the Iron Doorway Cafe. The sights alongside the way were yet again, magnificent as you make your way from elevation 5000 toes on up to the Mount Lemmon Sky Valley, elevation about about 8200 ft. Although the indicators of the devastating 2003 Aspen hearth ended up noticeable, it was still quite wonderful and the temperatures by this time of day, very low to mid 80’s and very cool and refreshing.

Having said that, with the 2.5 hour wait around at the restaurant, owing to it becoming a weekend and also a holiday getaway, we resolved it was best to flip all around and head back again alternatively.

We arrived again in Tucson at about 2pm and immediately after an great lunch at a little cafe termed Renee’s Natural and organic Oven on Tanque Verde Road, we arrived again at the Westin La Paloma Vacation resort by 4pm, exactly where all those of us who had just arrived down for the day, headed back again to Phoenix from there to return residence once more by about 6pm.

In all, it was actually an amazing canyoneering exploration and waterfall climbing experience with the TLC Climbing Team, meticulously researched, properly prepared and thought by way of to the past element by Eric Kinneman himself. Genuinely had it all, astonishingly lovely, interesting, however also extremely complicated. I imagine that this hike is ideal summed up even though in Eric Kinneman’s possess phrases in which he quotations, “The 7 Cataracts Waterfall Journey Hike is an remarkable hike that I very advocate people today having. It will exam your fears, give you an unbelievable exercise routine and get you through some wonderful canyons, and a 100 foot waterfall and swimming gap, rarely witnessed by any individual. What more could any individual check with for!”