Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hike #2: Seven Falls in Sabino Canyon

We tried to tackle this trail a few weeks ago, but naturally the one day in February it decided to rain in Tucson happened to be that day. So, we put it off until I came back from Rockage.

As a matter of fact, though, Laura and I conquered this hike a year and a half ago. We were utterly unprepared, with only one bottle of water between us, no food, and the summer sun above us. In short, I'm surprised we survived.
This time, though, were prepared. The hike to Seven Falls is just over four miles, making the hike there and back a little over eight miles total.

Once again, the trail followed a riverbed, crossing over it every once in a while. However, unlike Ventana Canyon, the river here was actually flowing with somewhat respectable amount of cool, clear water.

At this point, the water is at most ankle deep, but the water moves quickly over this rocky area leading out of the canyon.

I love little brooks like this. Along the way the water flows into crack and behind rocks, spending time in dark places where nobody can see it flow. Walking along the path, you hear countless little waterfalls that you can't see, although sometimes I felt the need to track them down.

The was one little waterfall in particular that I found in the shadows beneath some rocks which, at first, looks like a reverse waterfall, with the water flowing upward somehow. On closer inspection, though, the water was flowing out of a very small crack with a lot of force, hitting a rock on the way down which caused the water to bounce up and spread out, creating the illusion of flowing upward.

In any case, the trail was not nearly as long as I had remembered it. After two and a half hours of hiking, Laura and I reached our destination: Seven Falls.

Pictured above is, I believe, four of the seven falls. The fourth pool is where the trail terminates, giving hikers the opportunity to climb farther up or down to visit the various pools if they dare to chance the slippery rocks.

The farthest I've ever gotten was the second pool, which is as far as I'm comfortable going just yet. The second pool is fed by a waterfall that flows into this neat little cave:

There were quite a few people hanging out around the cold, snowmelt waters of the pools. I get the impression that Seven Falls is always popular, but on this day in particular the park was free for people to enter due to Presidents Day, so the falls were almost crowded. I was happy to see so many people willing to make the hike.

There's a problem of scale when it comes to pictures of a canyon like this. It's hard to comprehend, even when you're there in person. Still, I took this handy picture of the view from Seven Falls of the other side of the canyon:

Can you see the people in that picture? The cacti create an illusionary scale, since as recognizable shapes you just kind of assume they're about human size. However, when you finally notice the actual people in the picture, you suddenly realize how massive a cactus can get, and the scale of the whole thing comes slightly more into focus.

There's truly something incredible about being inside of a massive canyon like this, feeling the mass of mountains surrounding you. I imagine that's the feeling that comforts the mountain-dwelling dwarves of fantasy novels, and it's something I can relate to.

In the end, the Bear Canyon trail in Sabino Canyon (which leads to Seven Falls) is actually a pretty easy trek, assuming you bring a snack and enough water. I highly recommend it, if you ever find your way to Tucson.

Here's one last picture, showing once again how all trails in Tucson tend to frame the city in a  photogenic way. There's the city I live in, huddled in the valley between this mountain and that one:

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