Sunday, October 26, 2014

Agua Caliente, MUY Caliente!

October 25, 2014
Agua Caliente Hill

After last week's hike, we were anxious to go out and do another with our hiking pup. We chose to hike to Agua Caliente because we heard it was dog-friendly and one Curtis had only done once, 3 years ago. Last time he did it was in the "winter," and according to him it was cold and cloudy and he wasn't able to enjoy the view. Today, it was perfectly clear and the 3 of us set out, excited for a new adventure!

Agua Caliente is on the Northeast side of Tucson, between the Catalina and Rincon mountain ranges. The trail begins with a lot of elevation gain in a short amount of time, and uses stairs to help with the incline. It goes up the East side of a hill, and then evens out on a ridge. Charlotte did a great job with this - she had plenty of energy and spunk that helped her to jump up even the higher stairs. There were 3 different groups that we ran into within the first mile, all heading the other way and all took time to give Charlie some love.

One hiker showed us how to get Charlotte to drink from our Camelbacks. This turned out to be super helpful, especially because we forgot to bring her water bowl this time! To get her to drink, we sit down next to her and take a drink with her watching. Then, we hold out our hand and pour water into it. It didn't take her long at all to figure it out, and she really enjoyed it - which is a good thing, because it got HOT!

That very green pool is called Cat Track Tank. Gross...but still kind of cool looking, not something we've run into before! This is about 2 miles into the hike. After following the ridge past several hills, the trail descended at this point and continued through a valley.

Looking ahead to where we're headed

We thought that peak in the background was our destination. It wasn't until we were past it that we realized the trail went much further than we thought! 

Looking back (Southwest) and waiting for Charlie and Curtis to catch up. It was starting to get hot...WAY too hot to be out here! But being so far already, we weren't about to turn back! The peak we *thought* was our destination was getting closer and closer!

Here they come! Charlotte walked for most of the first 3 miles, with some help at an especially steep part, and then one more mile before the end of the trail. She was a bit slower and more distracted than last weekend, we think it was because of the heat and because she didn't have new exciting people and another dog to follow!

Only 1.5 miles left! At this point, she was getting tired and was constantly looking for the next shady spot to take a rest. Here, she's standing in my shadow. :)

Waiting for Curtis to share some of his cookie with her!

Nap time! Poor girl. We were giving her lots of water, but it was just too hot! This trail doesn't provide the same shade as the trail to Wrightson does either.

Facing East

Looking ahead (East) - we thought that peak was it. Nope! However, the trail up here was very pleasant (besides the heat). After a steep part getting here, we walked along this ridge, over a few hills, and then on past the peak we were looking toward.

At the point where we realized we had a bit further to go... New destination: the peak further ahead in this picture! It was a little discouraging, but the trail at this point was still easy so it didn't bother us too much. Last time Curtis did this hike, this whole stretch was cloudy, so he didn't remember anything up here.

After a very steep end of the trail, we finally made it! The end of the trail was more difficult than the rest. It consisted more of rock face and loose rocks, while the majority of the rest of the trail was well maintained and easy to walk on. Curtis gave Charlie a lift for the last part, but as soon as we reached the top, she miraculously regained her energy!

Facing West, toward Northern Tucson

Facing Southwest - this peak gave an amazing view of Tucson. And to think we thought that those smaller peaks in the foreground were the end! ;)

Facing South - to the left is the Rincon mountain range.

Facing North, toward the Catalina Mountain range.

Micah Mountain

Micah on the left, Rincon on the right!

Curtis and Charlotte went off and found a Geocache together. :)

We did it! Family picture at the top. Sadly, I couldn't find a way to get us and the view!

Family selfie!

Charlie stopped cooperating so we let her run off to eat cookies while we took more pictures looking into the sun. :)

Facing East - away from Tucson!

The way down was difficult for Charlotte. Even though it was all down hill, it was around noon and just too hot. She didn't like being carried either, all she wanted was to lie down in the shade!

Admiring all the green in the valley...while waiting on my small dog to give in to Curtis. She's turning out to be quite the stubborn little basset hound!

Letting her walk when the trail was less rocky. She's still looking out for shade!

We actually managed to make great time heading down, despite a stubborn puppy. We only stopped twice for her once we started carrying her. She was so happy to finally reach the truck - she went and laid down under it and wouldn't come out...until we offered her cookies. After the hikers/joggers we saw earlier, we saw no one on the trail, and there were no vehicles in the parking lot. I guess everyone else was smarter than us and checked the temperature before setting out on a 9 mile hike! The high was only in the mid 90's, but out on the trails it felt much hotter.

Charlie, enjoying the breeze on the way home. She was pretty lazy the rest of the day, and took many naps. :)

Map My Hike app - here's our trail!

The elevation gain - you can see that the last part of the trail (in the middle of this graph) has a ridiculous amount of incline in a very short amount of time! However, I really think that if it wasn't so hot, we wouldn't have struggled with it so much!

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