I’ve been thinking about this one particular canyon in the Santa Catalina Mountains for 15–20 years. Wondering what mysteries and beauty were held high up in the headwaters of the Cañada del Oro (often shortened to just CDO), a major watershed in the northwest Tucson basin.
About time to go tackle it, eh? Turns out it was also high on the list for good friend and fellow outdoor adventurer Charles.
Starting high in the Ponderosa pines.
Looking southwest to Cathedral Rock, Window Rock, and Mount Kimball.
Looking north-northwest down the west fork of the CDO drainage.
Blue is for … adventure.
Pretty tall, 4-5′, maybe Bracken (Pteridium equilinum).
One of hundreds of stream crossings.
Amazingly wet canyon.
Cattle fence near the junction with FR 736.
We set out very early Saturday morning and hiked about 9 hours: 7am to 4pm, covering almost 21 miles down from atop Mt Lemmon to the end of Lago del Oro near Saddlebrooke. (Huge thanks to our ladies for the dropoff and pickup.)
It was wonderful! Water, water, water. Did I mention water? We were both blown away by how wet the canyon was; it continued to flow on its northward bend even after we joined the Charouleau Gap road.
For all the beautiful evidence see Charles’s great set of 26 photos from our adventure and his full route profile via GPS (elevation, mileage, etc).
Hat tip to Sirena Dufault for her thorough report about this exact route—very helpful in our planning.
The fascinating story of the missing “Sandy Island” in Pacific Ocean.
The island that everyone thought was there, but no one actually bothered to check. Crazy. (Via NPR.)
A very talented bluegrass band from our corner of Arizona, Run Boy Run, is super hot right now, with two recent appearances on A Prairie Home Companion to go with their 2011 top prize at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
Check out their freshly released first full-length album, “featuring original songs, traditional tunes, and a favorite cover.”
Erin and I were thrilled to catch Run Boy Run in concert last Sunday night at Hotel Congress, in downtown Tucson; we heard many tracks off this new album. Superb! I absolutely loved the rich vocal harmonies and full sound of this 5-person band.
You might know Louis L’Amour from his epic portrayals of the American West, pioneers, cowboys, women and men who built the new country. He was also quite a good poet. “Forest People” is one of my favorites from the collection Smoke From This Altar, perfect for the muddy springtime when the critters leave their story on this spot of land we call home.
I read their story in the sand,
Another in the snow,
They write it with their tiny feet
As they come and go;
Here one stopped to eat awhile,
There one paused in fear—
This was a sparrow’s landing field
With marks of his running gear;
Their joys and woes and tragedies
Are written clear and bold.
Their swift, minute biographies
The tracks they leave unfold.
Coyote and small mammal tracks in the dirt outside our place; our “Sand People.”
My First Day at the Yankees — Matthew McGough →
Via our brother-in-law Joel, a humorous tale. “A first-person account from a batboy on opening day with the Yankees. The last half of the story (about 4 minutes) is the best part.”
Somehow I missed this “discovery” where an earlier Mona Lisa was locked in a vault until recently: Two Mona Lisas.
The Mona Lisa Foundation’s mission is to make Leonardo’s “Earlier Mona Lisa” known and loved in its own right, as much as the version that hangs in the Louvre Museum. The Foundation tells the remarkable story of this 500-year-old masterpiece, mobilizes art historians, scientists, forensic artists, and other experts to prove the “Earlier Mona Lisa’s” authenticity, and Leonardo’s exceptional skills.
I remain skeptical that it is truly by Leonardo, but the research and evidence presented is genuinely interesting.
Hat tip: Matías Ventura.
One week away until my first long road race, the 60-mile version of the El Tour de Tucson. I think I’m ready! Lots of miles of training, riding 2–3 times a week. For keeping track I’ve been using the Strava iOS app.
Here are my training stats since in September 2012, when I purchased my first road bike and started using Strava.
Bike: Trek 311
Distance: 299.3 mi
Time: 19 hr 24 m
Biggest Ride: 25.1 mi
Biggest Climb: 552 ft
Elev Gain: 6,257 ft
View my full profile and follow me on Strava: http://www.strava.com/athletes/lancewillett.
Hi lovely readers — Lance here, making my annual blog post (looking back, I posted once in 2011 and once in 2010).
I’m making the switch from mountain biking to road riding this month, with a goal of riding in the El Tour de Tucson in November 2012. First step: get a road bike.
Looking on Craigslist, and getting expert help from friends Josh W. and Brian M., I found this superb 80s Trek bicycle. All gray, with new grip tape and a new, snazzy saddle. After raising the seat height a bit, and adding my own pedals, it fits like a glove.
First ride early this morning, 8 miles on The Loop along the Santa Cruz River from Camino del Cerro to Ina Road. Love it.