Saturday, February 15, 2014

Petroglyphs, Mines and a Little Bushwacking

The daytime temperatures are heading towards 90 degrees lately so we head out for exercise earlier (8:30am) and try to avoid serious climbing.

The other day we started our Wasson Peak hike from the King Canyon trail head (at the K24 parking lot in Tucson Mountain Park), but we knew there were other goodies to be found from that starting point. Last year we did a loop that included the lower portion of King Canyon which holds evidence of our ancestors. Yesterday we chose to hike up King Canyon as far as possible to see if there were even more petroglyphs.

There's a nice gentle incline in King Canyon.

Early on we saw the only mortero of the day.

For some reason on this day I was fascinated by cacti growing precariously from rock walls.

Occasionally there are rock drop offs that I would love to see during monsoon season!

Eventually we came to the petroglyph site which is a little down stream from the Mam-a-Gah picnic area turn off. You've got to search a little for them as they are wearing away with time and the elements and the rock walls are slowly falling into the canyon.

This tall rock wall (and the other side of the canyon) is the site of the petroglyphs.

From the ledge in the rock wall above looking down into King Canyon.

After a brief stop at the lovely Mam-a-Gah picnic site, great views and shade, we continued on up King Canyon. At a Y intersection we turned left, all the while looking for more Indian signs or anything else of interest.

Neat fan shaped arm on this saguaro.

Where there's a will there's a way!

The end of the canyon.

Once we reached the end of the canyon we really didn't want to just turn around and retrace our steps. We had seen what looked like an old roadbed leading to a mine site above us as we ascended the canyon so we decided to check it out.

Climbing up the mine tailings.

One of several miners trash dumps we saw...lots of tin cans.

Turns out the old road bed was not maintained as a trail. It was very overgrown and eroded, but it was also evident that a few hardy hikers had done the same loop we were attempting. So of course we set off down the "road" weaving our way through cactus, mesquite and creosote.

Picking my way through cactus.

A look back at the mine site and the canyon we had come up.

Another mine site...Hans was living dangerously!

Hans is on the right, walking down the old road bed, the canyon below us.

This was a great hike for a hot day. Not too strenuous, some parts were even shaded, and we got off the beaten path. Perfect!


  1. Looks like a great hike. Bet you have a few scratches on your legs like we do from bushwacking the other day. Not the best idea in the desert!

    1. :-) Actually we were both surprised to come out unscathed! My biggest concern was the possibility of snakes since it's staying so warm.

    2. yep, it is snake season there especially in the early morning hours as they try to get out and warm up... most are too cold in the early morning to move fast but they can still scare the crap out you!

  2. The pics are great. You do have to be careful around the old caves around here the snakes like them.

    1. You bet! We've got the eagle eyes on when we're out and about int his heat!

  3. You really found an awesome arm. I love that little crested arm. If you come back in 100 years, it should be quite large and pretty!!!!

    I love those new found trails. Fun to be a new explorers. Sure looked a wonderful day:) It seems all the heat this winter is out your way.

    1. Wouldn't it be great to see that arm in many, many years?!?!?!

      Yes, we've got the different than last year!