The Tortolitas are a small range just North West of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Currently there are 29 miles of trails, many of them starting from the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain Resort. The Dove Mountain Civic Group provides excellent detail and maps here, and the actual trails are very well marked. (Tucson Mountain Park should take lessons from this group on how to present trails to the public!)
We did an 8.5 mile loop consisting of these trails: Wild Burro, Upper Javelina, Wild Mustang, Wild Burro. This loop had some steep sections (both up and down), lots of rocky stretches of trail, AND amazing views, wonderful rock formations, lovely desert flora including crested saguaros!
|The flowers are starting to pop in these hills.|
We will zig zag our way up the hill on the left.
|It was a gorgeous day to be on the trail.|
|Our first crested saguaro sighting on the hike.|
|Our second crested sighting!|
Looks rather tortured doesn't it!
|Here's a view from the back...|
|On the right you can see a saguaro that seems to be starting to crest.|
Long distance views into Oro Valley from here.
|We ascended to just over 4,000 ft., that's Mt Lemmon in the distance; |
at over 9,000 ft it's one of the tallest peaks around Tucson.
|This bizarre crested saguaro was right next to the parking lot!|
We highly recommend hiking the Tortolita's! In fact, it's become a new favorite trail system in the Tucson area for us. We were fortunate to hike on a Monday, on the weekend the trails are probably pretty busy.
During our stay at Catalina we were fortunate to hook up once again with Dennis and Sheryl. We last saw them at their home in Kalispell, MT. They are currently in the process of selling that house and have recently relocated to Oro Valley. We had a fun dinner with them and their friends Bob and Carol and enjoyed touring their community.
|Hans, Sheryl, Bob, Carol, Dennis|
Last but not least, I'll share a couple more photos of the ground squirrel action we've had around here. As I mentioned in my last post, the squirrel population seems to have exploded this year. We can look out one side of the RV and see six or seven, then look out the other side and see another half dozen! They are frolicking around like puppies!
|Rosie gets to stalk them, while I make sure she can't actually catch them!|
|I caught these two as they were wrestling.|