It's Barbara's (significant) birthday today, and she had long talked about going for a hike in the Pinalenos, the sky island north of us, to celebrate. She chose the Round The Mountain (= Mt Graham) trail to Marijilda Creek, which at 3.5 miles seemed an easy goal. That was before we knew about the 2215 feet of elevation gain and loss. We have since renamed the trail: Grand Canyon of Graham County.
It was a gorgeous day and Dave, Barbara, Dan, Emma and I set off in Subie, with a picnic lunch to be consumed at the end of the hike. This turned out to be a great decision because we might not have made it back today had we cheesed and wined at Marijilda creek.
The landscape is rugged and tortured, and the trail exposed because of a forest fire in 2004. Then, we could see the flames at night, and this is a 90 minute drive from the WD. The trail was all up in the beginning, with a tempting crossing at Noon Creek, after that it was rocky and a steady climb until we came to a little divide and from there it was all down to Marijilda Creek.
Different sky island means some different plants. This cactus does not grow around here. We could see the source of the creek in the snow at the top, and soon the roar was getting louder, but the view was as if we were looking down into the Grand Canyon. When we got there the water was very fast, but thankfully Emma kept her head and ventured in very carefully. We had a short break at the water, but lunch called. So then it was all the way back up, and back down again.
We had a great lunch with cheese, salami, crackers, wine, fruit, egg salad and chocolate cake to celebrate the birthday. A memorable one!