Marshall Gulch (Pusch Ridge Wilderness, AZ) 23-Mar-2018

Marshall Gulch Pusch Ridge Wilderness Mount Lemmon Arizona

As we say in Oregon: When the going gets wet, the dry go to Arizona. And so it was that we found ourselves in Phoenix and Tucson for a week, visiting some old friends and doing six local hikes. The weather pretty much cooperated the whole time, with sunshine, mild air temperatures (mid 70ºFs to low 80ºFs), and only artistic clouds. There was a potent, cholla-hurling windstorm with clouds one afternoon but that was it for weather drama. We chose hikes that covered habitats fron saguaros to oaks to pines, at altitudes between 1,500 and 8,000 feet. Cacti spines were dodged, no snakes were startled (or startled us), and a good time was had by all. Now that there are direct flights between home and Phoenix, we may have to do some more hiking down there…

After taking a day to travel and visit friends (and give The LovedOne’s knee a rest), we selected as our fourth hike a short loop (4 miles round-trip; 900 feet of elevation gain) in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness in the Santa Catalina Mountains immediately east of Tucson. Starting from the Marshall Gulch Trailhead near Summerhaven and Mount Lemmon, we ascended the Marshall Gulch Trail #3 and returned via the Aspen Trail #93, all at an altitude over 7,500 feet. The Marshall Gulch Trail is a small part of the 800-mile Arizona National Scenic Trail which traverses the state from Utah to Mexico. This pleasant hike gave us a change of pace from the saguaros of the Sonoran Desert below and a chance to experience Canadian Zone riparian areas and ponderosa pine forests. It also didn’t put too much strain on The LovedOne’s fragile knee. This is apparently a very popular area, so we were lucky to be able to hike it on a weekday (yet the parking lot was almost full when we got back!).

Marshall Gulch Pusch Ridge Wilderness Mount Lemmon Arizona
Ascending the Marshall Gulch Trail
Marshall Gulch Pusch Ridge Wilderness Mount Lemmon Arizona
Ponderosas soar over the Marshall Gulch Trail
Marshall Gulch Pusch Ridge Wilderness Mount Lemmon Arizona
Crossing the intermittant creek in Marshall Gulch
Marshall Gulch Pusch Ridge Wilderness Mount Lemmon Arizona
Evidence of the wildfire that swept this area in 2003
Marshall Gulch Pusch Ridge Wilderness Mount Lemmon Arizona
Arriving at Marshall Saddle and the Aspen Trail
Marshall Gulch Pusch Ridge Wilderness Mount Lemmon Arizona
Lemmon Rock Lookout (arrow) from the Aspen Trail
Marshall Gulch Pusch Ridge Wilderness Mount Lemmon Arizona
Wildlife on the trail
Marshall Gulch Pusch Ridge Wilderness Mount Lemmon Arizona
Along the Aspen Trail
Marshall Gulch Pusch Ridge Wilderness Mount Lemmon Arizona
Mount Wrightson and Tucson from the Aspen Trail
Marshall Gulch Pusch Ridge Wilderness Mount Lemmon Arizona
Descending the Aspen Trail
Marshall Gulch Pusch Ridge Wilderness Mount Lemmon Arizona
Aspens line the Aspen Trail
Marshall Gulch Pusch Ridge Wilderness Mount Lemmon Arizona
The track of our short hike in the Santa Catalina Mountains

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