Now that Skylar's older and needs less rest, we can do more taxing things over the weekend. That's been true for months, actually. But the burning of our cool-weather retreat in the Catalinas last June, followed by forced closures of Sabino Canyon, left us uncertain where to go, aside from nearby Pima Canyon. Because that one's too low altitude for summer hiking, however, we needed an alternative. So we braved the Catalina Highway again -- last time we had to turn around halfway up because the road was insane -- and ended up hiking on the Butterfly Trail, which our neighbor Wendy recommended.
We didn't make it to the unburned portions of the trail, since Skylar expended her energy mounting every oblique rock in her path. But we got to see something better: a forest being reborn.
Like the books say, the forest floor has clearly benefited from last year's massive burn. There were plenty of wildflowers:
And adequate camouflage for this horny reptile:
What's more, because the fire went through that area at high speed, many trees are still intact, especially as you head up the spur trail to Mt. Bigelow:
Yes, that's Tucson way down in the valley.
I can't tell you how good it feels to realize that we can once again get away from the heat so easily. It's such a great experience for Skylar too. She had fun noting the changes in landscape as the road climbed the range and found all sorts of little rocks and seed pods to bring with her to school tomorrow for show-and-share.