August 2011: We didn't lose the trail; the trail lost us!

A fantastic excursion to Mount Kimball in the Catalina Mountains with Aaron and Mana. Up Finger Rock Canyon and down Pima Canyon. Somewhere along the way, the trail disappeared on us before reappearing 1000 feet below. All told, 8500 vertical feet, 12 miles, and 9 hours of hiking.
Finger Rock Canyon trailhead. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  We're going up there!  Finger Rock Canyon. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  Monsoon greenery in Finger Rock Canyon. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  Aaron is taking this seriously, folks!  Look out. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island 
Aaron and Mana:  why are you taking our picture? : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  The mad hiking trio:  Pascal, Aaron, and Mana. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  Mana wonders whether this would be a good time to turn around. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  You know what shade means?  A water break! : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island 
Careful stepping. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  The difference between Aaron and Finger Rocks is probably about 2000 feet right here. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  Pascal and Tucson. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  The climb continues.  This trail is not for the faint of heart (or legs)! : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island 
Aaron says "rock on!".  Mana wonders if she made the right decision to accompany Aaron and Pascal. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  From maybe two-thirds of the way up Mount Kimball. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  A nice resting spot. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  Hoodoo-like formations. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island 
No falling off of the edge! : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  Can you spot all three intrepid hikers in this photo?  Pascal is the easy one! : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  Moments after Mana posed for this picture in front of the spiky cactus, we were buzzed by a hawk.  It was literally a few feet away; I only heard the whoosh and felt the breeze from its wings; it was away too fast for me to pick up visually. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  Rock formations which could be mistaken for cairns marking the trail if they weren't so gigantic! : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island 
View of Mt. Wrightson and Tucson from atop Mt. Kimble. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  That's Picacho Peak in the distance. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  You can see Oracle and Biosphere 2 in this one. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  The fearsome hiking trio has ascended to the highest altitude of the day.    The adventure was only just beginning, however. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island 
What are you looking at? : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  We got this!  Bring it on! : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  This direction (away from Tucson) definitely felt counter-intuitive; the disappearing-reappearing trail did not help our pathfinding. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  Alright, onwards anyway! : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island 
Pima Saddle was cool.  But I think the sign misdirected us and caused us to miss the turnoff to the trail-proper. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  Pascal on Pima Saddle. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  Aaron and the clouds at Pima Saddle. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  That's the way out.  But where's the trail to get there? : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island 
Checking out the view from what might have been the best vantage point of the entire hike. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  The bushwhacking portion of our journey, before we found the trail again (excuse me, before the trail found _us_ again). : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  We just came down out of that mess. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  We were up there! : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island 
Action shot! : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  Mana and Aaron making haste for the exit. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  Finally reaching the easier stretches in lower Pima Canyon. : hike, elevation, canyon, desert, sky island  The walls of Finger Rock Canyon. : desert, canyon, sky island, hike, elevation 
Finger Rock Canyon and Tucson from, roughly, the one third point. : sky island, canyon, elevation, desert, hike  Finger Rock is among this jumble of rocks, but can't be seen from this angle. : sky island, canyon, desert, hike, elevation  There is most definitely still some climbing to do! : elevation, desert, sky island, canyon, hike  Finger Rock Canyon. : canyon, elevation, desert, sky island, hike 
We were rewarded with a fantastic view of Mt. Lemmon (way in the back) and Window Peak (righthand side in the foreground) once we reached the saddle of the Finger Rock Canyon trail. : elevation, desert, canyon, hike, sky island  Looking northwest from atop Mt. Kimble. : sky island, desert, canyon, hike, elevation  Aaron and Mana on Mt. Kimble. : sky island, hike, elevation, desert, canyon  It's through here that the trail starting losing us. : hike, canyon, elevation, desert, sky island 
Well, there's a trail down on that ridge below us.  But, how the heck are we supposed to get to it? : canyon, sky island, hike, desert, elevation  This spot had the best view of the entire hike.  Perched on the pinnacle of a peak, 360º around, peaks in every direction:  simply jaw-dropping. : elevation, hike, sky island, desert, canyon  This spot had the best view of the entire hike.  Perched on the pinnacle of a peak, 360º around, peaks in every direction:  simply jaw-dropping. : hike, sky island, desert, elevation, canyon  The way out! : desert, elevation, hike, sky island, canyon 
More Pima Canyon. : elevation, canyon, desert, sky island, hike  Fortunately, we didn't have to battle flash floods or lightning on this day. : elevation, canyon, sky island, hike, desert  Great clouds at sunset (aka "another crappy Tucson sunset"). : hike, elevation, sky island, canyon, desert