- Bellota Trail – Redington Rd to Bellota Ranch – Part of Passage 10
- Distance – Out and Back – 10.24 miles / 16.399 kilometers
- Elevation Gain – 1,378 feet / 420 meters
- Elevation Loss – 1,388 feet / 423.06 meters
- Average Temperature – 72.9° F / 22.72° C
- Total Mileage – 33.79 miles / 54.376 kilometers
Redington Road winds up and over a pass between the Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountains, an area of big cattle ranches and even bigger views. The route starts among the horse farms and suburban ranches of east Tucson and switchbacks through a desert landscape to a broad plateau covered with high grasslands. The climb to the pass is punctuated with eye-catching views and rutted out treacherous dirt road.
Lova drove to the trailhead, we parked and began our hike back down the Bellota Trail to where we turned around the last hike. We are like happy children on Christmas morning when we are able to get out hiking and since we have become obsessed with the Arizona Trail, we are happier still to be able to hike each part of this 820 mile hike. Unfortunately our other partner, Sue, was unable to join us for this part of the trail, but insisted we go without her.
It was cold and windy and showered on us several times during the hike. But for some reason showers are not bothersome at all while hiking; at one point the rain turned to sleet but only for a little while.
We hiked on and as usual the sights were breathtaking. We hiked and hiked sometimes unsure of still being on trail. Sometimes we found ourselves on off-shoots of the trail. Mountain bikers blaze new trails off the main AZT, I think to traverse more rocks, thankfully the one we ended up on led us back to the main AZT.
We saw two white-tailed deer, one on the drive up to the trailhead and the other while we were hiking the trail. We also sighted cattle grazing and much evidence that we were in open range country. It was necessary at times to watch our footfall and trekking pole placement.
To help eliminate this problem on future passages, I have downloaded the GPS coordinates from the Arizona Trail Association. A dear friend has assisted me with creating tracks that can be downloaded to my Garmin fenix3 as well as OSMand+ on my Smartphone to help keep us on the trail without getting lost. (see http://choosehappinessadventures.com/2015/04/19/how-to-load-gps-files-to-a-smartphone/ to learn the procedure for downloading to a Smartphone).
We finally crossed Bellota Ranch Road, where we encountered three ATV riders. These three were the only other humans we saw that entire day. Our hike continued and finally took us in 5.12 miles / 8.24 kilometers to the ending point of our last hike.
After hiking for a while, we saw a huge cow behind a tree watching as we hiked by. Both Lova and I took our cameras and began taking pictures. I walked a little down the trail and saw how close Elsie the Cow was to the trail; I snapped a picture. Elsie decided to trot down to the trail to follow (chase) me. I called to Lova telling her the cow was chasing me, now Elsie started mooing, Lova hurried to catch up and we both high-tailed it away, with Elsie in hot pursuit mooing as she did so. I was so very happy to finally make it to the cow rail bridge and to be on the other side of the fence.
On our way back to the trailhead, the clouds lifted from the higher mountain peaks and we could see snow had fallen. We are so lucky to be having this cool spell allowing us to hike the southern passages of the AZT. It won’t be long before we will have to head up to the north passages to be able to hike during the heat of the summer.
We still have a small section of Passage 10 to complete, about what appears to be 4 miles east of Redington Road to Italian Trap. This section of Passage 10 will be included with hiking Passage 9.