Hannah’s Tucson Adventures

27 Feb

Have you ever ventured away from campus and explored the true beauty Tucson has to offer? Every year, I try to do something new in Tucson. Freshman year I traveled to Mt. Lemon with friends. Sophomore year I hiked Seven Falls at Sabino Canyon. Junior Year I ate at different restaurants special to Tucson. This year I explored Peppersauce Cave on Mt. Lemon. It doesn’t matter if you’re interested in hiking, exploring, eating, or history. Get out there and try something new!

Freshman Year
Freshman year I made a lot of new friends through organizations I was involved in and my dorm. One weekend at the beginning of winter, four friends and I decided to drive up and spend the day on Mt. Lemon. We were planning to just take a little hike and enjoy nature. After about an hour of driving everyone started to get restless so we decided to stop at the next trail we saw. The path was lined with tall trees covered in all sorts of beautifully colored leaves. Many of the leaves had fallen off the trees and created a thick layer on the path. We kicked the leaves around a little and then decided to start throwing as many as we could up in the air. Then of course we had to repeat the whole situation so we could get some good pictures.

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After we got our shot we continued all the way to the top of the path, which happened to end at the ski resort. We went into the quiet little shop to buy lift tickets. They had a few cats and a dog walking around the store and the old woman behind the counter was so nice. She asked us a bunch of questions about school and how we met. She even gave us a free Mt. Lemon sticker that we stuck on the car at the end of the day.

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At the top of the mountain we could see all over Tucson. Sitting in quiet looking down on the city, we reminisced on our first semester together. Not once did a worry about school cross our minds. It was a much needed break and it was good bonding time with new friends. To top it all off, on the way back to the car, a light snow began to fall. We caught a few snowflakes on our tongues, and then headed into the little town called Summerhaven to eat and get warm. We ventured into the Mt. Lemon Cookie Cabin and bought pizza, pizookies, and hot chocolate. It was crammed with bikers, hikers, and other visitors who had all been enjoying the beautiful day just like us.

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Sophomore Year
Sophomore year, my dad visited without my mom and sister so we decided to plan an eventful weekend. We did all sorts of activities like a run around campus, throwing the football and frisbee on the mall, eating nice dinners, and watching the UofA basketball and baseball games. Finally on Sunday, we went for a hike where neither of us had ever been. A friend suggested we check out the Seven Falls trail at Sabino Canyon. We set our alarms for 6:30am and set out for the hike. Once we got to the trails we checked out the map for a few minutes but couldn’t figure out where the Seven Falls trail was so we just decided to wing it. Following other hikers who seemed to know what they were doing, we ended up on the right path. Of course we did get a little lost after venturing off to explore a bit. My dad is obsessed with saguaros so whenever he saw a really cool one we would have to go over and take a picture of it.

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There were little creeks running down the entire trail. One was even big enough we needed to use a log to walk across. Unfortunately I’m clumsy and fell in when I tried running across the log, so I had one wet shoe the rest of the hike. We walked for a long time and were just about to turn around when we heard louder water running. We continued on a little further and ended at a water fall flowing into pools of water. People were laying out on the flat rocks enjoying the sunlight and others were swimming in the crystal clear pools. We stayed for about 30 minutes walking around the area and then decided to head back. We had been enjoying the beauty of the hike for so long that we didn’t realize we only had an hour to get back to campus. We sprinted the whole way back and made it just in time for our final event, lunch with some friends and their dads. It was an exhausting morning but it was all worth it. We got a workout in, saw a beautiful site, and experienced a new place. Since then, we’ve brought my mom along two more times, and we’re planning another hike this April.

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Junior Year
Junior year, my friends and I decided we were frequenting the same restaurants too often. We had always heard about great places in Tucson to try but hadn’t been very adventurous eating out. Fall semester, we made a list of different places to try and then picked them out of a hat whenever we were trying to decide where to go. We went downtown to The Hub, El Charro Cafe, Cafe Poca Cosa (crazy expensive but delicious),  and Cup Cafe. We also tried a lot of places on 4th Avenue including Lindy’s on 4th, Magpie’s Gourmet Pizza, B Line, Epic Cafe, and Caruso’s. For breakfast we tried Blue Willow, Bobo’s, and SoHo. Still on our list is Lovin’ Spoonfulls, Reilly Pizza, Wildflower American Cuisine, and Proper. I highly recommend you try every place I mentioned.

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This is from Cafe Poca Cosa!

Senior Year
At the beginning of this semester, my roommates and I were looking to go on a new hike. One friend had a place in mind and said he had been up to a cave on the backside of Mt. Lemon. We didn’t know what we were getting into until we got in the car and he handed us headlights to use in the cave.

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After an hour long car ride, we finally found the trail. The rest of us hadn’t heard of this place so we were very skeptical. He led us to the cave entrance and we walked right in and were immediately in awe. The rocks were so smooth and all different colors. We had to crawl on our hands and knees through a small hole at the bottom of the rock to continue on. A group of teenagers were running around all over the cave. They seemed to know where they were going so we followed their lead. They used a fishing line and candles to mark the paths so they wouldn’t get lost going back out. We were lucky they were there because without those markings we could have taken a few wrong turns back. The whole time we were climbing over, under, and in between huge rocks. There were a lot of different places we could have explored, but we didn’t want to get lost so we stayed on the marked path. It led us to a ladder that someone had bolted in. We had to carefully climb down and hop onto some slippery rocks. Practically sitting on the floor we maneuvered our way down the rest of the way. We ended at a pool of ground water. It was pitch black and the reflections of the cave on the water tricked us into almost walking straight into it.

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We stayed there and took in the moment then headed back out. At times it was a little scary to think that we were so far into a mountain and under so much, but it was also exhilarating. We had a blast and now I can say I’ve been spelunking.

Think about what you really enjoy doing, hanging out with friends, doing thrilling activities, gardening, eating, or visiting historical sites. Then do some research to see what Tucson has to offer. The University of Arizona has organizations like the UA Ramblers who go on group hikes, or Outdoor Adventures who participate in thrilling trips. You can even plant and harvest your own fruits and vegetables through the UA Community Garden. My point is, there is so much to see and do in Tucson you just need to do some research and then get out and try new things.

-Hannah

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