An Inaugural Kickoff to the Rescue

Hikers pose by the Fire Lookout Cabin. (Photo by fire ranger Jeff)

Hikers pose by the Fire Lookout Cabin. (Photo by fire ranger Jeff)

Mary Kopp

A much-needed surprise came on Sunday, May 17, just when hiking club members had grown weary of being stuck indoors. Over the previous week, SaddleBrooke had begun gradually opening services and club activities. To that end, nothing was more welcome than an email from the Hiking Club of SaddleBrooke. Yes! The time had come—with COVID-19 safeguards in place—for a first hike. Ruth Caldwell, chief guide, armed with masks and six-foot distance expectation, launched hike number one.

On May 19, six hiking enthusiasts traveled to Mount Lemmon. There, the group geared up at the Meadow Trail. The destination: the Fire Lookout Trail, located in the Coronado National Forest at the top of the mountain. This site, also known as Radio Ridge, lies in the backyard of Mount Lemmon’s Observatory at 9,000 plus feet of elevation. The observatory houses nine telescopes and is operated by the University of Arizona. From there, they set off on their hike.

The path leads down the Meadow Trail and through Lemmon Park to where it intersects with the Mt. Lemmon Trail. From there it leads to Lemmon Rock Fire Lookout. At the lookout cabin, Jeff, a National Parks senior forester, greeted the group. Jeff’s 24/7 duties include watchful vigilance over the national forest’s wellbeing.

Along the trail, animal life abounds and natural spring waters flow, all framed with the spectacular backdrop views of the Rincon, Santa Rita, and the Tucson Mountains. This experience reinforced the power and impact of nature on us all.