Hikers Explore David Yetman Trail and Bowman House Ruins

Left to right: Michael Reale, Frank Earnest, Larry Allen, Karen Munn, Walt Shields (guide), Karen Schickendanz, Arlene Daigle, Shirley Kaltenbach, Chuck Kaltenbach

Don’t try this at home!

Walt Shields

Named after the well-known Tucson desert expert who for many years has hosted the popular PBS series The Desert Speaks, the David Yetman Trail is a 6.5-mile, one-way hike in the Tucson Mountain Park just west of the city. It is characterized by a diversity of Sonoran Desert plants and rugged mountain vistas.

SaddleBrooke hikers visited the trail on Jan. 5. Along the way, the group encountered many bears—Teddy Bear Chollas, that is. Even though these plants look huggable, as I found out, they are a cactus that keeps on giving. Their tiny spines seem to reach out for those passing by and cling relentlessly.

Near the end of the hike, they found the iconic landmark ruin of the Sherry Bowman House. The structure was built of native stone in the 1930s. Sherry served as the news editor for the Arizona Daily Star until 1943 when the family moved to New York. Sherry’s wife Ruby kept a diary of her time there, which describes the wildlife that existed in the area, including javelinas, deer, wild horses, and sheep that would come down from the cliffs to graze in the valley. She even mentions a mountain lion that would approach the house when she cooked meat. One time it even tried to get in the window.

As the hikers enjoyed a fashionably late lunch at the house, they reminisced about what it must have been like to live in such an isolated location at that time and commute each day into Tucson.