April 5 dawned to a beautiful, clear morning at 45 degrees as nine SaddleBrooke hikers convened at the Peppersauce Canyon trailhead near a campground at the foot of Mount Lemmon. Bruce and Carol Olson (aka Team Olson) led the group up an old jeep road into a beautiful riparian canyon that follows Peppersauce Creek. Enormous Arizona sycamore and walnut trees against a brilliant blue sky provided shade as both the temperature and hikers started a slow, steady climb up into the canyon. Many colorful conglomerate rocks, an occasional alligator juniper, and interesting boulder formations along the canyon walls added to the attractiveness of the area.
According to a Coronado National Forest Service article, “While you’re here, you’ll want to keep an eye on your hot sauce. This canyon was named by prospector Alex McKay who camped here in about 1880 and reported that his hot sauce came up missing. The perpetrator (if there was one) has yet to be apprehended.”
The group negotiated several crossings of Peppersauce Creek. Hikers who venture here when the weather threatens rain in the immediate area or in the mountains above should be aware that this small creek can present a high flash flood risk. However, on this day, the water in the rocky streambed was low, and several exposed rocks kept boots and feet dry.
They stopped for snacks along the flowing creek by small waterfalls and completed this delightful up-and-back hike, returning to their cars after several hours. Besides Bruce and Carol, other hikers included Kathryn Madore, Tom Rice, Jerry Macek, Jennifer Shafer, Rick Woods, Jennifer Woods, and Bruce Landeck. Thanks to Team Olson for a beautiful April morning experience!