Noah Donovan has no problem with breaking a sweat during Tucson’s summer months.

In fact, the green goods and retail manager at Mesquite Valley Growers, 8005 E. Speedway, spends summer days outside, whether he is working at the nursery or hiking the mountains around Tucson.

“Every chance I get in the summer, I’m trying to get into some of the cooler canyons or looking for water holes or shade, so they’re doable hikes in the summer,” Donovan, 28, said.

Some of Donovan’s favorite hikes take him miles into Sabino Canyon or up Mount Lemmon. He loves exploring Romero Pools in Catalina State Park and scaling rocks at Seven Cataracts Vista up Mount Lemmon. Hiking Wasson Peak, about seven miles up and down, in the Tucson Mountains near the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is more accessible, though it lacks the shade pockets on some of Donovan’s other favorite hikes.

In his early days in Tucson about nine years ago, Donovan lived closer to the peak, trekking up and down for bursts early in the morning or in the moonlight.

As a kid growing up in upstate New York, Donovan spent his summers camping with family in the Adirondack Mountains and getting toted around in a carrier. He still explores like he did as a child, keeping his eyes peeled for animals and what is around the next corner.

“I like to see animals and find different stuff,” he said. “We always collected turtles and snakes and everything as a kid.”

Donovan moved west for an internship with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, surveying the desert for wildlife and plant species. Today, Donovan’s hikes can also double as work. When he stumbles onto a species not grown at the nursery, he will find seeds or a small cutting to bring down the mountain.

“Since I have lived in Arizona, I have worked outside every single summer,” he said. “I don’t seem to have a problem with it.”

Day or night, summer hikes require extra safety precautions.

Contact reporter Johanna Willett at or 573-4357.

Writing about Tucson's heart and soul — its people, its kindness, its faith — for #ThisIsTucson.