Balmy weather, blue skies and spring blooms — not to mention easygoing flat terrain — are attracting brisk brigades of walkers, runners and cyclists to river park trails across Tucson this month.
The Chuck Huckelberry Loop trail system, with about 130 miles of trails around Tucson and surrounding areas, offers some routes in the heart of the city and others with a non-urban atmosphere.
There are so many trails that they’re never really crowded. But in recent weeks, some of the more popular routes have seen steady traffic.
Among those getting plenty of use are trails along the Rillito River and Pantano Wash.
A walk one day this week along a segment of the Pantano River Park Trail east of North Craycroft Road offered lots of opportunities to exchange greetings with passing walkers, cyclists and runners.
Likely reasons for the relatively heavy use of the trail include uncommonly cool weather for late May and trailside scenery enhanced by the greenery and blooms of spring.
Several large, leafy trees near the Pantano Wash streambed — possibly flourishing thanks to water from occasional flows in the wash — frame views of the Catalina Mountains.
Elsewhere along the trail, palo verde trees with brilliant yellow blooms add splashes of color to the landscape.
Here and there, late-blooming yellow wildflowers catch the eye.
“How are you doing?”
So go the necessarily brief trail greetings as people pass briskly — or rapidly — depending on their mode of travel.
TAKE CARE OUT THERE
Even though the trails offer easy terrain, it’s important to be prepared even for a fairly short walk or ride.
Carry more water than you expect to need — either in a small backpack or water bottle holder on a belt.
Use sun protection — sunscreen, a hat and perhaps long sleeves depending on the time of day and the length of time you’ll be on the trail.