[To get to the Tortalitas jump on the I-10 north to Tangerine, east to Dove Mountain Blvd and they’re happy for you to park in the Ritz Carlton Hotel — there is a map of the different trails at the trail head, and they are very well marked]
I’d never been up to the Tortalitas before, they are quite beautiful and not as busy as they could have been on the last sunny day of 2015. The trail starts off in the sandy wash bed full of winter-flowering chuparosas (justicia californica), the air full of the whir of hummingbird wings alli chupando, and the whistles and trills of their territories claimed.
We took the wild burro trail, climbed up past petroglyphs (the reason we came out here).
We passed more modern ruins too, an old cistern and poles of iron that of course were shot at. the collection of old bullet casings was unexpected, however.
Then a climb up to the point where you can see the lushness of the wash below.
Further up past limestone waves.
Past saguaro picture frames.
Up to Alamo Springs, remnants of an old damn from the ranch up here, and holes in the rock drilled by native peoples as water holes. There’s an informative sign even up here, it’s a little weird how much signage is here really, probably reflective of the hotel.
And then back along the…I have forgotten the other trail that you come to at Alamo Springs, but it makes a nice circle and takes you from view to view on your way back:
until you reach the wash again, full of grass and pebbly sand beneath your feet that you can follow back down to the parking lot.
And soon enough back to the hummingbirds.
We passed a little colony of rabbits as well, but sadly didn’t see any javelina or deer.