Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tumamoc Hill: A User's Guide

Posted By on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Mari Herreras' story in this week's issue gives us a great feel for Tumamoc Hill—its history, its culture and its many fans. If you want to try the hike, there are just three rules: No pets. No hiking on weekdays between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. And no messing with the plants and wildlife.

Follow these tips to make your experience more enjoyable for yourself and your fellow hikers.

• Enjoy the community. Smile at everyone you see. Tumamoc introduces you to a cross-section of Tucsonans that you might not otherwise meet. For that moment, you also get to part of their story.

• Say hi to the mayor. You might see Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild early in the morning. Or you might be greeting his doppelganger, Dr. Ron Spark, a physician who helps with the Friends of Tumamoc.

• Save the planet. Take a water bottle, but be sure it’s a refillable one. You can top it off at the water fountain near the research buildings. There’s a port-a-potty available, too. Keep it neat.

• Keep it quiet. Lots of people want a soundtrack to help them climb; use earbuds. Nobody else, and we mean nobody, wants your soundtrack. This rule will become very important to you at some point. Feel free to share it.

• Share the sights. Wildlife is always around. If you see a coyote, javelina, deer, tarantula, hawk or owl, don’t holler, but be sure to let others know so they can share the fun.

• Keep the lights low. Nights on Tumamoc come with sparkling city views, astronomical wonders and nocturnal critters. Take a flashlight so you know where to put your feet, and try not to shine it on the hillside or on people. That will ruin everything for everyone, including the critters.

• Catch the moon. The moon is especially beautiful when seen from Tumamoc. You can still see city lights, but they're far enough away that the moon cuts a crisp figure in the sky. Bring a night-sky phone app to identify the stars. And next Tuesday, April 15, there’s a total lunar eclipse, so load some Nick Drake into the pocket-sized device of your choice and catch the “Pink Moon” about half past midnight. You won't be alone; it's the “Place to Be.”

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