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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Tucson by Trail

    Spring break usually heralds the mass exodus of students from the Old Pueblo to some other exotic or, at the very least, different locale.

    It could be Sin City or various parts of Mexico or just back home, but this week of freedom means escape from Tucson.

    But what about the students who just can’t leave because of financial constraints or the realization that they’ve got to use this week to get caught up on half a semester’s worth of work?

    For them, their getaway will have to wait for the summer. In the meantime, there are plenty of things to do here in Tucson during this academic hiatus.

    Money may be the reason why some students can’t get out of town, so exploring the outdoors is always a great idea. It is a cost-effective way of having some fun while getting away from all of the asphalt and dull gray of the city.

    One of the things that Tucson has loads of is the beautiful mountain ranges that buttress us from all four corners of our city.

    The view is the No. 1 reason why we don’t have a freeway, a fact that we can all curse about while we stew in traffic, albeit surrounded by the iconic distant purple triangles that represent the Southwest.

    But get a little closer, and the scenery that you’ve admired from afar becomes a web of hiking trails that demand anything from a leisurely stroll to an all-out sweat fest.

    Think of this time as a chance to get out of the city and explore those trails that start at the end of every main road featured in the UA brochures.

    You can take your pick of scenic trails from the Santa Catalina Mountains to the north, the Rincons to the east, the Santa Ritas located southward or the Tucson range to the west.

    One of the best spots is the fabled Seven Falls in the Santa Catalina Mountains.

    The hike starts at Bear Canyon, an approximately 8-mile roundtrip ordeal that rewards you with a seven-tiered waterfall system that is renowned for being one of the prettiest sites in this part of Arizona. Spring is a good time to catch it while it is still silt-free, allowing for a mid-hike dip if needed.

    For a more challenging adventure try the nearly 13-mile roundtrip Ventana Canyon trail. It’s a steep trail that increases in elevation to more than 4,000 feet, which may be strenuous for the less experienced hiker but does result in a great view of the city seen from “”the window,”” a naturally formed arch.

    However, if hiking just isn’t your thing, go for a walk about the El Presidio Street Fair on Saturday in the downtown area.

    A historically themed festival with an emphasis on Tucson history, the day’s events include the usual arts and crafts shows with some trick roping and Western stunt work thrown in for good measure.

    St. Patrick’s Day is also around the corner. Even if you’re not Irish or if you don’t like the color green, it’s still a good reason to party next Friday. Saturday marks the official festival beginning at 10 a.m., and the parade is set to march off an hour later starting at Jacome Plaza downtown.

    Showcasing traditional Irish music and dance for the entire day, there’s enough activities for you to feel practically Celtic.

    Spring also means spring training, and Tucson Electric Park offers some pre-season thrills before the big show. Plus, there’s nothing like spending a lazy sunny afternoon eating all sorts of ballpark fare while watching finely tuned athletes run around for your amusement.

    So you may not be able to get out of Tucson, but there are a few things to keep you occupied while in town until your friends come back to regale you with stories about places you haven’t been to.

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