Hirabayashi - Sycamore Reservoir - East Fork - West Fork - Hutch's Pool - Romero Pass - Catalina State Park
6:34am Nick's Confidence
5% chance(documented on video below) we'd make it due to reported chest high creek crossing
7:28am Sycamore Crossing
Two respectable men yelping(documented in video) crossing 18 inch deep creek
Knowing we'd be crossing countless creeks I wore Teva's with Seal Skinz. The reviews from REI are about 10% absolutely love 'em and 90% call them useless. Starting in the upper 30 degree temps walking through a 1/4mi very shallow creek and followed by full submersion at a swift creek crossing I was very impressed. I think people that buy these are expecting to go swimming in them and stay dry. If you go above the sock line but jump right back out, I had good results. Later on through 2-3 foot deep and much longer submersion in wide creeks I found they leak in from the top. Almost wished I bought a size smaller, perhaps better results?
Yet I was still impressed as my feet were still very
warm. I should have dried off but foolishly went another 5 or so miles until tending. Later on I developed some rather painful 3 inch blister pads on each foot.
Back to the hike
... All the creek crossings turned out to be within reason. While I thought they weren't that cold, Nick and Bob felt they were painfully cold. The crossing of Box Canyon Creek, which I call the subway since all the creeks collect in the area, was flowing hearty. Nick and Bob found an easy dry jump across. I beelined it straight through the creek.
At the crossing before Hutch's Pool I beelined it right across too. This was the crossing Nick heard was chest level days prior. I met three runners at the crossing. One crossed half way with me while talking with me. He said this crossing was no big deal but there was much worse
ahead. I asked him to please not tell my friends
I think that man heard the same report Nick heard without seeing it for himself as all the other crossing heading up got much easier. Nick took us for a quick look at Hutch's Pool then on to what he called a "5 minute hike" up to the Cathedral junction. What a stud, that five minute section kicked my butt. Reminded me of Kurt's "it's a half mile more" in the Grand Canyon last year... ugh, 2 miles later...
Up to Romero Pass aside from all the reports there was barely any snow. Nick figured about 5 feet judging by views from his house, luckily it had melted! It looked like a twenty foot swath then home free. So I decided to forge through with bare feet in sandals. That twenty feet turned into the most tortured half mile of my life without a doubt. About an hour later when the feelings were restored to my lower limbs I noticed my feet were in terrible pain. The extended push in wet socks earlier turned into huge elephant sized blisters on my feet. I almost wanted to go jump back in the snow to numb them up again.
Romero was kickin' throughout with one extraordinary waterfall among countless cascades that appeared more on the scale of dam releases than what you'd expect near Tucson. Hiking above Montrose the wildflowers were looking pretty sweet. Large patches of Mexican Gold Poppies dominated over Blue Dicks. There were several occurrences of Desert Anemone throughout Romero Canyon too. My "Moderate" wildflower observation is for the stretch above Montrose. It was isolated otherwise.
Great day, glad it's over too