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2010-04-17  

West Dragoon Weekend, AZ
2010-04-1733 by
 
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West Dragoon Weekend, AZ  
Hiking14.00 Miles          
3,000 ft AEG   
No Route Match
1st Trip Logged
Partners 
TUB - Group
bknorby
cindyl
John_seJerman
Norb
A weekend of camping and hiking with the Tucson Backpackers meet up group. Went down and secured the best site Friday, then did hikes Saturday and Sunday. I had previously hiked to both the mine in Slavin Gulch and China Peak separately, but wanted to combine the two into one large loop hike from the camp area. Based on excellent hike descriptions by Preston Sands and checking maps, I figured it would entail about 12 miles and around 2600 feet of elevation change. A bunch of us did this one Saturday.

We all made it to the Abril Mine in Slavin Gulch just fine, but after a break there it was a nasty scramble up the mine tailings to reach FR 345A above. A few of us got dinged up in the process, but fortunately no major injuries! We then continued to follow the road southeast for a couple miles until we came to Pear Tank. At this point we bushwhacked our way up to China Peak for lunch. It turned out to be a pretty warm day with lots of exposure, so we were really glad to have the uphill part of this adventure over with! The remainder of the hike was along roads. From China Peak it was a steep descent to Gordon Camp, then the gradient eased as we continued to follow FR 697 to its junction with Middlemarch Road. We weary hikers finished by taking Middlemarch Road and FR 687 back to camp.

If I were to do this loop hike again, I would make it a shuttle, with a vehicle waiting where FR 697 hits the main road. This would save 3 to 4 miles of hiking a boring road section.

Following a good campfire session Saturday night, we broke camp Sunday morning and some of us hiked up to the top of Sheepshead on the way out. I skipped going all the way to the top, since I'd done it 3 times in the past year. It is a real cool short hike/scramble though (less than 3 miles RT/about 800 feet). Sheepshead is popular with rock climbers, but we took the hiker's route up.
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rwstorm's

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