Managed a quick backpack to Walnut Spring with Tyler to check out the Samaniego Ridge. We haven't been out much lately, so we knew this was sure to kick our pumpkins a bit. Headed up the Catalina Hwy early on Sat. morning after some caffeine and Quiche at Le Buzz. Hit the trail by 8am and immediately enjoyed excellent views, tons and tons of wildflowers, and much cooler temps.
The hike to Walnut Spring went quickly. The spring was actually not as pretty as I was expecting with all the recent rain (can't believe I forgot to take a pic). I had known the tank would be skanky, but had thought the pool below the tank that is mentioned by multiple triplogs would be much nicer. It was better than the tank, but there was only a very slight trickle filling the pool, so it seemed a bit stagnant. Shovel Spring was better looking when we passed it, but we really wanted to stay on the ridge, so we decided to make do. We filtered the mosquito larve and other large bits out with a bandana, let my gravity filter do it's job, and then added chlorine tabs for extra insurance. The taste was still slightly yucky, but we managed.
We finished setting up camp around 11am. By then, clouds were starting to roll in, so we decided to nix our plan to try to bag the peak and instead took the best naps ever, snug in our hammocks.
A series of pretty good storms rolled through with lots of rain and a bit of hail and LOTS of lightning.
I was quite thankful that the cuben fiber tarp held up! It stopped storming by 4:30ish and we spent the rest of the evening soaking in the views of the Reef of Rocks and CDO below the ridge. There were so many different types of flowers to enjoy, too.
Sunday morning we headed back up the mountain. We didn't end up starting as early as we had wanted and the sun-exposed slopes were most certainly warmer than we had hoped for, but we made better time than we expected and were back at the top in time to have lunch on the patio of the Iron Door.
This was a great place to enjoy some much needed wilderness time. Next time we visit, I think we will either do a shuttle hike to Charouleau Gap, or do a loop with the Canada del Oro Trail.