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Cody Trail #9, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Oracle
3.2 of 5 by 11
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Distance One Way 3.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,433 feet
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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13  2019-04-19
North Oracle Ridge Loop
3  2016-10-01 AZHiker456
19  2016-03-24
AZT: Vail to Oracle
5  2016-03-19
Oracle Ridge - AZT #12
3  2016-01-03 DallinW
10  2015-08-04
Oracle Ridge - AZT #12
15  2015-03-14
Oracle - AZT #13
15  2015-01-23
Oracle Ridge - AZT #12
Page 1,  2,  3
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Apr, Oct → 7 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:10am - 6:21pm
Official Route
5 Alternative
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    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent of 12 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Cody Trail #9
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    AZT: Vail to Oracle
    March 24th
    Miles: 17.46
    AEG: 5,520 ft

    We flew through the first couple of miles to X9 Ranch Road, where we left off the last time we got off the AZT in this area.

    Back on the AZT!

    Soon we reached the Saguaro National Park boundary. Up until this point the wildflowers were sparse and withered, but from here there were plenty of great looking blooms for the next couple of miles. After taking a short break at the Quilter Trail water crossing, we passed our first thru-hiker of the trip and started the long climb to the top of Mica Mountain.

    As we climbed the environment slowly transitioned from saguaros and ocotillos, to shrubs and century plants, then oak grasslands, and finally pinion-oak as we rolled into the Grass Shack Campground. Here we met 3 other thru-hikers. One was on her first thru-hike, and the other two (No Trace & Unbreakable) are triple crowners (those who have completed the PCT, AT, and CDT). We stopped to eat lunch and enjoy the company at the campground. It's always fun to pick the brains of triple crowners.

    After finishing up lunch, we filled our bottles at the spring and continued on the trail up to Manning Camp. From Grass Shack, the environment transitions to a hearty ponderosa pine forest. At the campground there was one other person staying the night, a section hiker from Canada who had picked up the trail at Grass Shack and was planning on continuing to Superior.

    By the time we were going to bed I was feeling pretty crappy. Extremely soar throat and congested. Before starting the trip I was still getting over a chest cold, and apparently I wasn't better yet. We expected it to be very cold at 8000ft, but surprisingly we both kept pretty warm the entire night.

    March 25th
    Miles: 21.97
    AEG: 2,910 ft

    Today was our "long day", with minimal AEG. Our goal was to make it to Molino Basin Campground. I woke up feeling slightly better.

    After packing up camp and getting some more water at the spring, we headed up the trail for the top of Mica Mountain. Along the way we passed No Trace and Unbreakable again. The pine forest on top of Mica is quite impressive. Once we topped out and started down the other side, views of the basin below and Mt. Lemmon open up. Italian Spring had drinkable water but lots of algae on top.

    We started the long descent into the basin below, and then the traverse across the hills to the base of Lemmon. Beautiful grasslands! By now the mistake of wearing newish shoes for this hike had caught up with me and my right foot had been rubbed raw on the back. I tried fixing things up with some mole skin and some bandaids.

    Just before the Lake, we caught up to the section hiker from Canada who was going to stop at the next drainage. We stopped with him at the drainage to get some water for the last hump into the campground.

    Once we got to the campground we greeted the camp host to get a spot. We asked him if there was any water around, he claimed "there is no water, it's dry out here." We were both surprised a little considering how much water we had seen getting to this point. He kindly offered us a liter each to make it through the night, and gave us a spot which was right next to the AZT. We didn't quite believe him about the water situation, so once we set up camp we dropped into creek bed below the campground and sure enough there were spots that had running water (not even 200 yards away from the camp host, I might add...)

    March 26th
    Miles: 17.25
    AEG: 5,133 ft

    I woke up feeling terrible, super congested, coughing up lots of phlegm, and running a small fever. I thought about bailing at the Highway next to the campground, but decided to try a few miles before making the decision. The going was extremely slow, probably less than 2mph.

    We reached Shreve Saddle and took a quick break, I popped some Tylenol for the fever. I knew after this point I was going to be committed for some serious uphill either going forward or turning back. I decided to keep going.

    We saw lots of people along this stretch going to Hutch's Pool. It was cool to see Saguaros again near the bottom, because at the end of the day we would be back up in the Pines. I'm a sucker for "transition hikes." Once we reached the bottom, we took another break in Sabino Canyon where there was flowing water. This was the point where I was either going to commit all the way to Summerhaven or go back. I nearly turned back here, but there was just too much planning that went into this and I wasn't sure I would be able to come back to finish this up for a long time.

    We passed the junction to Hutch's Pool and started the long climb up through the west fork of Sabino Canyon. This place is stunning. With every foot of elevation gain the views got better. The trail itself is graded extremely well so the climbing felt almost effortless. Once again we got to see the transitions from saguaros, to sparse pines on Romero Pass. There were plenty of pools and spots with running water in the canyon.

    I was starting to feel a bit better after we took a 30-45 minute break at the pass. It was a good thing too, because this is where the real climbing starts. You aren't graced with very many switch back after this point, it's just straight up. About half way through huffing and puffing, I looked at my Arizona Trail app to see how much further we had to climb and let out a little snicker. My cousin asked "what's up?" and I told him "do you really want to know?", he said "yes", I told him "it gets steeper." We both laughed and continued up the mountain.

    After topping out and taking a break, we joined the Wilderness of Rocks trail. This was by far my favorite part of the hike. This is one of those places that feel really special, a feeling of reverence overcame me. We meandered through the beautiful giant boulders and trees, before reaching an awesome spot to camp right next to Lemmon Creek.

    By the time we were going to bed I felt great, except for my feet. I used some alcohol wipes, and anti-septic wipes before reapplying a few bandaids.

    As we drifted to sleep I heard a series of bangs/explosions in the distance, which culminated into a bunch of bangs/explosions at once. Fireworks in Tucson?

    March 27th
    Miles: 18.8
    AEG: 2,609 ft

    We got up excited for a real meal in Summerhaven. It was actually warm enough during the night that I started sweating in my quilt. After eating a quick breakfast and filling our bottles with water out of Lemmon Creek, we started the gradual 1000ft climb to where we would meet the Marshall's Gultch Trail. I was still awe struck by beauty and grandeur of the Wilderness of Rock. We made our way to the paved road we would walk into town on.

    After satisfying a soda and candy craving at the General Store, we ate some breakfast at the Sawmill Run restraunt. The manager or owner (not sure which) came out to talk to us and asked if we were on our way to Utah. We told him we were ending this segment in Oracle.

    Oracle Ridge was hot. On the way down we met a 3 time triple crowner "One Gallon", who was taking a siesta in the shade of some cedars. We talked with him for about 45 minutes. Another very interesting person.

    We reached the American Flag TH about an hour before the sun set.

    This now puts us at just over 50% of AZT miles completed, and we have now connected a foot path all the way from the border to Roosevelt. Woo hoo!
    Cody Trail #9
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    Went to pick up the truck in Oracle and decided to check out Oracle Ridge. I really like this area of Arizona, you can see the transition from the desert basin all the way to pines at the top. Nice breeze today, and it has definitely warmed up quite a bit since we started our trip in this area. Can't wait to ride Oracle Ridge down from the top of Mt. Lemmon when we come through and do this segment of the AZT.
    Cody Trail #9
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    I was looking for something a little different today, and hopefully a bit cooler. Looks like I hit on both counts. After I finished up work in Tucson, I headed over to Oracle to start my hiking day by the American Flag Ranch TH. First off, the trail is in great shape and easy to navigate. There are numerous OHV roads that you cross, but lots of carsonite sign markers to help guide the way if there is any confusion. I made my way up to the Hijinks mine and looked around a bit, but all of the private property and no trespassing signs kept me from getting too involved. Got back to the trail and continued to the base of Apache peak where I found a nice Alligator Juniper for a shady break before heading back. I managed to spook a whitetail and her two little ones, they ran off too fast for me to get much of a photo. This hike has big time views in all directions, I have to imagine it only gets better the higher up you get. As it was, I could see a good view of the Bioshpere and mountains all around. Everything is so remarkably green out here right now! Pretty sure this hike would get a 5 if I ended up doing the whole thing.

    A few Fleabane Daisy here and there, and some of the barrels were showing good bloom. Very spotty at best.
    Cody Trail #9
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    With the threat of rain in the PHX area we went down to Oracle. Fan wanted to knock AZT passages 12 & part of 13.
    It’s been a couple of years since I've done these passages.

    We started at the Tiger Mine road and the wind was chilly from the start.
    Passage 13 was easy to complete.

    Passage 12
    As we started to rise to the Oracle ridge the bitter cold wind got stronger. When we got above 6,000 feet the sky darkened over the peaks and the wind got stronger. Fan was almost blown off the ridge :o ! I had 4 layers on and was still cold. Even Fan was cold! We decided to turn around.

    We took lunch at an unnamed trailhead. Fan went down to the Cody TH as I went exploring in the lower elevations. I went down an unnamed creek to ruins of a house or it have might have been the Campo Bonito. Then I explored the lower Oracle Ridge trail to where the trail comes close to the mansions of Oracle.

    It rained for about 10 minutes as we left the Cody TH.
    Cody Trail #9
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    So, not exactly what we were expecting to do... I'd listed this with the ABC as a day hike to complete AZT #13 - Oracle. However, we were a bit kerflummexed from the start because there was a big group of javelina hunters at the trailhead. Of course, that really isn't an excuse, just like the fact that it was snowing on and off isn't, and the fact that we all seemed to be pretty stupid together. But, regardless of a good reason...

    We all 4 of us went the wrong way at the start. Rather than beginning the trail heading east toward Oracle State Park, we started West, toward the Oracle Ridge Trail. Yes, we walked right under the sign that said "Santa Catalina Passage Dedicated...". And, true, we climbed a lot more than we'd expected. We even failed to notice that we never passed a boundary for the State Park. I even checked the GPS route I'd downloaded a couple times - deciding that I'd just downloaded the wrong file somehow - it was nowhere near where we were hiking! How irritating :sl: .

    About 3 miles in we hit a trail junction, and my GPS showed two clear options: uphill and downhill. This route certainly wasn't supposed to take us up to the mountain, so logically we followed it downhill. We happily hiked along, amid the snowdrifts and wind-blasts. The wind was strong and bitterly COLD, so we kept our heads down and just hiked pretty quick. There wasn't a whole lot of sight seeing or debating about where we were going.

    I suppose all of this explains why it wasn't until we hit the Cody Loop road at approx. 6 miles in that we realized our mistake. We were in completely the wrong place. Our shuttle vehicles (at the Tiger Mine Trailhead) were still about 6 miles away by road-walk. :yuck: Amid all of our feeling-stupid and embarassment we came up with a better option, though. Return to our cars at the American Flag trailhead via some dirt roads and little back-tracking on the trail we'd come out.

    Turned out to be a half-decent little hike afterall, a good work out, pretty hiking and only a little over a mile on pavement. We got back to our cars with little other incident - other than our encounter with some extremely polite horsemen who, thinking we were quite lost, offered to escort us back to the trailhead. Sandy thanked them politely and assured them that we had it all figured out so we went on our way.

    I can't help but wonder, now, what that AZT Passage 13 is like... Maybe another cold, windy day I'll find out :oplz:
    Cody Trail #9
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    Azt 11 & 12
    Sometimes I'm not sure if Jessica grasps the full scope of my hikes. I went over the details. Thirty some miles, serious gain, big mountain, Tuscon, August, etc. She promptly replied "I have a couple hand warmers you can use" :)

    jj helped me finish off the AZT, bought pizza for lunch and set a pace I'd never accomplish on my own. Thank you! A huge thanks to Denny, Bruce and Dave for the majority and all the good times along the way!

    Chrome domed 8 hours. Sweat more in a day than probably ever. At one point I got tired of sweating. 2 black-tailed rattlers passed and jumped over a diamond back with unknown energy near the end.

    As it turns out, my hands never got cold all day. :y:
    Cody Trail #9
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    Started the day on top of Lemmon. Friend of mine, Fred, graciously gave us a ride to the top. Only made it as far as the gate next to the Iron Door Restaurant. The gate wasn't open, which meant our trip got an extra mile and a half in length. We hiked to the outhouse by the electrical substation, where we needed to start, and the guys needed all needed a potty break, so I took a quick jog to the top of Lemmon and back...then after these two little hikes, the hike REALLY began!

    On the way up in doing segment 11 we took trail #5, so this time we took trail #5A back down to the Lemmon Trail. First time on the Wilderness of Rocks trail, really nice. Then to Marshall Gulch and up the road to Summerhaven for lunch. Denny and I decided to cheat and get a soda and candy bar before heading out ... nice!

    After lunch in town we headed to the Oracle Ridge Trail, where things turned pretty scarred and ugly. Amazing after all this time, it is not bouncing back...not even grass coverage or anything on the ground, just all dead. Nice views on the ridge though, incredible views! The further down the trail we went, the better things looked though.

    One nice thing about today is that I started the day climbing the highest peak in Pima County and that afternoon we all scaled the highest point in Pinal County, Rice Peak. The peak itself is still in Pima County, but the edge of the mountain is still higher than any other place in the day was a two-fer!

    Denny was a little nervous about us hiking out in the dark, but we didn't need lamps until we turned onto the Cody Trail, and all went well.

    And the most exciting thing about the day is that when we arrived at American Flag Trailhead, the 3 of us had the Arizona Trail finished from Mexico to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon completed!!! Awesome.

    Surprised by seeing virtually no wildflowers all day. The only place we really started to hit even a few was on the Cody Trail...we saw them in our headlamps.

    We're nearing the end boys...just 5 segments to go!
    Cody Trail #9
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    This was the Passage needed to fill in the missing gap. With the completion of this passage, we've completed 732 contiguous miles, stretching from The Mexican border to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

    We started this passage with mixed feelings. Our hiking partner, Joe, for the entire AZT to this point, at the last minute had to back out with an injury . :stretch:
    Dave had already arranged for us to be delivered to the top of Lemmon by one of the members of his church, (Thanks Dave and Fred), so we were locked.

    We already knew this was going to be a pretty long day @ around 24-25 miles with a sizable AEG (Even though we were starting at 9,100' and going down to 4,400'). To our surprise, the gate to the top, was closed at the restaurant, so we added another 1.5 miles and 700' of AEG.

    The weather was perfect most of the day. There were small patches of snow remaining at the top, but nothing on the trail. It did get a little warm in Wilderness of Rocks, but nothing too bad.

    We all tried doing our best Joe imitations and jokes to mimic him being there, but when Denny busted into the classic "Cinder a Letter", we knew it was a lost cause.

    Highlights for me on this hike was the Wilderness of Rocks trail. I'll never tire of all the unique bolder formations and running water. The Marshall Gulch Trail was sweet, as well as the views from Oracle Ridge are nothing to sneeze at.

    Low lights included the 70 plus trees we had to hop over or go around on the way to lunch at Summerhaven, and the 40 more from there to the North TH at FR38. Also the Oracle Ridge trail can be loose, Rocky, and steep in places. No place for someone with a bum ankle.

    We took a short (Steep) side trip to Rice Peak to enjoy the views for a moment.

    Turning off the Oracle Ridge Trail and on Cody for the final push we donned our headlamps. A little over an out in the dark later and we were to our ride home. Dave had placed a car the previous day. :)

    A huge thanks to Dave for getting the whole shuttle thing set up : app : and to his friend Fred for taking us to the top :y:

    Get that ankle healed Joe Joe
    Cody Trail #9
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    It was too warm to link this shortest of the AZT Passages with 12 or 14, so we decided to knock off this segment. To not make this 310 miles of driving for just an 8 mile hike, we decided to hit up Peppersauce Cave, just down the road afterwards. The first couple miles of this hike were nice. Bottom line.... 1 more passage done.

    Our Status

    28 --- 65% - Segments Completed
    519.3 -- 67% - Distance Completed
    82,327 - 67% - AEG Completed
    Cody Trail #9
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    Today we did the shortest segment of the AZT, and the closest one to our new digs in Tucson. Started off at 8am to threatening rain, but avoided it.

    Passed through Oracle State Park, was surprised to see as we entered the park a sign that said that the Arizona Trail is still open, but you have to stay on this are not allowed to get on any of the other trails through the park. (For what purpose!?) Dumb. I vented for a minute, even though I didn't plan to use any of those trails, then got over it. Reached a now-unused windmill that once pumped water into a large tank just over a quarter-mile north of the park.

    Sun and humidity made it progressively more challenging as we approached 11am. We passed Tiger Mine at the end, following Tiger Mine Road once we crossed AZ77.

    We wrapped up and then headed to the Peppersauce!

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