We originally had a different plan but nite time temps and not wanting to spend 12 hours in a tent, inspired us to pick a Plan B. Tracy came up with this one and though the shuttle is brutal we got 'er done. It took us 4 hours to set up the shuttle on Redington Road and Molino Basin parking. Traveling that rough and tough Redington Road coming and going in the AM made us think we were all ready tired and beat up and we hadn't even set foot to the trail.
The hike up the hill out of Molino Basin is actually pretty nice as they throw in a couple switchbacks altho I thot it would send us to the right but we ended up veering left to that saddle. I was feeling the oats as they say so I headed on up and was able to look back and get pictures of the others. The views from the saddle looking both ways is pretty sweet with the two sky islands, Santa Catalina and The Rincons. Off in the distance to the east I thot I could see two silos. We would later see that they were two Italian Cypress trees at the Bellota Ranch.
Down from the saddle we headed south and east. It takes awhile to get down so we were happy that we had made the choice to hike it from this side first. We would have another hill on the other side but it was a lot more gradual and not quite as steep. We encountered two other couples and another single hiker as we made our way down to West Spring which you can't miss for the two brightly colored cottonwoods and the big tank. At the big tank I was surprised to see a little moat constructed around a portion of it. Very interesting.
We would continue on a bit of a road for awhile admiring the tall hills and mountains on either side and behind us. It was pleasant walking as the trail was in very good shape. There was also plenty of water around; I assume from last week's rains. We were surprised at how much water we would see. We had our lunch in Agua Caliente drainage on the beach. We didn't take too much time before we were on the trail again. About 1/2 hour later we would get our first view of the Galiuros to compliment the Rincons on our other side and the Catalinas behind.
I remarked we would be coming on The Lake pretty soon and Shawn said to not get my hopes up. As we passed by it was more like a big pond. We came upon a nice Arizona Trail sign where Shawn could trim some of the tree that was obstructing the view. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted what looked like water so Tracy and I went to check it out. THERE was the real The Lake. It was very photogenic and after admiring it for awhile we came back to re-join Ambika and Shawn at the trail.
About a mile later we ran into some hikers on the other side of the gate (about the 1/2 way point). One was a thru hiker who was in need of some shoe repair so we offered our electronic suggestions. He had also written a haiku about his experience with a coati the nite before. The other two hikers were section hiking the AZT coming from Redington Road. One of the gals took our picture. As we got a little higher above the drainage we spotted the ranch and that's where I saw the two silos, I mean Italian Cypresses, earlier from the saddle above Molino Basin. It seemed surprising how far we had come even though it was only about 5 miles from that saddle.
We had a couple more miles before we would start our little climb and continued to enjoy our views. We took a break at about the 7 1/2 mile mark and in a little over a mile we would begin the slight climb. You could see where the fire had eaten some of the wood stair blocks and along the way you could also see the burnt trees and cactus as we came out of a drainage. (http://wildfiretoday.com/2017/07/05/fir ... pass-road/
) Earlier in the day we had seen a dozer cut over by West Spring. If it was all the same fire it was the 23,000 acre Burro Fire. The 600 foot climb had a very nice grade with a switchback here and there. The temps were nice so I was able to make good time and once again be able to shoot back at my fellow hikers coming my way.
Once we got to a saddle we contoured along the side of the mountain where we stopped for about 5 minutes before completing the rest of our journey. As we topped out we enjoyed views of all the mountains once again as we made our way on the trail between the golden grass. Soon we would see White Tank and then spot the truck. From here it was downhill to the gate and we could relish the last of our hike... even though I had no beer to cheer me on
We piled into the truck and headed down the rough and rugged Redington Road with a big awh for the second time of the day when we hit pavement. We did go by a couple areas where there were quite a few vehicles so I assume there is some easy hiking in the vicinity. The shooting area was a mess of plastic bags. However, the sun was shining nicely on the leafed-out ocotillos so we did enjoy that. We picked up our other vehicle and headed down the Catalina Highway to Taco Giro where we enjoyed a most excellent meal except for the apparently non-tequila peach margarita. It was pretty but no tequila means no margarita.
Videos are in production. Having to work with my laptop as my brother is working on my over-loaded computer.
from Molino to almost West Spring: [ youtube video ]
from above West Spring to just past Agua Caliente drainage: [ youtube video ]
about 1/2 way, we found THE Lake [ youtube video ]
finishing the last big climb to Redington Road [ youtube video ]