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Oracle - AZT #13, AZ

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Guide 43 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Oracle
2.9 of 5 by 13
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 8.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,426 feet
Elevation Gain -437 feet
Accumulated Gain 759 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 11.13
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
5  2019-01-05 hikerdw
113  2018-02-13
Arizona Trail Passages 13-15
15  2017-04-24
Oracle State Park
5  2017-03-24 Tortoise_Hiker
4  2017-01-03 fearnestiv
208  2016-10-29 BACKROADER
11  2016-09-17 WanderingWildcat
28  2016-08-15 Sredfield
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
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Nov, Mar, Oct
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:10am - 6:21pm
Official Route
5 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Culture Nearby

Overview: From the American Flag Trailhead the route proceeds in a northerly direction across National Forest Land and State Trust Land, crossing Webb Road and continuing to Oracle State Park. The trail within the park is marked with 4x4 wooden posts with the Arizona Trail 'brand'. At Kannally Wash the route briefly follows a powerline road and then continues as a trail passing through several trail junctions. The trail heads west and then turns north and reaches Highway 77. After going under the highway the route follows the Tiger Mine Road for the last 1.5 miles to the Tiger Mine Road Trailhead.

Southern Trailhead: American Flag TH - FR 38

Northern Trailhead: Tiger Mine TH - Tiger Mine Road

Note: This page is open to authors. Hike must be listed South to North as one-way. Do not include an overview as the above is permanent.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    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 11 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Oracle - AZT #13
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    Arizona Trail Passages 13-15
    This week's adventure on the Arizona Trail was one full of learning new things about myself, and also continuing to try out new experiences, techniques and gear. My new hiking friend Dana Law was kind enough to have me tag along on what was originally planned to be an 8-day 102 mile hike through 5 passages of the Arizona Trail. Things don't always go quite as planned...

    The night before our hike, Dana and I stayed at the Chalet Village Motel in Oracle, owned and operated by the wonderful trail angel Marney. Marney also had arranged a ride to the American Flag trailhead for us the next morning and had also confirmed that water was staged for us at the Tiger Mine trailhead at the start of passage 14.

    We set off from Oracle, AZ to start passage 13 on Tuesday morning at first light. Our plan was to complete 13 and do a good chunk of the first part of passage 14. We set our goals for 16 miles and ended up camping after just short of 18 miles thanks to Dana's very positive attitude throughout the day which helped me to push more miles than I'm normally comfortable with especially with a full pack. This day was sunny and comfortable, but we knew that the weather was going to turn on us during the next 24 hours of the trip. Our camp was flat and rock-free, the weather was calm, and we both got good sleep.

    Day 2 brought us through most of the remainder of passage 14. The beginning half of passage 14 really is a bleak section of unattractive and overgrazed desert unfortunately. We encountered light rainshowers just as we reached Beehive Well mid-day, our first reliable water source and our lunch stop. I was dealing with a forming blister on the ball of my right foot, so I had to cut it open and tape it up to be able to continue. Soggy shoes and lots of downhill to Beehive were the demise of my feet that day. The tank and cattle trough were both full of algae-ridden water filled with hundreds of dead bees, and the larger tank had at least one dead bird in it. There was a small old building next to the windmill by the tanks, and inside of the building we spotted a giant crab spider, which I have never seen before. I brought out a new prefilter for water such as what was in the trough, attempting to help clarify some of the yuck out of these less-desirable water sources, however the connection on my homemade prefilter failed/leaked and we had to set it aside. Out came the Sawyer filters and we took only the water we needed as we continued on through the rain. We reached camp just 4 miles short of the start of passage 15 at Freeman Road and set up camp just before the heavier rain started. It rained constantly all night long, but we did end up getting 2 extra miles on today as well. Surprisingly, both of us got sufficient sleep that night.

    Day 3 was a wet morning. This was the first time that Dana and I have ever had to break camp in a steady rain while on a backpacking trip. We did surprisingly well with getting our packs loaded up in our own small tents, saving the take-down of our tents for last before we headed out for the day. We crossed Freeman Road and loaded up on cached water from the resupply box at the trailhead for passage 15, met with 2 wet hikers Half Ration and Greenpeace, and pushed on to get as many miles as we could for the day. Being that the rain had been falling for over 24 hours straight, the trail conditions that day were quite miserable. Soggy shoes, nonstop rain, and very slippery clay mud on the trail slowed us down and made our footing very sketchy for the entire day. I grumbled and cussed about the conditions, but again Dana kept that positive spirit and really got me through the rest of the afternoon until we set up camp after another 17 mile day. We were now over a half day ahead of schedule and excited about possibly finishing early. Yet again, we both slept but it was somewhat broken up by short naps here and there.

    Day 4 began with no rain! At this point, we only had 15 miles left to get to Kearny, AZ for our resupply and an awaiting motel reservation. We would actually be shaving off an entire day of our agenda if we could push through today at a good pace. We had our biggest climb of the trip thus far ahead of us, so we set off at first light. Fortunately for us, the rain had let up all night and we only encountered a few light showers through the high point of the rest of passage 15. Ripsey Wash provided us with a great place to take a lunch break before the final climb and then ascent into town. We made it into Kearny with the last of our patience, looking forward to hot showers and putting on dry gear so we could get some dinner at the highly recommended Old Time Pizza just down the street from the General Kearny Inn.

    65 miles in just 4 days with full packs was a new record pace for me, especially considering 30 hours of literally non-stop rain in the middle 2 days of the trip.

    Breakfast on Saturday morning was shared with James Simmons, steward for passage 16a, and we also ran into Half Ration and Greenpeace again. Great talking with them while the power was out at the Whistle Stop restaurant!

    Now for the bad news...

    While in Kearny on our zero-mile day, we were closely monitoring the upcoming weather for our remaining 2 passages - 16 and 17. Monday's weather forecasted 25mph winds in the town of Kearny with steady rain all day, and gusts of wind up to 40mph. Snow was also expected at the 4000' elevations, which were what we would be climbing into as we ascended into the Tortilla mountains. After weighing out the pros and cons of continuing in such conditions, we both agreed that conditions would have been too risky for us to continue.

    We will be back later this year to conquer passages 16 and 17, and hopefully more together. Hiking with Dana was a true pleasure. He has completed the entire Pacific Crest Trail, and I was very humbled by his fitness, attitude and backpacking experience. It was an honor to hike with him and I can only hope that he will allow me to join him on some of his future adventures.
    Oracle - AZT #13
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    AZT: Oracle to Superior
    We started at the American Flag Trailhead near Oracle around 9:30 AM on the 27th of December and finished around 4:00PM at the Picketpost Trailhead near Superior on the 1st of January.

    In all honesty, I had fairly low expectations in terms of scenery along this segment, but it met and surpassed my expectations in a few places. The trail danced between grassy hill sides with a few cedars, to stereotypical Sonoran desert landscapes with large Saguaros. The final ~30 miles along the Gila River and in the canyons near Superior took the cake though. The climb out of the Gila River area is simply spectacular. The rock formations along the canyons are very Superstitions esque, but also very grand and unique in their own right.

    The days were short, and the nights were long and cold. Defrosting gear and thawing frozen water bottles by the fire was a daily chore up until the last morning. I was a little apprehensive about packing an extra jacket, but it was well worth the weight in the end.

    Besides the freezing temperatures at night, the weather was great and we had the opportunity to cowboy camp under the stars for the entire trip. Before the moon came out, we had some amazing views of the stars along the more remote sections of this hike. We knew we were getting closer to Phoenix as the big light to the north west grew bigger and more stars began to disappear.

    It was hard to make as many miles as we wanted some days because of the limited amount of daylight, but we averaged about 16.5 miles a day, and we put in a 20 mile day at the very beginning of the trip.

    We saw very few people out on the trail, especially along the Black Hills and Tortilla Mountains segments, but still more than I had expected (which was zero, except near roads).

    We had all of our water and half of our food cache stolen from the Kelvin-Florence TH. Thankfully a few bikepackers from Flagstaff were ending their trip just as we got into the trailhead and offered to give us their food and water so we could finish. Trail magic. I wouldn't of had enough food to finish and we would have had to either end the trip there or walk into Kearny for more food. This incident put me in a pretty sour mood for the rest of that day.

    We had one 25 mile stretch without a water source through the Tortilla Mountains, and another little stretch right after leaving the Gila River and climbing into the canyons near Superior. But overall, it was very doable. Big thanks to the volunteers who put out water near Mountain View Tank in the Black Hills, and at Telegraph Canyon Rd/FR 4 in Alamo Canyon. An extra liter or two can be the difference between an awesome day and a trudge in the desert.

    It feels good to have this segment of the AZT done. We have knocked out most of the desert basin segments now, and once spring rolls around we can start hitting up the ranges in southern Arizona. I can't imagine how hot it gets out there in the spring when thru-hikers usually pass through this area. There is little shade after the Black Hills, and you feel completely exposed under the sun.

    It felt great to get out, hike, and sleep under the stars for 6 days. I had been itching for a big trip pretty badly.

    Onward to the next segment!
    Oracle - AZT #13
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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.
    Oracle - AZT #13
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    Spent mom's birthday hiding on the trail - my favorite way to cover up for any bad days! This time, I went the correct way at the trailhead (lol) - probably because I had others with me who were better at navigation than I am. Great to hike, warm day meant I even needed my 'brella. One more AZT passage down!
    Oracle - AZT #13
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    Southbound Tiger Mine to High JinksTracy did a great job getting the first trip report for this hike. Making the Indian dinner with the High Jinks host Dan was a new venture this time but everyone seemed to enjoy it. They were kind and kept the heat down for me; too bad they didn't do as well the next day when we were hiking :lol: .
    I texted Wendy our original plan was to head from High Jinks to Tiger Mine TH and after the car tricks, we would probably be to American Flag TH around 10. Well somehow between the nite and breakfast, the car tricks were ditched and they decided we would hike from Tiger Mine TH TO High Jinks. I hadn't paid much attention to the elevation on this one as Kathy said it was rolling hills, much like Passage 14.

    I texted Wendy to let her know our change of plans. Well she was on the road thankfully and would be about 45 minutes from meeting us. We thot the change of plans would give her the perfect out if she really didn't want to come as she had been quite busy and it was her mom's birthday. So we picked up some trash below the trailhead area and checked out the area around us. I decided to check KemoSabe and found a text from Wendy telling us to take off and she would catch up. We had no more than started and there she was barreling down the road.

    The first 1.5 or so is a road hike so we mozied for a bit, checking out the various sites and the cattle along the way. And then it was down under the bridge where we saw who was tall and who wasn't ;) . The shorter folks really enjoyed that! From there it was up and down and cresting and back down going thru drainages and washes. However, I was soon realizing it was mostly UP, kind of like what the temperature would do all day. I still enjoyed the hiking and it was great to catch up with Wendy. We both lost our mothers recently so it was good to commiserate.

    Wendy was a bit surprised at our fast pace as was I. We eventually yelled ahead requesting lunch time as we were approaching a wash that had at least a little bit of shade. Lunch wasn't long; I never feel like lunch gets to settle before we're up and at it again. And then I would rather walk a little slower :stop: for lunch to settle before getting my speed on : rambo : . Yes I know, speed and Angela are kind of an oxymoron but you know what I mean.

    From there we continued up and down and around again. The windmill area was a nice distraction as were the horses and their riders. I don't know if Ambika checked out the spring as I did see her climb the ladder. Now that I look at the map, we actually cross FIVE washes including Flag Wash which was the end of Passage 13 for us going south bound. We lingered at the ranch for a short time for the group photo before heading up the hill to the south of American Flag Hill.
    The views for much of this hike as you get up on the ridgelines and such are really quite something. We could see San Manuel and of course the long range of the Galiuros including Bassett Peak and in the far distance further north of that the Santa Theresas. Wendy also pointed out the crevices of Keilberg Canyon which kept distracting me.

    Awh yes, the last two climbs were yet to come. By this point we were doing our "Lilo" imitation hiking from shade to shade. But we didn't see the need to be in a big hurry as we were less than 1 mile and 1/3rd or so to go. Of course, we had to go up 538 feet but who's counting. The landscape was interesting too. We ended up stopping on a step in the shade of a tree about 1/4 mile from the Ranch to rest our laurels and kibitz a bit; mostly about Lightroom I think and there might have been some AZT talk too as Wendy is now the AZT Volunteer Coordinator and Ambika just got elected to the Board at Saturday's Arizona Trail Annual Meeting. : app : .

    1- Tiger Mine TH south on the AZT 13 [ youtube video ] ...
    2- continuing on AZT 13 to American Flag Ranch [ youtube video ] ...
    3- American Flag to High Jinks Ranch [ youtube video ] ...
    Oracle - AZT #13
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    Dan, Dillon, Cherie, Andrew & and Smokie the wonder dog joined me as we hiked this Passage. We all met at the parking lot at the end of the passage where Dillon, Cherie, and Dan had camped the night before. A steady wind made the 40 degree temp feel a lot colder. After the group got packed up, we left two vehicles behind and drove to the southern end of passage 13 where our hike started.
    The trailhead has a wooden arch for passage 13 and across the road sits a fancier archway for the end of passage 12. We used our gps to figure out which one was for passage 13. I'm not sure why they don't mark them for us non-thru hikers. I will post pics for any future section hikes that need help.
    Took some neat pictures of the American Flag building and an old barn at the trailhead. I'm sure there is some history behind them both.
    Shortly after we started hiking we all had to stop and remove our jackets as the wind had died down and the sun was providing some welcomed warmth.
    All around us were great views. Some of the distant mountains still had spots of snow from previous winter storms.
    The trail itself was firm, but not hard packed or too rocky. This would be a great section for bikers.
    The highlight of the section is the Windmill. It has a picnic table and bench for resting. I started up the windmill and ran it for about 20 minutes, but it did not produce any water. Either the Well was dry, or the pump needed to be primed. In either case, I wouldn't count on getting good drinking water from it right now. The water tub was dry and the in-ground water catch was full of depris and would requre some heavy filtering and treating before I'd consider drinking it.
    The second half of the hike has the most elevation gain, but nothing too difficult and the hilltops provide some great views and more photo opportunities.
    The underpass at Hwy 77 was free of debris and any graffiti. Nice job Steward!
    After we crossed the highway we proceeded up the Old Tiger Road to the parking lot where we left our vehicles. It would be great if they could cut a trail from the highway to the parking lot. Roads always make me feel like I'm cheating when I hike.
    Oracle - AZT #13
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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
    Oracle - AZT #13
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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!
    Oracle - AZT #13
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    Our day included this hike and Pepersauce Cave. The first two miles of this hike were the highlight. Temps were remarkably cool with a morning storm threatening overhead. Since Tucson gets nearly double the rainfall of the valley the area starts off pretty lush comparatively. Or so I thought...

    Phoenix 8.3
    Tucson 12.0 inches
    Oracle 24.9 inches :o
    Oracle - AZT #13
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    I out and back hiked segment 13 of the AZT today. Nothing spectacular, but a nice peaceful hike through the grassy and shrubby hills of the Oracle area just the same. The last 1.5 miles is along the Tiger Mine Road which is not as scenic (idiots feel the need to litter some out here) though i did see four deer along the road. on the way back i encountered a huge gila monster. it saw me, walked off the trail around me, got back on trail and kept on trucking as if i were nothing but another generic rock in the way. it did make me pay more attention though and within 10 minutes i got buzzed by the biggest, most pumpkin'd off western diamondback i have ever seen. it scared the crap out of me when it started buzzing and i screamed like a schoolgirl and jumped straight up about 40 feet. :y:

    once back at american flag, i hiked the AZT segment 12/Cody trail out to Hi Jinks mine to complete that section as well. I've now done the AZT from reddingtion road to freeman road.

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    page created by joebartels on Jan 09 2010 12:41 am
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