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West Fork Trail #24 - Sabino, AZ

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Guide 50 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson N
3.8 of 5 by 13
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 6.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,300 feet
Elevation Gain 2,358 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,810 feet
Avg Time One Way 3.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 15.66
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Dogs not allowed
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4  2018-10-19
Santa Catalina Mountains - AZT #11
24  2018-04-27
Romero Canyon Trail #8
18  2018-03-24
Soldier Trail to Mount Lemmon
33  2016-05-07
Sabino - Cathedral Peak - Mt Lemmon
2  2015-11-28
Bear-East Fork-West Fork-Cathedral-Esperero
19  2015-10-08
Marshall Gulch to Romero Canyon
22  2014-11-29
Santa Catalina Front Range Traverse
1  2014-11-29
Santa Catalina Front Range Traverse
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author keepmoving
author avatar Guides 34
Routes 206
Photos 1,847
Trips 517 map ( 3,846 miles )
Age 33 Male Gender
Location Portland, OR
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Nov, Oct, Mar → 8 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:07am - 6:28pm
Official Route
17 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Hutchs Pool is full year round
by keepmoving

Overview: West Fork #24 is a 6.8 mile (according to the Forest Service...) segment of the Arizona Trail that winds through Sabino Basin and connects several popular front range trails in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness. While it is probably best known as a popular access point to Hutch's Pool, experienced hikers can take advantage of West Fork #24 to connect multiple trails and create their own unique route through the wilderness.

Hike: This summary will describe the trail as hiked from East to West as this is likely the most common route, often hiked by those intending to reach Hutch's Pool.

Starting from the junction with Sabino Canyon #23 and East Fork #24A the West Fork #24 takes off Eastward and immediately crosses a large wash that spills out of Box Camp Canyon. This crossing was well cairned and bone dry in late April when I crossed it, however I imagine it could be difficult to cross after recent rain. After crossing the wash the trail begins to gradually descend through a hilly area as it approaches and soon arrives on the North bank of the West Fork. From here, this gentle section of trail begins to wind its way along the banks of the West Fork, imperceptibly gaining elevation as it works its way towards Hutch's Pool. Just prior to reaching Hutch's Pool the trail will cross over to the South side of the West Fork for the first time where it will pass a small unmarked spur trail that leads to a large pool along the banks of the West Fork. Don't be fooled by this turn off, Hutch's Pool is still a few minutes ahead and is marked by a well cairned junction that is nearly impossible to miss. Having hiked 1.6 miles to this point, a short 5 minute stroll down to Hutch's pool will reward you with access to a year-round swimming hole and a nice place for a quick break.

After departing Hutch's pool, the last reliable water source on this hike, the trail immediately begins to switchback up the hillside allowing you to look down on the West Fork and Hutch's Pool. Once at the top of the switchbacks the trail will begin to contour along the hillside while remaining fairly level. Occasionally you will be rewarded with glimpses of the West Fork below and hear the sound of water as it flows towards Sabino Canyon, other times you will find your view of the West Fork obscured. Eventually you will reach another series of switchbacks and quickly descend back down to meet the West Fork again.

This next section is heavily shaded by trees as the trail meanders along the West Fork working its way closer to the junction with Cathedral Rock #26. Numerous creek crossings are encountered during this section, however they are all adequately cairned and route finding should not be an issue. On my trip I found much of the trail to be covered with leaves, but the path was still well worn and easy to follow. I was not fortunate enough to encounter water flowing through this area in late April, but I imagine it must turn this section of trail into quite an oasis. Time spent in this beautiful riparian area is over all too soon and upon reaching the junction with Cathedral Rock #26 the trail promptly cuts over to the North side of the West Fork and begins to leave this shaded paradise behind.

With only 1.6 miles remaining to reach Romero Pass, the trail follows along the North side of the West Fork and begins to switchback as it climbs in elevation. The West Fork quickly disappears from view, shrouded behind trees, as the trail rises above the canyon floor and views of Sabino Basin begin to open up. The top of the final switchback provides excellent views into Sabino Basin, the Rincon Mountains far to the East and Cathedral Rock Trail #23 to the South as it switchbacks its way towards Cathedral Rock. From this point forward the trail winds its way through a vast hilly area with little to no shade. The trail occasionally crosses several small washes that feed down to the West Fork as you wind your way closer to Romero Pass. After reaching Romero Pass you have the option to take Romero Canyon #8 down to Catalina State Park or follow Mount Lemmon Trail #5 up to the top of Mount Lemmon.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2009-04-30 keepmoving
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Coronado FS Details
At the end of Sabino Canyon Trail #23, if you choose to continue deeper into the Pusch Ridge Wilderness, you have a choice to proceed one of three different ways. One of those choices is to follow Sabino Canyon farther upstream in the direction of Romero Pass and the West Fork. Along this route, you'll be able to enjoy more of the desert oasis supported by the water that flows above and below ground in the Sabino Basin. After the trail drops down to the creek bed from the Sabino Canyon/West Fork trails junction, it wanders close to the creek for a considerable distance. There are several perennial pools here and a healthy community of riparian vegetation, as well as excellent views of Sabino Canyon. Trail conditions are good in the basin and the trail is easy to follow, but creek crossings can be hard to negotiate when the water is high.

After crossing Sabino Creek for the last time, the trail begins climbing gradually up West Fork Canyon. The trail stays with this smaller canyon for a considerable distance before it climbs out of the canyon for the last time. It then traverses and switchbacks its way toward Romero Pass and a junction with the Cathedral Rock Trail #26. Cathedral Rock Trail provides a connecting route to a number of other Pusch Ridge Wilderness trails, but it is hard to follow and not recommended for inexperienced hikers and equestrians.

Attractions: Access to upper Sabino Basin, creekside trail, wildlife, good views of Sabino Basin and it's a segment of the Arizona Trail.

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 16 deeper Triplog Reviews
West Fork Trail #24 - Sabino
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Pima to Sabino
Started up Pima Canyon on a Friday night and camped about 4.5 miles up the trail. There was water the entire way up, lots of greenery, and the trail was in the best shape that I'd ever seen it. The views out of the canyon at night were amazing, and the weather was beautifully mild.

As I headed further up the canyon the next day, the water became spottier. Realizing that my next guaranteed source of water would be Bridal Veil Falls several canyons over, I decided to top off my water here. Carrying the full pack up to the top of Kimball was quite challenging, and I was worried I might have to bail out through Ventana Canyon if Window Peak was too much. After an hour on the summit of just eating and drinking as much as possible, I actually felt great, and the hike up to the Window and Window Peak felt much better than Kimball. The late afternoon weather was perfect yet again, and after using my last bit of cell service to learn that Oregon didn't implode against Stanford ](*,) , I headed down Esperero Canyon to spend the night at the falls.

MSimmons came up early the next morning, and we easily regained the elevation I lost the night before. We had some bizarre snow/wind/sun on our summit bushwhack, but nothing too ominous. Though we didn't attempt the true summit, I found the rope, and feel good about finding it again with less effort whenever I decide to go back. I started up the formation about 10 feet, was reeeeeeally temped to keep going, but with an old rope, a bit of ice, and worn-out shoes, I didn't want to get too committed.

The rest of the hike was a bit of a blur, since we were utterly desperate to catch the final shuttle out of the canyon. I hadn't been through the West Fork before, and the upper portions of it are top-notch. The stream crossing after Hutch's pool was really tricky, but if I had time I'd probably just take the boots off and walk through it. Hope to be back in this area again with some more time on my hands...
West Fork Trail #24 - Sabino
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AZT Passage 11 Work Event
this was billed as "let's work an event and do some AZT which means a free shuttle"... sure. Sometimes I don't know what I was thinking ](*,) because when you work with Shawn, you WORK and this time with an overnite backpack to take on and off. Shawn also said something like the first section wouldn't be bad because they had taken care of a lot of dead fall last year. But then I looked at the over nite temp forecast and thot; what was I thinking again. I'm not good at 40 or below, well for that matter 50 or below. But if they'll listen to me whine; who am I to say no. Plus we are trying to do this as a group.

Ambika came down sick so she was unable to join us. We ended up staying in Tucson on Thur nite since the meet-up time was 7:30AM. I unpacked all my stuff on the bed for my backpack and realized I had forgotten one very important item, the tent :o . Fortunately, after Shawn texted out for help, one of our shuttle drivers, Lee, had one for me to use and it was light weight and everything. But, heh, at least I remembered the Fireball ;) and my trainer had made energy muffins too.
We met up with the group to be shuttled to the Marshall Gulch TH. There would be 10 of us, 1 would day hike so 9 for backpacking. Everyone had at least two tools and it was up the trail we went.

  • - got to finally hike the Marshall Gulch Trail
    - got to revisit the awesome Wilderness of the Rocks plus camp there overnite :D (Wendy had talked about camping down here when she first took me on the Lemmon Rock Loop back in 2010)
    - got to see some of the hardest workers I've ever seen work harder than I thot possible :worthy: including Shawn who had some competition with Doug (altho I think Doug is younger?)
    - the gang cut through about 8 trees I think
    - they hard-picked out numerous roots from shrubs so that they wouldn't have to be trimmed year after year; it is amazing how hard that was to chop out that nasty root :wlift:
    - the weather temps for the most part was nearly perfect; even before bedtime and in the AM. I was one happy camper :DANCE: .
    - it smelled good up there!
    - the views :y: coming down
    - got to hike from Romero Pass on the easier side.
    - the junction with Cathedral Rock was so beautiful, wish we had gotten to camp there.
    - seeing the infamous Hutch's pools for the first time from above, though briefly
    - all the water on display in the pools below us on the way out
    - the hike out, all the flora :D
    - think I'm one step away from getting my backpack back to the way it was back in the Spring of 2013
    - the tram ride through such a beautiful setting with water everywhere
    - meeting new folks and of course completing some more of the AZ Trail with Shawn and Tracy
The Not so highlights
- the taking on and off of the heavy backpack :sweat:
- the battle to get it comfortable again caused a bit of pain for me from time to time
- not bringing a lightweight shirt to avoid all the scratching my arms would take from cutting down the supposedly non-sticky shrubbery of the forest
- the constant buzzing of the bees after Cathedral Rocks Junction, it was like a movie or something as the buzzing was continuous and loud.
- the gnats :yuck: at Saturday's campsite until we got the fire going
- the pace was a little fast for me so I wasn't able to video much after Romero Pass. And the next morning, it was perfect conditions for taking pics of the fabulous flora but apparently some folks needed to get home to wash their socks ;) .

to the saddle - [ youtube video ] ...
from the saddle - [ youtube video ] ...
the big log - [ youtube video ] ...
Wilderness of the Rocks - [ youtube video ] ...
Wilderness of the Rocks, part 2 - [ youtube video ] ...
DAY TWO including a sunset view from camp [ youtube video ] ...

West Fork Trail #24 - Sabino
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Big loop with Kyle on a Friday. We started from the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center and made a counter clockwise loop. We made stops at Seven Falls and Hutchs Pool. Both were very cool and had some pools of water. Not much was flowing. We finished our loop along Sabino Canyon. This is a really beautiful area that I hope to return to someday.
West Fork Trail #24 - Sabino
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fourth time is a charm. snowed out twice previously, and almost blown off cardiac gap for a third failure, i finally found perfect weather for this fabulous loop. excellent flower show in stretches, running water everywhere and perfect!

with the backside of cathedral rock trail finally done, i've hiked all the formal trails on Pusch Ridge

came back on phoneline then down historic sabino 23A for the first time. that's a cool little connector between the road and phoneline
West Fork Trail #24 - Sabino
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After talking about it for years, Nick and I left embarked into the Catalinas on a sub-freezing Sunday morning for a trans-Catalina hike. Sabino Canyon was just as rugged, scenic, and amazing as I had remembered. It was the start of an unforgetable day...

Leaving the Sabino Canyon Road behind, we climbed higher into the canyon, and arrived at the West Fork Trail for the second leg of our journey. We turned west, crossed several roaring side creeks, and soon reached Hutch's Pool.

On our last hike to Hutch's Pool, we had contemplated a Hutch's Cannonball, but it hadn't happened. Today, we vowed it would, despite the cold, breezy weather. After all, the sun was out. :D I positioned my iPod on a rock to record the event. Nick went first, leaping from the rock wall. Splash! He emerged from the icy abyss with a shriek, and realized his glasses were missing. No!!! :o Thankfully, he found them quickly, and made a painfully cold swim to the shore. It was now my turn. I picked my landing spot and jumped. I surfaced from the coldest water I had ever been in, screaming something that has escaped my memory, and scaled the rock wall like a spider. Wow!!! That was incredible (or insane :lol: ) and totally worth it. Quite envigorating.

Having dried off and warmed up, we continued on, higher into the Catalinas. We entered oak woodland dotted with Schott's Yuccas (I love that classic Southern AZ combo :D ), and then snowy pine forest, as we worked our way up the canyon. Mighty Cathedral Rock and the snow covered Rincons came into view as we neared Romero Pass, where we paused for lunch.

Dropping into Romero Canyon, the temperature dropped sharply, and we donned our winter clothes again, as we slid down a snow blanketed trail. I was blown away by the Romero Canyon Trail. Rugged topography, pines, mighty oaks, waterfalls, sweet campsites, distant desert views, and a very "sky island" experience: Romero had it all. After several amazing miles, we arrived at Nick's playground, Romero Pools. A beautiful place, indeed. I could have stayed there for the rest of the day admiring the scenery. We continued on...

We peered into lower Romero Canyon's rugged serpentine gorge, studying the pools and waterfalls, as we began our descent into saguaro country. To the south, the impossibly rugged cliffs of Pusch Ridge captured my attention. I longed to hike to the summits of Table Mountain and Bighorn Mountain, if only I had the time.

Nick and I entered Catalina State Park, where the mountains gave way to foothills, and human traffic increased. My eyes returned to Romero Canyon and the Catalina highlands. "I want to go again!" One more creek crossing and we were back at the parking lot, where clean shirts awaited. Nick and I made a quick trip to the Quick Trip for beverages, then drove back to Sabino to retrieve my truck, which was on its final Tucson visit.

Thank you, Nick, for a most excellent adventure! :D :D :D :D :D :D

I'll be back, Tucson. One of these days, for good. :y:

Hutch's Cannonball and more: ... In84XU1cQw
West Fork Trail #24 - Sabino
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i've been telling preston forever how much fun a trans-catalina hike is, so we finally did one. with the recent rain and snow i figured it would be a good time and it certainly was. there was a ton of water but the west fork crossings were no problem. couple of inches of snow coming down from romero pass, but again no problem. quite cold at the start and coming down from romero pass but otherwise a very nice day.

after talking smack about it, the time came to man up...and the world's most FREEZING cannonballs were done in Hutch's pool :o

the big waterfall in upper romero was flowing nicely, which was a treat

overall an excellent winter hike through the catalinas
West Fork Trail #24 - Sabino
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awesome climb up from prison camp. i've been on all these trails numerous times but not officially as the AZT so here it is..

beautiful day, though a bit warm. the east fork and west form remain among my favorite local trails though right now they are literally pure torture from all the grass and fox glove.

as always the climb up mt. lemmon trail from romero pass in the hot sun is a total killer. the wilderness of rocks remains a show stopping rock star trail. saw a western diamondback and a black tailed rattler

thanks for the help getting this one done, john. :y:

this caps off 30 days in a row for me and also gives me a new personal record for mileage recorded in one month :zzz:

697.98 miles and 38 segments done. 5 to go
West Fork Trail #24 - Sabino
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I have no idea how this trip report got so long but nonetheless, here it is:

Your Mission if you choose to hike it:
"Come to Wendy's on Saturday nite, we'll hike somewhere on Sunday".

Hmmm. Well surely Wendy wouldn't lead me astray but why was she being so mysterious as to the WHERE :scared: ? I kind of had a tough ascent the weekend before so she knew my ego was bruised. Would she make my ego feel better or worse? With Wendy, I had a feeling it would be the former soooo I agreed to the mission and deleted the email. This would be my third trip to hike in the southern AZ ranges in the last 4 weeks. Tonto was beginning to think we should just move to Tucson ;) .

I drove down Sat nite to hang out with Mr. and Mrs. Wendy. No hints from Wendy as to our destination other than it was going to be an all day hike, probably more than 12 miles. :o as I drank some more of my bloody mary beer. A little after 6 AM the next day, we rise and shine, pack our gear and start driving toward the Catalinas. I've hiked in the Catalinas twice and both times the ascent just about put an end to my hiking desire :lol: . What on earth was she thinking? Wendy assured me over and over this was one of those that would be not nearly as hard as I thought. However, she was smart to not let me do my normal research before hand so that I could psych myself out.

It was a beautiful morning and other than leaving my keys in the restroom (fortunately someone would let me know before we got on the trail), the hike started out just wonderful and never let up. We would not be hiking on the road but on the trail. The morning light was incredible and the scenery even more so :y: . Wendy warned me that tibbermode would not be allowed :--: as we had ground to cover. I politely accepted the challenge... you know, all part of The Mission. But even Wendy had to give way to catch some of the beauty of the trail by pulling out her camera sooner and more often than expected.

I loved this warm-up part of the hike which was quite long before we hit any kind of elevation. Fortunately, there weren't the throngs of people on this trail that one can encounter on a weekend. 1 1/2 miles later we arrived at the junction where the trail sign said we had 7 miles to the East Fork Junction. Essentially by the time we got to the Junction, we would have done the same mileage we had done two weeks prior in the Cochise Stronghold. And from there it would be another 5 miles or so to catch the shuttle, IF we made it on time. Wendy wasn't sure what time the shuttles ran.

The hike is even more fabulous the moment you hit the mouth of Bear Canyon. And then, OMG, Seven Falls... We climbed up a couple of the switchbacks on the Bear Canyon Trail past the Falls and our views were even better :DANCE: . The light of the Fall sun was just nice enough not to overexpose the rock base of the Falls. There was another area prior to that where Wendy pointed out how the debris had come so fast down the mountain it had rubbed the dirt all the way down to the bedrock. I presume, upon additional reading when I got home, that this too was caused from the 2006 flood.

As switchbacks go, these were absolutely the bomb. It looks like there had been about 1 mile and 1/2 of new trail work done just recently so we got the pleasure of a clear trail. This had already been a great trail on a great day (altho we did have to go around one recent rock slide in the canyon). :thanx: to whatever crews had done this wonderful trail work for our hike. We stopped at a spring fed waterfall area that was pretty dry for the moment to have our second snack break of the day. This was about the 5 mile mark. We had great views from here and were able to really stretch out for a short time.

Next we headed out on the mostly level trail around a couple corners above the canyon and then next to and above the Seven Falls. We encountered a couple along with some teenagers and young boys who were heading on home after a weekend of backpacking. We would only see about 3 or 4 other people the rest of the day. Soon, our nice trail went back to a normal trail; it made the traverse go a tad slower. We were glad the backpacking party had laid down some of the grass from their walking so we could find the trail easier. There was only one area where we zigged and zagged a little to try to get to the cairns we spotted in a rockier area.

The canyon below us had lots of water too. Wendy said she was surprised at the amount of water this late in the season. And as you know, being able to hear water on your hike just makes it that more pleasant :D . We also enjoyed the various grasses along the way along with the coral bean and Arizona cotton that were starting to turn color :FG: . There was also a "bee" plant that was blooming prolificly and smelled great!

Soon we made it down to where the trail crosses the creek. Someone had painted a blue line across the rocks so we wouldn't get lost. I actually don't quite understand that since there were limited choices as to how to get across the mostly dry creek anyway. We stopped here at the 6.5 mile mark to enjoy the creek and grab another snack before heading up the switchbacks to the saddle another 2 miles away.

There was some great scenery coming up the switchbacks that crossed the south side of the mountain before swinging north and then switchbacking a few times before you're pretty far up on the side of the canyon! You know you have to eventually change directions, and after trying to get some pics of a deer Wendy had spotted, I said we must have to switchback and up from here not realizing we were standing ON the switchback :lol: . So we continued switchbacking up where we were treated to some spectacular views of Bear Canyon and the grassy mountainsides with oak trees scattered about. In the far distance, you could even see Wrightson and some of the Santa Ritas.

One time when we were walking on the east side of the mountain, it was like the cool and hot winds were having an argument around us :oplz: . It was the strangest thing. The warm seemed to win out as we got on the south side of the mountain before hitting the saddle. Here is where we talked with another hiker for a few minutes before heading toward the pass to the junction. I was also trying to get a sense of where we were based on looking from below so I wanted to double check our route so I could remember where to look in the pictures.

Once again we encounter our last hiker of the day. In short order, although I thot it was further than the 3/10ths the hiker at the Saddle said the Pass was from the Saddle, we come to the first pass but it is not THE pass with the junction. THE pass would be down further.

We decided it was time for lunch so we tried to find some shade. Well we found a piece of shade just big enough for the two of us and all the little bugs decided they would have lunch too :( . So we barely stayed long enough to finish our shared sandwich and a couple swedish fish before gearing back up and seeing if we could find a better place to take a little longer break before the last part of our trek through Sabino Canyon. Wendy did point out the Sycamore Basin and the location of the Reservoir and the trails above it that we could see from here.

We finally made the Junction. Scout showed the mileage as being 9 miles. The views from here were truly awesome :y: . It's as if you were in the center of the Catalinas as you could see so many landmarks such as Cathedral Rocks, Romero Pass, Wilderness of the Rocks, Sabino and Sycamore Basins and so much more. It was just beautiful.

Now on to Sabino. It seems quite the long descent down this east side though it only clocks in at a mile to Wendy's "zen" area :FG: . She was kind enough to share it with me. We were hoping to take a longer break here but the bugs forced us on our way after about 15 minutes. It was nice to hike in the basin area as the topography changed once again. We were having such a great day that even the clouds were doing a "wendy" 8) (be sure to see the photo when I post it).

Now we would slowly move up and out of the basin and change our direction to the south. The views were just non-stop fun to see. The shadows from the trees on one of the north facing hills was so interesting but hard to photograph. The grasses continued to be fabulous. Before you knew it, you were way above the Canyon :o . What? How the pumpkin did that happen so quickly that I hardly noticed?!

This last two miles of the hike seemed to take a long time. However, it was nice to see so much of this area that Wendy knew so well and had spent so much time hiking and backpacking and camping. I always like when I get to see in person where some of you hang out. We were going to take a little break but I thot we should try and see if we could catch the 5 o'clock shuttle, mostly because I still had a long drive home so wanted to save the time.

The hike also got toasty from time to time in this area but it seemed just when you would get a bit bothered by the heat, a breeze would come up to cool your jets. Eventually we came to the trail sign just before you drop down to the road. High above you is the infamous Blackett's Ridge I've heard about. That looks like a grueling ascent to me :sweat: . About 1/2 way down this last 1/2 mile we see the shuttle. How 'bout that. Nothing like perfect timing to finish off our nearly perfect BEARBINO hike. :thanx: Wendy!

Oh and lest I forget, we didn't have any money so the driver would not let us get on until he had some collateral like a camera :o . I looked at Wendy as there was no way I was giving up my camera :sl: . At the end of the ride we pay the man and then head to Tonto. As we start to leave Wendy realizes she doesn't have her wallet. She had left it in the restroom. Somewhat of a fitting ending since I had left my keys there in the AM only to be told that before we started hiking out by another patron.

3 videos:
to our lunch spot at the other side of 7 Falls: (the first song you will hear is by Alice Tatum, an acquaintance of mine and a local singer from Phoenix
from our lunch spot to the Saddle above Bear Canyon:
from Bear Canyon Saddle to and thru Sabino Canyon:

To Wendy (it loses a word in translation): Einer dieser Tage kann ein gut aussehender, gut aussehenden Deutschen am Ende des Weges, um Sie bei einer Massage sorgen.
West Fork Trail #24 - Sabino
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Very nice hike. Was surprising to start the segment heading up the Catalinas to discover we actually had to head down in elevation 1000 ft. The climbing after that was a bit challenging, but doable. The fact that I took the Cathedral Rock trail by mistake and climbed a few hundred feet of switchbacks before recognizing the mistake didn't help things much. Fortunately I was ahead of the pack, so not everyone went quite as far as I did.

Hutch's Pool was the highlight of this segment, followed by incredible views from Romero Pass to the top. The climb up to and just beyond Romero Pass in the heat without a stop for lunch until 1:30pm almost did all of us in but Joe, who just seems to be an elevation machine (I guess all those trips up and down Piestewa Peak are paying off!).

The three wild turkeys on the trip were a surprise, as well as the large number of trees struck by lightning up there above 7,000 feet.

After lunch I followed Denny while Joe stuck with Bruce. We made it up top a bit earlier than the rest but certainly didn't mind the wait up top!

Thanks guys for the great company, and another great trip on the AZT. Only 10 segments to go!

Note: 1 hr 50 minutes break total, but I needed 50 minutes of it to recoup at lunch so I'm only counting an hour.
West Fork Trail #24 - Sabino
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I love all the big Catalina hikes. While I've done all these trails I was excited to get back for the AZT!

We took a wrong turn onto the Cathedral Trail and ascended 315 feet. Denny mentioned something at the junction. Dave and I ignored him and kept on Luckily Dave noticed the error quickly and we didn't lose to much energy.

The highest temp Bruce noticed for the day was 80 degrees. With lack of shade 80 is pretty toasty at times. Exposure and grade were not to Dave or Bruce's liking from the Cathedral junction to Wilderness of Rocks. Hopefully they get to experience the phenomenal spring snow melt in the lower half some year!

The foxtails were pretty annoying. Foxtails are bad when your socks look like fur. It's really bad when they penetrate the shoe. When I got home I witnessed a new level... embedded in the skin. Perhaps someday I will remember to prepare for all aspects... unlikely. Today I brought 5 quarts of water which was not nearly enough. I started rationing before the big climb. Otherwise this was another great hike. We got some nice distant views from the top. Denny is starting to tell mean jokes that are funny, he must be getting that from Bruce. "if you don't like your burger then I'm sorry we didn't stop at one of the other 104 restaurants you had us pass up" :sl:

We only have 10 segments left to finish the Arizona Trail. 5 between the Kelvin Bridge and the Rincons with the remaining 5 north of the Grand Canyon. We should be able to knock out the lower 5 before summer 2012 easily.

Large swaths in areas yet not super photogenic as they are tiny. Most of the interesting varieties are along #39

I added up all the ascents and came up with 6,500 ft. I threw in 200 for tiny uncalculated blips. Recorded, TOPO! and DEM SYNC figures seem too high.

Personal Stats
September appears to be shaping up to be my third largest mileage month, currently at 183mi
AEG currently at 64k is a far cry from my best at 92k last Dec
Temps seem to be warmer than normal yet still a huge relief from the hottest August ever last month

Video short

Permit $$
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There are four specific day use areas that require a Coronado Recreational Pass or a National Pass/America the Beautiful Pass.
1) Sabino Canyon - located on the Santa Catalina Ranger District (520)749-8700
2) Madera Canyon - located on the Nogales Ranger District (520)281-2296
3) Cave Creek - located on the Douglas Ranger District (520)364-3468
4) Mt. Lemmon at 11 day use sites.

Catalina State Park $6 per day. Sabino Canyon Tram is $10 extra.

Coronado Forest
MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
Shortest access to trailhead is by parking at Sabino Canyon and hiking 3.2 miles up Sabino Canyon road or paying $7.5 to take the tram. From the end of the roadway take Sabino Canyon #23 2.5 miles to West Fork #24A.

Access from Catalina State Park involves hiking 6.6 miles along Romero Canyon Trail #8 to Romero Pass.

Access from Mount Lemmon involves hiking 5.8 miles along Lemmon Rock Trail #5 to Romero Pass.
3 pack - loud whistle
safety first
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