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Aspen Draw Trail #423
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mini location map2010-04-26
42 by photographer avatarchumley
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Aspen Draw Trail #423Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 26 2010
chumley
Hiking5.80 Miles 850 AEG
Hiking5.80 Miles   2 Hrs   45 Mns   2.11 mph
850 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I've lived in Arizona for 19 years and never been to Mt. Lemmon. So I decided to take a daytrip today, and figured a hike was needed to break up all the driving.

I decided to do the ADT, speculating that there might be some snow left ...! I had read a previous triplog from an early season trip and heard that the Ski Valley folks claimed that the trail was closed, so I pre-planned and stopped at the Palisades Ranger Station. Ranger on duty told me all trails are open and there's some snow and mud, but its a great hike.

Sure enough I got to the Ski Valley, and was told the trail was closed. I politely asked "by who?" and was told that the Forest Service closes the trails in winter. I explained that the FS Ranger had just explicitly told me that the ADT was open and went along my snowy way!

Oh, and snowy it was! There were bare patches, but on this north-facing slope, it was at least 95% snow-covered. Sometimes at least 3-feet deep. Luckily, the spring melt has compacted the snow and hiking on the surface was pretty easy. Following the trail was less easy! Somebody had hiked it within the past few days so I followed those light tracks as much as I could, but somewhere near the top I lost the track, and couldn't find any of the tree-markers. So I just hiked straight up hill until I reached the powerline road, which lead me to the summit.

From there, I had decided to take a short additional loop on the Meadow Trail and back on the the Lemmon Trail, with a stop at the Lemmon Rock Fire Lookout. The Meadow Trail was a total mess. Where there was snow, it was impossible to follow and where there wasn't snow, there were so many downed trees that it was impossible to follow the trail. Somehow (miraculously?) I actually ended up at the junction of the Lemmon Trail I was hoping to find. The hike back up this old road was much easier to follow, and the trip out to the lookout cabin was a real treat. A couple of springs and some snowmelt presented the sounds of running water, and the cabin was a great spot for lunch.

I returned to the Lemmon trailhead at the top, and opted to take the road down to the bottom. It was closed so traffic wasn't an issue, and though its a bit longer than returning via the ADT, I was happy not to trudge through the snow again.

I'd love to come up here again in the summer, but something about this hike on a Monday in "mud season" and the fact that I didn't see another person during my entire hike was sort of nice too.
Fauna
Fauna
Dog

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Cascade Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Tons of water here. I thought it was snowmelt, but it does dry out above the spring, so its all ground water. The photo of my dog laying in the water in this photoset is just a few hundred yards downstream of the spring.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Flicker Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Plenty of water in the drainage below the spring. Snowmelt is helping it too.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Quartzite Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Plenty of water. I could her it running before I knew where it was. Flowing from the pipe just below the trail.
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