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mini location map2012-05-11
22 by photographer avatarkeepmoving
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Meadow Trail #5ATucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Backpack avatar May 11 2012
Backpack26.10 Miles 6,999 AEG
Backpack26.10 Miles2 Days         
6,999 ft AEG34 LBS Pack
 no routes
Day 1: 15.4 Miles, On trail for 7 hours & 47 Minutes
Started on Meadow Trail at 12:44pm and worked my way down to the Samaniego Ridge Junction. I turned right at the junction and worked my way down the ridge for the first time. Enjoyed the great views of Cathedral Rock, The Window, and Pusch Ridge. I took a slight detour at the CDO Shortcut trail and hiked to CDO and back so I could cross it off my to do list. At Walnut Spring I took a short lunch break. After the spring, I attempted to get to the top of Samaniego Peak, but I started too far north and ended up getting cliffed out. I returned to the trail and considered making a second attempt at the peak, but the day was growing late and I wanted to set up camp that night on CDO, so I knew I didn't have enough time.

The trail after Samaniego Peak gets a little sketchy in a couple places. There is one section where it steeply switchbacks down the side of a ridge in some very loose soil. I ended up stepping in a particularly loose patch of soil, started a rock/dirt slide and slipped about 6 feet below the trail. I have no idea how mountain bikers manage to ride this trail without getting killed...

By the time I reached Charouleau Gap it was already 7:56pm and I was almost out of daylight. I was too stubborn to stop for the day, so I began the 3.5 mile trek along the jeep road to reach the CDO trail. I was hoping I would encounter someone friendly enough to let me hitch a ride to the trailhead, but didn't see a vehicle the entire time. By the time I made it to CDO it was completely dark out and I was navigating by flashlight. I didn't know how far I would have to travel on CDO to find a campsite and was ready to set up camp in the middle of the trail- but luckily there is a large campsite only a couple hundred feet from the trailhead.

Day 2: 10.7 Miles, On trail for 5 Hours & 56 Minutes
Despite being completely exhausted from the previous day, I only managed to get about 3 hours of sleep the whole night. As soon as it began to get light out, I ate breakfast and packed up my camp and was on trail at 5:45am. I knew it was going to be hot out, so I wanted to gain as much elevation as I could before the sun hit the canyon. I had some confusion just up trail from my campsite and followed an ATV trail across the creek, not noticing that the trail departed the ATV trail and continued to follow the east side of the creek. After some backtracking, I was able to correct my mistake and get back on the proper trail.

I had no idea how much water I would encounter along CDO, and was blown away that the trail followed a flowing creek for almost 5 hours! The area is so lush and green, with large trees that provide plenty of shade for much of the hike. The trail can be a little faint in areas due to all the leaves on the trail, but it generally sticks to the creek and is not too difficult to follow if you pay attention.

After leaving the creek, the trail goes through a burned area, then begins to switchback its way up to the CDO shortcut trail. The switchbacks provided excellent views down into the CDO and out towards Reef of Rock and Rice Peak. The rest of the hike was uneventful as the trail continued to gain elevation as it works its way back to the top of the mountain.

But wait, there's More!
I was so physically & mentally exhausted when I got back to the parking lot that I left my backpack on the ground next to my truck and drove away. I only realized my mistake when I got home and noticed my pack wasn't in my truck :doh: . I contacted the Sheriffs Dept and had the Mt Lemmon deputy check the parking lot for my backpack- but they couldn't locate it. I contacted the Palisades Ranger station and luckily a ranger showed up with my pack while I was on the phone with them :y: ! I drove back up the mountain and collected my pack from the ranger (with nothing missing) and drove back home again.
Named place
Named place
Walnut Spring

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Walnut Spring Dripping Dripping
The catchment has approximately 5 inches of water in it, with lots of mosquito larvae. There is also some water in the creek immediately above and below the catchment.
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