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Butterfly Trail #16 - Catalina
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mini location map2013-09-28
42 by photographer avatartibber
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Butterfly Trail #16 - CatalinaTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 28 2013
tibber
Hiking6.14 Miles 1,695 AEG
Hiking6.14 Miles   5 Hrs   39 Mns   1.50 mph
1,695 ft AEG   1 Hour   33 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Hadn't hooked up with Wendy forever and though this wasn't our original plan, it sufficed. I hadn't driven up the Catalina Highway since 2010 so I really enjoyed the drive; it really is spectacular.

We set up our shuttle and headed up the hill from the Bigelow TH toward the towers. The climb was nice and gradual. Most everyone else seemed to be coming back down the trail; probably after a visit to the tower. We hooked up with the Butterfly Trail and started down the other side of the mountain. To me we were on the north side but Wendy says it was east. I always seem to be off by a quarter :doh: when I get in these Catalinas.

The trail is quite overgrown and it goes down for what seems a long ways before leveling off when you are about 1/2 way down. You can see for miles off in the distance at the Galiuros and Pinalenos with the San Pedro Valley below. Wendy is very familiar with the area and shared her knowledge :) which always makes a hike more interesting.

There were various fruit bushes along the way and I got to eat A raspberry as most of the fruit was gone already as would be the case with the blackberry bushes later on. I also got to see my first snowberry bushes. Those are totally cool and totally poisonous. We rounded the corner and started walking in the forest that remained after the fire of 10 years ago. It was really a neat area.

We eventually ended up on top of this ridge where we took a short break for some fuel. You could see in a couple different directions but what caught our eye was a big boulder on the side of the mountain. We would see this boulder again later after we went past the intersection with the Davis Trail and headed west. It looked like a huge piece of rock had let loose from the boulder and stuck straight up in the ground :o .

We continued on our way crossing between environments of the forest of fir and pine to oak. It was fun and believe it or not, we were still going down. Also of note, the trail is not the smoothest. I found myself thinking, yep, this would be good practice for going down into the canyon. And as we all know, when you go down in the canyon you eventually have to go up. However, Wendy set this up so we had a bigger down than up, WHEW!

Eventually you get to the spring area. We debated whether to find the 1957 mid-air F-86 plane wreckage and opted to go look for it. There is a pretty good path to it and we found the two big pieces and one little piece. There was another well worn path we could have continued on, and should have, to see some other pieces, but it was lunch time so we headed back down to the spring area and ate atop a big rock.

From there you stay by the creek for a little while longer. We did find the water fall. It's pretty cool looking but you actually have to hike back to it to get a good look. Soon we would start our climb. There were some pretty steep switchbacks but not too bad. We ran into folks on this section as people were coming and going up and down. As we got closer to the major saddle, we went through another neat forested section. At the saddle there are some nice large logs to sit on before finishing off the last of the trail.

The last part is pretty fun too but you do a lot of up and down; well more up : rambo : than down. However, the trail is nice through here. We were in shade so it was plenty cool. In fact, the whole hike you could feel the chill in the air which needless to say, we appreciated on the uphill. At the Butterfly TH there were these families that decided the parking lot was actually a picnic area and they had stuff and their chairs scattered all over. Tonto honked but this barely got their attention to move out of the way. With the screaming kids, it was not the most pleasant way to end such a great day.

We went to Summerhaven for an early dinner, picked up some fudge and finished the "don't blink or you'll miss it" tour of Summerhaven. On the way down, Wendy stopped at one of the larger pullouts so we could catch the sunset. It was really fabulous with the views and all :DANCE: but the sun set quick. We also stopped at an area where she could show me this canyon she and Steve had rappelled down but got caught in the dark.

From there it seemed like it took forever to get to I-10, fueled up at the Circle K on Ina and then the quick trip home; other than the folks who didn't get out of my way fast enough :gun: ;)


Here are a couple videos of our hike:
Part 2 - http://youtu.be/BrQPgZ_1pU8
Part 2 - http://youtu.be/yI8YWJVgLQ4
Culture
Culture
Airplane Wreckage
_____________________
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
HAZ Member
tibber's
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