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Italian Spring Trail to Spud Rock
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mini location map2015-06-13
33 by photographer avatarGrottoGirl
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Italian Spring Trail to Spud RockTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 13 2015
GrottoGirl
Hiking20.28 Miles 5,652 AEG
Hiking20.28 Miles   12 Hrs   59 Mns   2.39 mph
5,652 ft AEG   4 Hrs   30 Mns Break25 LBS Pack
 
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The smell of burning rubber will always bring fond memories of our hike we had this weekend. It all started with a goal to climb from the bottom of the Rincons to the top as early in the morning as we could to avoid the forecasted 100 degree heat in Tucson. Then we'd spend the day relaxing amongst the pines and exploring the great scenes the Rincons offer to those who can get up there. In order to accomplish this we met at 4:30 AM.

Typically, we leave the Subaru at home for this hike but we thought a different road might give us access in which the traditional road does not. So off we went along with Mark's Land Cruiser. We turned off Reddington road to another road we had only ever taken in the reverse direction in the Land Cruiser. We quickly encountered the first obstacle a wash crossing combined with a steep crawl out. The steep crawl had obviously presented challenges to other adventures. We could see the remains of ramps built out of rocks. We enhanced the ramps and then Joel started up the bank. Things looked good for a few seconds and then some of the rocks were displaced and a horrible noise was emitted. We gathered around to assess the situation. One idea was for Joel to just back up and then we could figure out how to get all 8 hikers to the trailhead using the Land Cruiser. Upon further inspection this was deemed not an option. We saw that a metal piece on the car was lodged against a big rock and backing up would not be an option.

We checked all the tired and added rocks where they were just spinning out. We would then have Joel try it again. He'd advance a bit and then the tires would spin out again. The smell of burning rubber permeated the drainage. We decided we needed to add some muscle and we had Josh, our Strong Man, and a few others push from behind taking care to be out of the way of any flying rocks. We continued all of these antics nearly an hour and a half until we decided that the bald tires were unable to get any traction no matter what we did. Mark pulled out a tow strap and we quickly decided this was a solution. However, the Outback was blocking the way. Mark, having done the infamous Rug Road, didn't see that as an issue he jumped into the Land Cruiser and rose out of the drainage alongside the Outback. A few load crunches were heard and several gasps from from the crowd as they thought the Land Cruiser might roll. But Mark knew what he was doing and he was soon in front of the Outback ready to tug away. Then we realized there wasn't a way to connect the strap to the Outback. So we scrambled yet again to mitigate the situation. Gary pulled a small carabiner out of his pack. Upon first glance someone might have thought it to be an accessory biner. But low and behold it was a stamped rated climbing biner! Quickly the biner was deployed and Joel and Mark jumped into the cars ready to respond to Gary's commands. Then they slowly applied the gas and soon the Outback was up the hill and the roar of the fans was deafening!

We piled back into the vehicles and continued on our way. Next up we encounter another crappy section of road. Mark was able to just bounce his way along the rocks and holes. Joel had to do some careful navigation with help from the peanut gallery. At one point we prevented him from driving off a small two foot cliff. Finally we were passed that trial.

I had uploaded a tracklog I had drew off the road to my GPS but I discovered too late that it wouldn't display in the list because I had too many stored tracks. Luckily I had also studied the route in Google Earth so I recognized our next turn. At the end of that road we encountered just a minor blip on the radar of rough roads and managed to climb up another hill without too much trouble and found ourselves on the normal road to the trailhead. From there, navigating some washouts was required but we moved along without issue to the trailhead.

We started our hike almost two hours late, the precious early morning hours were not to be had. But we set off to hike 20 miles anyway. We flew through the first couple miles along the milder terrain even though there was no respite from the sun. But when the trail became more steep we found we had to slow down and drink a lot of water! The nice trees near the Park boundary was a blessing. We took a break after signing in and rounded everyone up. Then we finished the push to the top through some areas that had burn several years ago. As we neared the spring the ferns took over the trail. We peered at each other through ferns that stood about 5 feet tall. We paused for a few minutes at Italian Spring to round up the gang and then finished the rest of our climb.

We were all excited that we made it to Mica Secondary, the location of the first nap on our agenda. The heat during our last push had drained our energy and we needed to refuel our tanks and rest. We snacked and lounged around for more than an hour. The breeze was delightful and soon I was chilly to the point of numb fingers. Next year, I think I'll bring my backpacking blanket and flip flops to help the enjoyment of the naps!

After our nap, we followed the Fire loop around to Manning Camp, past Reef Rock and Man Head. The telephone tree has been burned but you can make out what it was if you are in the know.

At Manning we hung out, ate (a lot), and refilled our water. The deer in the pen was eating away at the mule food, not to bothered by our comings and goings. I got to enjoy a swing session on the rope swing.

From there we went to Spud Rock and did the peak. The view was as incredible as it always is. Then we summitted the anti-climatic Mica Mountain. Too soon, it was time to head down to the low lands and the drive out.

We stopped at a nice campsite just past the National Park boundary for some quick refueling and then finished up the hike. I think we all had some pain of some sort :) We reached the cars just as darkness set in. We were all a bit nervous about getting the Subaru out but gravity was our friend!

We got to the wash with little trouble. We reinforced the constructed ramps and then let Joel cruise down it. We all cheered and then head back to town for more food(it's probably not a good idea to know how much we all ate!) and beers at Canyons Crown.

Can't wait to do it all again next year!
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