Unsure if I'd tackled Sutherland. Hoping for something with more meat on the bone as I've been packing on the pounds. Nevertheless it sounded fun. Up Romero-Lemmon is a great ascent with a little burn depending when you hit the gas. Memory had me thinking of the ascent right after Romero Pass and the final switchbacks at the top. Neither seemed a big deal today. Rather the entire upper half felt sloggy do to a river of sweat.
MSimmons posted last week "patchy snow, knee-deep at moments". As most know I have no heart so when my feet or hands get cold it's nearly impossible to warm up. Good news! We encountered just one three and a half foot post hole. A few short stretches of foot deep snow was no biggie with foot steps in place.
What caught me off guard was the sweat factor. After a short winter of carrying way too much water each week I just downsized from 4 to 3 quarts.
Heading down Sutherland we came to the powerlines. At which point I mentioned to jj, yep I've done this trail. After that trail quality dwindled. I remember reading how this trail got maintenance a couple years ago. I'd imagine most would have considered it a nightmare prior. Glad we hit this CCW as I prefer descending through brush so my body weight is an advantage.
We had the advantage of using Matt's posted route. This made it a breeze to adjust to the route when we got off course. By the time we got down to where the old road comes into play I mentioned to jj "I've definitely never done this trail". There is NO way you could forget it...lol The views are outstanding with towering ridges and a very Arizona feel. The trail is crap ( rocky and rutted ) from the road down to the gate. Very difficult to relax and surf the internet!
I ran out of water with five miles to go. No biggie as the heat of the day crested, we didn't have any ascending and a couple creek crossings allowed for some nice cooling.
Finishing up I was glad we didn't have another ten hours to go. I was pretty darn tired, even another hour sounded painful.
Passed a steady stream of hikers up to Romero Pools. Two gals and boy scout group on route up to the pass. Two younger guys near WOR junction. Not a soul until down Sutherland past the gate.
Wildflowers ObservationIsolated The bottom 3 miles of Sutherland has a weak display. Owl Clover, lupine, poppies and a couple other cute pedals.