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Jill & Jack Mountain Loop, AZ
mini location map2016-05-17
24 by photographer avatarAZHiker456
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Jill & Jack Mountain Loop, AZ 
Jill & Jack Mountain Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar May 17 2016
Hiking7.02 Miles 2,261 AEG
Hiking7.02 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   3.07 mph
2,261 ft AEG      13 Mns Break
1st trip
Before flying out of town on biz, I decided to squeeze in a hike. Only in my backyard Ritas could I pull off such a nice loop AND still make it to the airport in time. The primary objectives were twofold: PR to J-Saddle and then bag Jill Mountain. Icing on the cake would be having time to bag Jack Mountain as well and/or return loop style via the Agua Caliente (AC) & Vault Mine Trails.

Although still really struggling to attain, [or rather re-attain], the fitness/health parameter that is most important to me, my speed, strength and endurance have miraculously managed to improved. My new [intense, but non-race pace] PR of 41:19 to J-Saddle via Old Baldy confirmed that not all has gone to pumpkin. The new PR smashed my previous one by a full 3 min & 15 sec.

After taking a well-deserved few min. break at J-Saddle, I set off to bag Jill Mountain, which proved to be beyond easy… there is a well-defined spur trail/route that takes off right from J-Saddle [just look to the left of the AC Trail and it should be obvious]. Within just a few minutes, the route leads you to the summit of Jill Mountain. I did not see a register, and most of the views are completed obstructed by trees, but it’s definitely more fun than sticking to the trail, and there are a few nice views of Mt. Hopkins between the trees.

Instead of retracing my steps, I proceeded to follow a route that continues from Jill Mountain toward Jack Mountain. Due to very thick brush in some places, going in a straight line was not always possible; and, for a good part of the short way from Jill to Jack, the brush was thicker than ideal for bee/snake season. I made it to the summit of Jack Mountain uneventfully; however, [just like the last 3 times], I was greeted by lots of buzzing/flying bees. They never chased or swarmed me, but I keep the summit visit very brief to be safe. Unlike Jill Mountain which has no views due to the surrounding trees, there are some very beautiful views from Jack Mountain.

Although I was tempted to follow a route leading off Jack Mountain in the direction of Mt. Hopkins, the combination of being pressed for time AND the many buzzing bees led me to play it safe and take the very well-beaten in route from the Jack Mountain summit back to the AC Trail. The AC is very beautiful, and this is the first time I recall having taken it in the direction of J-Saddle to the junction with the Vault Mine Trail… [and the first time I recall having gone down the Vault Mine Trail for that matter]. Call me crazy, but I actually enjoy going up the Vault Mine Trail and have done so many times. Though after setting a new PR up to J-Saddle, I thoroughly enjoyed the well-deserved elevator ride down the Vault Mine [aka Very Steep] Trail.

Back to parking area with a few minutes to spare, I took off a very short ways down the Super Trail and then looped back to the parking area via a random drainage in order to get in 7 miles for the day.

It was an awesome adventure for a work day… and I made my flight in time.
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