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Ladybug Peak from Turkey Flat TH
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mini location map2016-07-15
28 by photographer avatarAZHiker456
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Ladybug Peak from Turkey Flat THTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 15 2016
Hiking4.50 Miles 1,421 AEG
Hiking4.50 Miles   2 Hrs   7 Mns   2.73 mph
1,421 ft AEG      28 Mns Break
1st trip
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Just two weeks ago, I still had considerable difficulty walking on anything other than pavement or excellent, graded dirt road thanks to a viral infection that royally F’ed up my equilibrium back in mid-June. One week ago, I had recovered enough to be able to “hike” on more rugged dirt roads. And this weekend, I wanted nothing more than to have healed enough to safely hike on real trails. Instead, [to my very pleasant surprise given the degree of impairment I’m still dealing with], I took the Pinalenos by storm, bagging 11 peaks in a 48 hour window:

Day 1 – Ladybug Peak

Day 2 – Clark Peak, Blue Jay Peak, & West Peak/L.O.

Day 3 –
Hike 1 – Merrill Peak
Hike 2 – Grand View Peak
Hike 3 – Webb Peak/L.O.
Hike 4 – Grant Hill
Hike 5 – Eagle Rock & Heliograph Peak/L.O.
*”Hike” 6 – Hagens Point
Hike 7 – Twilight Peaks (both of them!)
*I haven’t counted this .25 mile RT “hike” to Hagens Point, [located right by UN 8891], as one of the 11, lol. I saw how close it was on the topo and wanted to check it out but there was really nothing interesting there that I could see, [not even any views]. From the many fire rings in the vicinity, it looked more like a popular spot for camping.

Day 1 – I took the trail to Ladybug Peak from the Turkey Flat TH. It was a bit rockier than I was hoping for my first hike back, but I handled it extremely well, slowing my pace just slightly during the first mile so as not to lose my balance, [yet still clocking in at a respectable sub-23 min for both miles 1 & 2]. According to MapMyHike, I made summit in 2.12 miles and a few seconds over 48 minutes. Luckily, aside from a few nice viewpoints, most of the views en route to the peak were blocked, allowing me to stay focused on pushing the pace. I wasn’t trying to haul pumpkin for the sake of saying I made summit in X amount of minutes; rather, [thanks to a headlamp faux pas in combo with a 6 pm start time], I wanted to make sure I’d be back to the TH, [or at least reach the paved road in the event I opted for a loop over an out and back], before pitch dark.

The summit views were beautiful… and to say there were a poo mess of ladybugs would be an understatement… more accurately stated: it was like total ladybug takeover / infestation… enough ladybugs to make it downright creepy… especially when a few of them started crawling up my shorts…! :o

With my equilibrium still far from 100%, [and not knowing if the free flashlight app I’d downloaded to my phone en route to the Pinalenos that evening would even provide quality light…], I played it safe and opted for a loop route that involved only .5 more miles of trail from the summit of Ladybug Peak before dumping me further up on Rt. 366. But go figure, [despite being nearly pitch dark and the flashlight app proving far inferior to my Black Diamond headlamp], the gazillion and one routes that others have blazed to cut off the switchbacks of the road got the better of me and I had a blast going down several steep, [but super soft] dirt/pines covered slopes. If one thing had recovered in full, it was my ability to handle loose footing, which seemed even better than prior to getting the viral infection. Scaling/stepping over logs was still a challenge… and, [given that my bouldering/climbing ability was still moderately to severely impaired], how I managed to come clean off a 15’ embankment at the bottom of one of the slopes to get back on the road – [in pitch darkness by this point, nonetheless] – was a total miracle. I stayed on the road after that for the remaining .86 miles back to the TH. While I’m not normally a fan of road finishes, the little bit of road that needs to be traversed to complete this hike as a loop makes it totally worth it, given what a total blast the bushwhack is down those steep but soft pine-covered slopes between the segments of road. And there’s not doubt even more bushwacking & less road hiking would’ve been done had it been daylight or had I come equip with a quality light source.

Fueled with excitement at just how well I handled the test hike to Ladybug Peak, I made the rest of the drive up the Swift Trail / Rt. 366 that evening and car-camped just up the road from Riggs Lake. The super trifecta I’d tentatively planned for Day 2 to Clark, Blue Jay, and West Peaks would definitely be a go, and I wanted to be as close to my launch point [Clark Peak TH] as possible.
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