Long weekend 3 day backpack in the Rincon Mountains exploring the top of the range. Angela invited us on this trip with Wendy and so we headed out early Saturday morning for Turkey Creek TH. The actual trailhead is near the campground but the road continues on 4wd track another 1.5 miles to where the road stops. We parked there and started about an hour behind Angela and Wendy as we headed up Turkey Creek Trail #34. First 2 miles is along a ridgeline until we hit the Saguaro National Park boundary and shortly after that a register. At this point the trail is pretty much all up gaining about 1100 feet in the next 1.2 miles to Mud Hole Spring. The spring had water but very little to get a filter going. As we took a break we heard voices which would later turn out to be Angela and Wendy and we caught up 3/4 mile above Mud Hole Spring. Above the spring the trees get much thicker with Ponderosa and Oak providing ample shade up to Deerhead Spring. After Deerhead we went by Spud Rock Campground and checked out the spring which had good pool before continuing on to Manning Camp. Once at Manning we were surprised to find no one in the entire camp site and didn't see anyone for the 3 days on the mountain.
Next day we had the whole day to explore the top area....Kathy and I headed out towards Helen's Dome and made it up to the part where rock climbing gear is required. Then we continued on to Spud Rock and took a break enjoying the views....probably the best views of the Catalinas! Next up we hit Mica Mountain which of course is bit of let down from the great views on Spud but it's still the high point. Then we headed down to Mica Meadow Trail which is really nice stroll through the Ponderosa pines and ferns. The trail eventually reaches Reef Rock area so we arrived on the Reef and had lunch with another great view.
From Reef Rock we continued on to Manhead which is right along the trail but requires climbing gear to make the top. Then went over to Duckbill which was a rock scramble to make the top but nice views. And finally the highlight of the day we hiked down to Devils Bathtub to relax the afternoon away. Really nice spot to hang out and next time I think we will wander down canyon further. After hour and half at Devils Bathtub we headed back to Manning Camp for another night around the fire! Interesting note was the amount of water we encountered all weekend. Once on top it seemed like even the smallest drainages had some water in them from all the summer rain. Definitely the most water I've ever seen in the Rincons
Next morning we took our time hiking back out Turkey Creek Trail to the vehicles. Very nice weekend...thanks for the invite Angela!