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Saucito Mountain
2 Photosets

mini location map2016-10-08
1 by photographer avatarAZHiker456
photographer avatar
Saucito MountainTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 08 2016
Hiking9.69 Miles 1,564 AEG
Hiking9.69 Miles   3 Hrs   46 Mns   2.78 mph
1,564 ft AEG      17 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The details are thoroughly covered in the description, but there’s a bit more to this one from a personal standpoint. Most of the adventure was awesome: I really got to enjoy most of it without feeling rushed, and there was no drama in terms of wildlife/snake encounters …

…but I definitely had a close call with the weather. Let’s just say, I should have listened to Peter and trusted in the MyRadar weather app that he introduced me to instead of the pre-built one that comes with my phone… but with nothing but blue sky and fluffy white clouds upon launch, [and of course wanting the forecast to be favorable! :D ], I dismissed the cloud & lightening bolt symbol that MyRadar displayed and instead went with the more favorable forecast provided by my phone’s default weather app, [which showed either suns or suns & clouds but no clouds & lightening bolts].

Sure enough, right around the time I made summit, some dark clouds were starting to build up to the East by the Santa Ritas. Much more often than not, the trusty Santa Ritas block/deflect storms… but not today. While I was tempted to explore some of the many other nearby ridges / smaller UN peaks / drainages, I’ve lived in the area long enough to know that the skies could definitely prove to be trouble. Thus, after a short break on the South summit of Saucito, I opted to descend via a combination of ridges that looked to be among the fastest way down [i.e. taking into account both shortest distance & best-looking terrain, relative to the direction I was headed to get back to my vehicle].

The storm luckily did not move in as fast as I’ve seen some that brew up around the Santa Ritas; however, around the point where I reached the UN tank after having descended Saucito, [still nearly 3.75 miles from my vehicle], the Eastern skies did not look good and with about 3.35 miles to go, I began trail running in the drainage, then back along the very well-defined route; [the paint on those rocks sure came in handy, saving me precious seconds from having to fetch my GPS in order to make the straightest shoot back]… then finally, the last 2.25 miles of jeep road. Up to this point, I’d heard no thunder and seen no lightening… but the skies were all too predictable by this point: the area was gonna get nailed with a mini monsoon-season type of thunder/lightening storm.

Not being at all fit when it comes to running, [and not wanting to twist an ankle on the rocky jeep road], I was slow as molasses as far as “running” is concerned… but logging just under 10 minutes/mile for one of my last two miles back seemed crazy fast compared to the 15-16 minute mile pace I held for those same first two miles of jeep road on the approach. However, with just under a mile to go, the jeep road took a wide turn and I attempted to shave off some distance by going off trail, as-the-crow-flies… go figure, I then misinterpreted the topo, costing me more time than had I stayed on the jeep road; and in a frantic effort to get back on track, inadvertently stopped one of my two GPS apps.

About 0.15 miles before reaching my vehicle, I heard some soft thunder almost directly overhead; and about 30 seconds after having jumped into my Forester, there was a violent streak of lightening that, from my vantage point, appeared to be right over the area where the jeep road turns into a well-defined route, [i.e. my location about 30 minutes earlier]. Oddly enough, the skies in that direction were still not even that dark. On the drive back, I saw many more violent flashes of lightening… as well as three dudes who’d set up a tent by their white pick-up truck, had enough beer line up to host a large party, and looked as though they were literally to prepare to target shoot, no joke. Talk about getting the hell out of dodge just in the nick of time!!!
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