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2017-03-04  
AZT: I-10 to Summerhaven, AZ
mini location map2017-03-04
14 by photographer avatarThe_N
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AZT: I-10 to Summerhaven, AZ 
AZT: I-10 to Summerhaven, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Mar 04 2017
The_N
Backpack70.00 Miles 16,000 AEG
Backpack70.00 Miles2 Days   13 Hrs   45 Mns   
16,000 ft AEG22 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Day 1: I decided to join Dallin on a portion of his Spring Break AZT dash. We were dropped off at Gabe Zimmerman TH on Saturday a.m. and started the trek at segment #8. It was a sunny, beautiful day. The trail is mostly flat and winds through a scenic desert. Saguaros dominate, Rincon Peak looms and neat geology surrounds. The smell of spring Creosote wafted through the air. Plenty of mountain bikers on this stretch. We breaked at Rincon Creek and enjoyed a brief soak. Heading up and into the mountains we would cross many flowing drainages and even saw a distant waterfall. After some climbing, we both hit a wall and stopped for camp on a rock slab 2 miles short of Grass Shack. Worst campsite ever. We were joined at camp by Anna, a solo backpacker on the 2nd night of her maiden voyage, who we'd been leap frogging in those last 6 miles.

Day 2: We woke up refreshed and determined to make up some milage. We started our climb up Mica Mountain. The ever changing terrain kept me in awe. Unlike anything I'd seen in AZ. The Juniper grasslands gave way to pines. The trail was beautiful and easy to follow. The creek at Grass Shack was flowing good. Temps dropped as we climbed and we didn't see any sunshine all day. Our nutrition / water break at Manning Camp was fairly chilly. We reached the top shortly after and enjoyed the stunning views. We hit a few snow patches on the north face of Mica. Nothing too bad but the slow melt made the trail loose and slick. We made our way down through the oak and manzanita forest before a nice afternoon/evening stroll over the rolling grasslands. Winds were ripping, deer were grazing and we both nearly stepped on a very lethargic baby rattler. After an impressive sunset and 1.5 hours of night hiking, we settled on another lousy camp site, but made it work.

Day 3: Didn't start well at all. I woke up with a screaming IT band and a serious case of pumpkin chaffe with a 25 mile day ahead. I threw an elastic knee brace on and went commando to help combat the chaffe (it helps). Needless to say, it took some warming up before I could move. I limped my way up the pass and down to Molino Basin. Dallin informed me that this was one of my last bail out options, but encouraged me to keep going, so I did. Once we topped out and I saw the views down into Sabino Canyon, my spirits were instantly lifted. I pushed on through the pain and was grateful I did. Wouldn't want to miss this canyon. We made our way back down into Saguaros and a lush riparian zone. The entire canyon and every drainage was raging. Quite a few day hikers and a few backpackers along this stretch. I can see why, Sabino is a showstopper. Despite my ailments, we were cruising along the canyon and making great time. Romero Pass put an end to that. I could barely lift my right leg at this point but we pushed on. Eventually we topped out and down into Wilderness of Rocks. More snow patches in this area. Some icy, but no additional gear is needed, just a careful step. The snow melt fueled good flowing water everywhere. We had about 5 miles left and I was hurting, completely drained and flat out delirious. Spending another night wasn't an option. Temps dropped quickly and darkness fell. We had a couple hours of night hiking with some interesting route finding along snowy creeks. It took some teamwork but we made it out and to our ride after road walking up from Marshall Gulch TH. Temps were already in the mid 30's. Burritos and beverages saved the day. Overall, an amazing and epic trip. We knocked out a good amount of trail with big climbs but I also got my pumpkin handed to me a few times throughout. Well worth it.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Brittles and poppies mostly. Still too early.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cienga Creek @ AZT Light flow Light flow
Murky and green but filterable.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 East Fork Sabino Canyon Heavy flow Heavy flow
Great flow throughout.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Grass Shack Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Both streams at Grass Shack were flowing. Good water.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Italian Spring Dripping Dripping
Muddy seep filled with algae. Filterable but will clog a filter quick.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Lemmon Creek @ WOR #44 Heavy flow Heavy flow
Snow melt fed. Ice cold. Good water.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Rincon Creek @ AZT Medium flow Medium flow
Good, clear water. A ribbon of life in the desert.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Upper Molino Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Flowing down to the Highway.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 West Fork Sabino Canyon Heavy flow Heavy flow
Great flow throughout.
_____________________
If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
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