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Nuttall Canyon Trail #303
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mini location map2003-06-06
14 by photographer avatarrwstorm
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Nuttall Canyon Trail #303Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 06 2003
Hiking7.08 Miles 2,858 AEG
Hiking7.08 Miles
2,858 ft AEG
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Went over with some folks from SAHC for a couple days of camping to escape the heat and bag some of the peaks the club does along the upper part of Swift Trail. We like camping at the group area across the road from Hospital Flat CG when available. I can't remember all that we did, but most likely hit Ladybug on our way to set up camp. Next day we did Heliograph and Eagle, then the Webb Peak-Ash Creek loop down to the boiler. I didn't take many photos this trip.

On the morning of our third day, we decided on something with more elevation change and miles than the usual up there. We started a loop hike at the Nuttall Ridge TH then down into Hells Hole, where the trail reaches a junction with the Nuttall Canyon Trail (big elevation drop), which we would then use to regain all that lost elevation to make our way up to the Clark Peak Trail west of Clark Peak. But we hit a snag. We never went down into Hells Hole, because just where the switchbacks down into that canyon start there was tape across the trail, indicating a closure for some reason. At this spot we looked over on the other side of the ridge and could see evidence of some sort of trail clearing or something going down that way. Perhaps a trail re-route was being done? Anyway at that point Pam and Paul decided they didn't want to do any bushwhacking, so they turned back.

Art, Ray, and myself decided to go for it. We could more or less see where we needed to go, and knew the trail we wanted was down there, so why not. As is usual with most bushwhacks, it took more time and energy than we expected. Oh yeah, that possible "new" trail we saw turned out to be a fire break, and it didn't last for long. By the time we finally bottomed out at the Nuttall Canyon Trail at about 6200 feet, we were in need of a break, and Art had drunk almost all his water. :o He sort of started having a panic attack, so Ray and I tried to calm him down as we rested a bit for the big pull out. We told him we would share some of our water; just let us know when he needed some, and No Guzzling! :sweat: It was a warm slog, but we eventually were getting close to the ridge. We wondered if Pam and Paul would be concerned and come out and look for us, and sure enough we heard voices, and there they were! :D All was well. Back around Clark Peak to the vehicles at the end of the road. If we had any plans on going to Clark Peak that day, they were forgotten, as we walked right by it. :lol:

This hike was in 2003, so it was before the Big Nuttell Fire Complex (the next year). There had been a smaller burn in 1996 (Clark Peak Fire which started down by the lake). Things still looked pretty nice up there back then. :)

Back to camp we went, perhaps we spent another night before heading back to Tucson, can't remember. But since the next day was Saturday and we try to avoid the weekends, maybe not.

It is interesting to see the different spellings of Nuttell. A sign in a Preston photo from 2007 shows Nuttle and the newer Forest Service topos spell it Nuttel. Me? I like the older more predominant Nuttell. On the older maps the trail we started on is shown as Nuttell Ridge #319, while the newer FS topos show it as Hells Hole #319 (I think that is better).

I created the gps track on route editor, and the bushwhack part is an estimation, but likely very close to what we did that day.

Recent postings here reminded me of that trip from long ago, so had to share. I have no idea what some of the trails are like these days, but they sure can't get much use after all the fire action. I haven't been up to look at things since last year's monster Frye Fire, so guess it's about time to head up that way and get depressed. Maybe camp at the west end and do a little hiking out to Clark Peak and beyond (perhaps check out that Carter-Nuttell shortcut connector). Always something interesting to see on that big old mountain!
No more mister gneiss guy.
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