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Oracle Ridge to Catalina Camp
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mini location map2018-06-09
22 by photographer avatarDarthStiller
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Oracle Ridge to Catalina CampTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 09 2018
Hiking12.40 Miles 3,119 AEG
Hiking12.40 Miles   7 Hrs   8 Mns   1.74 mph
3,119 ft AEG
1st trip
This was part 2 of the hike we did in February doing the lower half of this trail. Last time we hiked from Oracle all the way up to Rice Peak and back down. This time, we started from the upper TH at Summerhaven on top of Mt. Lemmon and walked down to the base of Rice Peak. I had originally thought this upper section would be a total distance of 11 to 12 miles. It would really only be barely 10. So I had the idea of trying to hike down to Catalina Camp and to the junction of the Red Ridge Trail. We decided to go to Rice Peak first and then on our way back up, we would decide at Dan's Saddle whether or not to lose another 900' of elevation before having to climb back up 2000' to get back to the car. We had lunch just before Dan's Saddle, made our assessment, and decided to go for it. I had 3.5 liters of water left, which was right at the limit of what I was comfortable with. We ended up a quarter of a mile short of the junction when we decided to head back up. The temperature was getting noticeable warmer as we descended, and the trail was pretty steep and gnarly in sections as it went past the Catalina Camp. I ended up running out of water a half mile from the TH, so it was a good call.

At the start of the hike we kicked out about 5 deer below the trail that ran over the ridge and out of sight. We kicked a few more out as we hiked along the trail, and I was thinking they might have been the same deer. At one point there were two above the trail running through the trees. The must have been yearlings because their coats were still kind of spotty. Every time we saw them, they ran like crazy and wouldn't stop. I mentioned to Wally that they really seemed spooked and he brought up the fact that this is mountain lion country. Oh yeah. I was never able to get any pictures because by the time my camera was out, turned on and focused, they were gone.

The climb back up from Catalina Camp was a bit of a slog. Going up from Catalina Camp to Dan's Saddle seemed a lot harder than from the saddle back to the car, even though the AEG for both is roughly the same. Luckily, as we ascended, clouds came rolling in, giving us some shade and breezes. I think if the sun would have been hitting us directly, I would have run out of water a lot sooner.

On our way home, there were some very dark storm clouds rolling in from the southeast. Hopefully that's a sign of the monsoon arriving soon. Lots of clouds in the sky in Tucson as we left, none at all in Phoenix.

Saw 2 other hikers all day, who looked so similar that I thought it was the same guy doing an out and back hike. Nice to get this trail completed and mark off another hike in the 100 Classic Hikes in AZ book.
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