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Santa Catalina Mountains - AZT #11
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Santa Catalina Mountains - AZT #11Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 30 2019
Hiking8.14 Miles 2,238 AEG
Hiking8.14 Miles   5 Hrs   40 Mns   1.84 mph
2,238 ft AEG   1 Hour   15 Mns Break
1st trip
a continuation of our Sabino to Molino hiking the bottom of Passage 11 and the top of Passage 10. Now that we were in the flat it seemed to have warmed up and we lost our breeze. The scenery changed as well; not as pretty, at least this time of year as things hadn't greened up yet. You are hiking near the drainage and you could hear water on occasion but I don't recall seeing it except when we got above it a little and I could see the flow but wasn't able to get very good pictures. And all of a sudden I felt sick. I was thinking this is not a good sign to have two hikes in a row where I felt this way.

I called "time out" when we came to the UP part at the junction with Pine Canyon as I wanted to re-group with myself. After a few minutes and eating, it was time to head up the hill. Well surprisingly I bounced back to my old self and was able to keep up now. The grade was surprisingly gentle as we switch-backed our way up the side of Peak 4985 where the wind really gusted as we topped the saddle. From here we would head southeast and continue on Passage 11. This would be new territory for me now. Tracy found the perfect lunch spot at the creek that was running through Sycamore Canyon. What a nice setting that was. A couple hikers and their dog crossed over and back and I think a couple other hikers too as you couldn't cross where the trail was.

And once again you're in the flats but near running water that you could hear and/or see from time to time. And as luck would have it, Shawhuna (combo of Shawn and the Big Kahuna; I call him the Big Kahuna cuz he is the Trail Director for the AZT) had to get his saw out and sawed a couple different times always mindful of moving the debris over so as to keep people on the original AZT. We had to cross the wider creek as we got closer to the Sycamore Reservoir area but there were stepping rocks to use that had definitely been placed.

It got a little tricky getting thru the trail near Sycamore Dam due to some tree debris across the trail. We stayed on the trail but the detour is definitely the better choice. Shawn gave thot to removing this HUGE fallen tree but we quickly said, "no way Jose". By this time I was in territory I had hiked several years ago on an ABC backpacking trip. So now it was time to get up those hills to Shreve Saddle. We knew this climb was coming and at least the first part is the old road for a little bit before it changes to single track. Now Tracy was fighting being sick so we paused for her to re-energize. From here I could see several bits of the Catalina Hwy including that very top tier. Pretty amazing how integrated it is with the landscape. We ran into some boy scouts we had seen earlier in the day and they look pretty beat. Although the younger ones still seemed to be going pretty good including one that said "good afternoon".

The worst thing about this climb to Shreve is that you go down hill a bit and then up these stair like rock steps. I remembered that part of this climb was a doozie from my backpacking trip but I didn't exactly remember this trail change. From there it was fine but it just seemed particularly cruel to take you down first; always HATE when that happens. Once to the saddle we rested for a bit before continuing our journey. It was pretty from up here. And now, it's supposed to be mostly downhill. Once again you end up walking in a drainage off and on for most of the trek to Gordon's place. Here, the girls took advantage of the camp restroom before we headed on. There was a thru-hiker resting at this intersection as well.

And now we only had 2 1/3rd miles to go. It was a pretty nice hike for the most part as you can see a lot of the trail in front of you. There were, surprisingly, a couple little dicey rocky/slippery sections which would maybe not seem that way if it weren't toward the tail end of our hike. You make your way up again so you can see more of your surroundings. And then just like the typical AZT we've grown to love, it does that, "yes, you do have to go way over there to get over here"? in the last mile. Sheesh. But we finally made it to the Molino Campground safe and sound and a little worse for wear.

We rested for a moment and then drove to town and had dinner at Taco Giro (we've eaten here before, the food is good but they can't make a flavored margarita; I think they forget the tequila or don't use a very tasty brand) before heading back to Sycamore Recreation area to retrieve Tonto Jr. But no. folks, our day is not over. Summit Hut was having an Arizona Trail Day with specials (including food and beverage) so we had to stop there where we ran into Wendy and Matt.

Oh, I had new boots and new toe sock liners and socks that I tried out. So far so good. The toe sock liners felt a little funny at first but otherwise, seemed fine.

Part 1 E Fork to Sabino lunch spot [ youtube video ]
Part 2 Sabino Canyon to Shreve Saddle [ youtube video ]
Part 3 Shreve Saddle to Gordon's Place to Molino [ youtube video ]
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For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
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