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Oracle Ridge - AZT #12
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mini location map2019-04-14
63 by photographer avatartibber
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Oracle Ridge - AZT #12Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 14 2019
tibber
Hiking12.53 Miles 1,824 AEG
Hiking12.53 Miles   8 Hrs   35 Mns   1.77 mph
1,824 ft AEG   1 Hour   30 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After a good breakfast at Palisades cabin, our chauffeur took us to our drop spot at the Control Road. It was very nice temperature-wise altho we did start with a little extra jacket for the first mile or so before shedding. Of course, there was a little up for us to do right off the bat which was not in our mindset regarding this downhill hike. That "up" stuff would occur again after Dan Saddle.

The view to your left, west, is of the Reef of Rock and Samaniego Ridge which is pretty cool. I would stop way too often to get another shot of it as we headed along Oracle Ridge. You are going thru an old burn section from 2003 and notice it thruout this top part of the hike. The trail seemed to be in good shape for most of this part of the hike altho there were a couple steeper sections that required you to hold on with your toes.

A little less than two miles into the hike, Tracy had a rock come up and grab her and she fell :o . Once we got to a flatter section, we decided we needed to pull over and assess the damage. Well the bottom part of her leg was not happy with her at all and had swelled up pretty good. So we decided she should sit with her leg up on this conveniently placed flat rock (that never happens) and I pulled my iced-water platypus from my pack for her to put on her leg to hopefully decrease the swelling which it did. Plus she took some ibuprofen and Ambika had an ace bandage that we would use to wrap the leg. Fortunately, the cut on her knee was minimal and stopped bleeding fairly quickly.

In about 20 minutes we were on the trail as we still had 10 miles to go. Tracy somehow managed to hike like she wasn't hurting so that was good. We arrived at Dan Saddle which is also an intersection; I thot for just a road but it actually goes to Catalina Camp which I knew nothing about until I zoomed in a few miles later and exclaimed, "what's that building over there?". Meanwhile it was time to tackle the "UP" part of this hike. I think I had forgotten about this when I was putting together the Route Scout info. We had planned this trip over a month ago but the weather was not cooperating. Now, I was recalling, oh ya, there's a larger UP for this. Even though it was only 500 feet in about 3/4 of a mile, it seemed like a lot for a downhill hike :lol: .

Well at least the views were pretty awesome to the west as we were skirting the mountain on our right. The grade wasn't bad and it even snuck in a couple little switchbacks. Finally we leveled out and could start breathing normally again. As you continue on the Ridge I could zoom over to the east with some great shots of the Galiuros and Pinalenos, even though it was hazy. In fact, today I would do a lot of zooming and even with the haze, some of the shots turned out pretty good, thus so many photos :stop: . There was some interesting trail work in a few sections here too. Just before Rice Peak you see a long road before you that ends with it going straight up a hill which we commented on. Shawn says, "Don't worry, we will be hanging a left before the steep part." Whew! Along the way Shawn pondered additional AZT gates and it looks like there is an old trail that is no longer used to connect to the part we just came from along the road.

So now it was time to get around Rice Peak. Seemed tame enough at first but then it really went downhill. Those of you who have hiked this know exactly what I mean. Ya, it's on the road but holy cow that sucker is steep. In fact, in one section it becomes a negative edge road. We did encounter some ATVers here and they, of course, went up it like it was nothing. We continued to hold on for dear life because if you let go, you better be a fast runner.

And speaking of runners, as we're still going down a runner/hiker flies by us like we're standing still which we kind of were, well really we were just in slo motion. We were stunned. And then as we were getting closer to level ground we encountered a group of four ATVers before we finally found the flat. Shortly after that we pulled over for lunch. The runner's hiking mate stopped by and asked us if we had seen him and that's where we found out they were section hikers (very young). Their friend had let them off at top and was picking them up in Oracle. He was from Prescott.

Next peak to skirt around would be Apache Peak. The worst it had to offer was a scree field. Before arriving, however, Shawn scouted the possibility of avoiding one of the two gates you go thru at the saddle before going to the west of the Peak but that turned out to be a no go because of the fencing. And speaking of fencing, it was in really great shape. I may not get this right but Shawn said something about the boundary fencing is somewhat responsible for this trail as it is needed to maintain the fence. We stopped at another saddle for our last break of the day. It was in a grassy area where Shawn and Tracy poked around with their hiking poles to make sure no snakes were hiding here.

I think we had about 3 miles left. We started going down now thru a grassy and bushy area and then on a road for a short bit as we passed by a stock trough. It isn't on the topo nor Guthook so Shawn took a moment to add it to Guthook. And then there was this killer straight up hill just for good measure. Thankfully it was short but you did have to dig in : rambo : . Soon we would reach the intersection with the Cody Trail.

We started hiking east now on a beautiful section of the AZT with additional flora and boulders and the sun at our back for the most part. You wind a bit here and there before you finally get a view of the ranch above High Jinks. And of course the views across the San Pedro Valley were pretty cool too so I would continue to use my zoom. This would be my last trip with the ZS60 as it's being retired to back up status now. I finally spotted Shawn's truck so the end was near.

We had a great dinner at Nonna Maria's Ristorante in Oracle. All of us had pasta dishes. You get great food, a lot of it, and the price is pretty reasonable... a lot better than the nite before dinner at the Sawmill Run up in Summerhaven. So another completed Passage is in the books. And a few hours later, we were home safe and sound. It was nice to be able to all drive home in the same vehicle which we rarely get to do. Thx to Guru for the shuttle; it made this journey so much easier.

Videos:
Control Road to Dan Saddle [ youtube video ]
Dan Saddle to around Rice Peak [ youtube video ]
Rice Peak to around Apache Peak [ youtube video ]
Apache Peak to Cody Trail [ youtube video ]
Cody Trail to High Jinks [ 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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