Enjoyed the trail - love the short little section of ridge over to the end of trail sign! Couldn't see any water in the canyon from the trail... On the way back I made time to hike the obvious spur up to Point 4780 - pretty spot.
The Soldier and Babad Do'ag trails were just trails I passed on the many times I went up to Mount Lemmon to more interesting places. I finally decided check out these trails but they weren't long enough on their own so I combined a few. Soldier Trail with a short Spur trail to Bug Springs Trail and then the babad Do'ag Trail from the Soldier Trail via a little cross country route. I started really early in the morning since this was August and no place to be in the summer. The Soldier Trail starts out really really steep for about 1.3 miles then levels out for a bit before a more normal short climb. After 2.6 miles the trail ends at Gordon Hirabayashi Camp. Interesting place with history, the reason Soldier trail is here, Sycamore Reservoir and Dam, along with a lot of other structures in the area. From here I took a short spur trail to Bug Spring Trail Head at the Catalina Highway. I will head back the way I came except, I will take a route to Babad Do'ag Trail from Soldier trail across a saddle to the east of the trail (About .4 miles from Gordon Hirabayasi Camp). The Trail end for Babad Do'ag consists of a sign that says "End of Trail" nothing else here kind of a non descriptive place. There is a view toward Tucson but I wouldn't hike the 3.5 miles just for the view, there must be more here I just wasn't seeing it. On the route back there are some views down into Molino Canyon along the Catalina Highway and also what would be a water fall if there was water, called Babad Do'ag Falls. While I thought this last part of the hike was a little mundane I have to remember what I go hiking for, to see new places and enjoy the outdoors. I Did see views of Molino Canyon I have never seen before and now as I zip by these two trails along the Catalina Highway I won't have to say "I wonder what' up there".
You'd never know that such a pretty little drainage is right under your nose when driving up the Catalina Highway! Wendy and I were in the mood for a half-day canyon scramble and this was just perfect.
The drainage immediately gets interesting once you cross the guardrail, with large slabs of gneiss and boulders. It's a giant scrambling playground and we stayed in the drainage the whole time. There was one dry fall in particular that was pretty cool with a large chockstone slab to crawl under. Every turn of the canyon revealed something new.
We were looking for the swimming holes and found several large areas that had been dammed up, but they looked like they had been silted in. Still might be worth it to come back and check if the drainage was flowing for summertime floatie fun.
There was a large multi-tiered waterfall with a trickle and the drainage opened up again. We saw the most monstrous cholla on the planet. This thing was massive. The drainage had a couple of junipers, which made me
Eventually the drainage opened up into a basin and we took a break. Wendy had a special birthday surprise for me- hot cocoa and Choco Cakes! It was a perfect treat. We chose a ridgeline and bushwhacked up to the trail for our hike out. An amazing waterfall came into view at the top of the basin. Unfortunately, it was just a trickle. The views of the snowy Rincons were spectacular as we reached the ridgeline.
We hiked over to the strangely-placed "end of trail" sign and back down the trail. As we were descending, the first poppy of the year was spotted! And then we realized that the whole hillside was covered with them, but they had closed for the night. There was much dancing around and rejoicing- what is it about little colored plants that makes us so giddy?
I enjoyed the views from the trail, neither of us had been on it before. Doing the loop was a great way to tick another one off the ever-dwindling Catalinas list.
A quick outing with my good friend Sirena on a Friday afternoon. We parked at the Babad Do'ag vista, crossed the highway and traced back to the drainage just down the road. This is a peach of a drainage, with lots of huge boulders and beautiful rock walls. We scrambled up at what felt like a glacial pace having so much fun that it didn't matter one bit. As this was Sirena's delayed birthday hike with me, I had brought a special treat: hot coco to enjoy with some cookies trailside. The description by Imike is right on target...
The large waterfall at the top of the hike is a beauty - but I can't even imagine the kind of water that would be necessary to get it really going. From the small pools we saw in the canyon below, I think that ascending this way would be quite difficult with that kind of flow. The trail, however, is also quite lovely and ends just past the waterfall.
I think if you were going to keep traveling off-trail up and loop down with Soldier (as we were contemplating for another trip), it might be easiest to pull out of Babad Do'ag before the basin and head over the pass before the big waterfall to avoid having to climb the last bit on the trail.
I brought my camera, but alas the memory card was still in my computer at home. Sigh.
Wildflowers ObservationIsolated Saw the first poppies on the hillsides next to the trail
----------------------------------- Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.