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Fire Loop Trail - Mica - 6 members in 23 triplogs have rated this an average 4.2 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Sep 15 2018
RedwallNHops
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 7
 Photos 237
 Triplogs 949

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Manning Camp and Helen's dome, AZ 
Manning Camp and Helen's dome, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Sep 15 2018
RedwallNHops
Backpack30.30 Miles 6,844 AEG
Backpack30.30 Miles
6,844 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I wanted to backback up to Manning camp from Douglas spring over a weekend for training purposes. While I was up there I wanted to climb Helen's dome, which has been on my list forever, ever since my first time up to Manning camp.

Sat: 4 am start at Douglas Springs. Got to Manning around noonish with a well deserved nap. around 3:30 we did a 3.5 mile loop hike to check out man head and reef rock.

Sunday: started down till we reached Helen's dome. Luckily there was a bit of beta on climbaz - we were to look for a ledge 100 feet below the saddle between the central Helen's dome rock and the East Summit. Becuase of brush, we ended up at the saddle then worked our way down till we found the ledge. I checked it out and sure enough there was a tunnel all the way thru to the other side. It was a bit tricky to get up to the tunnel, but not too bad. After the tunnel, there was a fin reaching up to the summit block with a nice window. You had to do a couple slab moves to get up the fin - this is where I left my partners and continued on solo. Where the fin meets the summit block there were rocks piled up to help make the move onto the summit block. It was a committing 5th class move....I thought about it for several minutes, becuase I didn't have spotters...mostly thinking about the way down. It's a long way down to the piled rocks...and a gap between the fin and the summit block. Finally I made the step - not too bad. I then scrambled my way to the summit...what a view. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a summit register. I was really curious to see when the last party to summit was. I made my way back to the crux. I got to the step and felt around for one of the footholds out of sight. I couldn't find it - and my friend was just below the fin watching. I yelled down that I could definitely use a spot and could help her down the fin if she came up(my two friends stopped at the fin because they were worried about getting down). She came up and helped me find the foothold. Definitely a sporty climb. I see why SAHC stopped doing it years ago.

After the summit we made our way back to the Douglas spring TH. It was pretty darn hot.
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May 12 2017
gunungapi
avatar

 Photos 67
 Triplogs 9

48 male
 Joined Mar 17 2014
 Tucson, AZ
Turkey Creek Trail #34Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Backpack avatar May 12 2017
gunungapi
Backpack22.50 Miles 2,839 AEG
Backpack22.50 Miles
2,839 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
My friend Sam and I, along with three of my kids and one of his, hiked the Turkey Creek trail to Manning Camp for a two-night backpacking trip. We had made a similar trip six years ago to Spud Rock Camp, when the kids were much younger, and we’ve been itching to get back to the Rincons since then.

The jeep trail to the trailhead is a little rough in spots. There’s one steep uphill that we attempted and failed in four wheel high, so we had to back up and use low range.

The weather was pleasant. Still, the several miles of trail from the wilderness boundary to the where the ponderosas and firs start in earnest felt pretty hot. This section of trail is exposed, steep, and rocky. Once in the trees, however, the hiking is a very enjoyable. It took us over six hours to reach Manning Camp, including some fairly generous rests.

We were the only people in Manning Camp the first night. What a great place to camp. The pit toilets are even somewhat pleasant. The only fly in the ointment was the Mexican whippoorwills that sang quite loudly for what seemed like most of the night.

The second day we hiked a circuit of trails around the top of the range, visiting Helen’s Dome, Spud Rock, Mica Mountain, Reef Rock, and Man’s Head. This was the highlight of the trip for me. The views from Spud Rock and Reef Rock were especially noteworthy. We lay for awhile on Spud Rock, sucking the warmth from the rock while a cold wind rushed over us, pulling our body heat away.

My boys were able to climb to the top of Man’s Head, but I was not. I made it up the lower half, where inching on our bellies along a shallow ledge was the worst required, but the upper half required skinnying through a really narrow crack, right through the middle of the “head”. I got part of the way through but turned around when I found myself stuck horizontally and several feet off the ground, able to move only when I exhaled all the air from my lungs. If you want to know how skinny you have to be to make it through this crack – I’m six feet tall and 150 lbs, and I was too thick.

The second night we were joined at Manning Camp by a group of three backpackers. I was kind of disappointed to have company – by this time in the trip, I was thinking that we might end up with the mountain to ourselves from start to finish.

Hiking back down on the third day we took the slightly longer route that goes past the Devil’s Bathtub, and I’m glad we did. Beelzebub’s Tub is definitely worth the couple of extra miles. If we had had more time it would have been fun to climb down the cliff to the pools below.

Sam’s daughter had serious shoe/blister problems within a few miles of the trailhead, so she hiked the remainder of the trip barefoot. One tough cookie!
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1 archive
Dec 24 2016
Swan
avatar

 Triplogs 2

43 male
 Joined Dec 18 2016
 Tucson, Arizona
Miller Creek Trail #28Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Run/Jog avatar Dec 24 2016
Swan
Run/Jog23.00 Miles 6,394 AEG
Run/Jog23.00 Miles   5 Hrs   48 Mns   3.97 mph
6,394 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Headed over to Happy Valley on Christmas Eve to get up in the high country ahead of the big weather system that was predicted to dump a bunch of snow. No cars at Miller Creek, perfect clear cold weather. Miller Creek trail in good condition, a little confusing in a spot or two as it crosses some drainages. Headed up Heartbreak Ridge, my first time on that trail - wasn't sure what to expect as I figured it didn't get much traffic. Trail in excellent condition, surprised to see tons of steps build on a trail so far in the backcountry - a total contrast to the brushy thrash-fests on all the trails on the "back side" of the Santa Catalinas (like Samaniego Ridge or CDO). I guess the National Parks have a much larger budget for trail maintenance... Lots of water along the way to Devil's Bathtub, which I had never visited, which was also flowing strong. Headed up to Manning Cabin, nobody there either except for a few deer, think I had the whole mountain to myself. (Plenty of water at Manning, as always...)

Ran up to Spud Rock, and the weather started changing fast, was suddenly in a windy cloud with the temps dropping fast and smoky wisps of fog blowing through the forest. Put on some layers (tights, windshirt, buff), ran up to the summit and didn't even stop, and bailed down the Bonita trail, and by the time I hit Heartbreak, I was beneath the cloud ceiling that was enveloping Micah and back in the sun, but the temp kept dropping. Crazy wind along the ridge, literally pushed me off the trail a few times, lots of birds flitting around, couldn't figure out how they don't get blown off the mountain. Made time to run up to the Lookout on the way out, another first - incredible views of Rincon and San Pedro Valley, worth the side trip.

Tried to keep a strong pace coming down Miller, but that is one steep, boulder-filled descent. Returned to the truck in a total time a bit under six hours for 23mi and 6400aev, and cracked a beer just as the sky went black and that huge weather system hit, exciting drive back to Tucson rocking down the freeway in the old 4x4 truck with high winds, sideways precip, and wrecks here and there...
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2 archives
Sep 18 2016
tibber
avatar

 Guides 21
 Routes 576
 Photos 25,752
 Triplogs 846

64 female
 Joined Feb 26 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Your shoe's untied - Rincon's North Slope Loop, AZ 
Your shoe's untied - Rincon's North Slope Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 18 2016
tibber
Hiking8.32 Miles 1,580 AEG
Hiking8.32 Miles   7 Hrs   11 Mns   1.76 mph
1,580 ft AEG   2 Hrs   27 Mns Break
 
1st trip
It says "would I do this hike again?". Not the North Slope for sure unless there is some trail maintenance. You do get some sweeping views, nice flora from time to time and it does make a loop but not much else to say altho you know I'll end up with several paragraphs.

After a nice nite, other than all of us getting cold feet in our sleeping bags for some reason, we had a leisurely breakfast before heading off for our various hikes of the day atop this mountain. Wendy wanted to go say hello to Helen so we headed northwest out of camp. Once again, there are sweeping views as you get to the edges, and there are lots of edges up here. We stopped for a selfie with Wrightson in the far background since we both were up there together in 2010. From this same point we could hear and then see Karl on Helen walking around so we got a couple pictures before heading on our way.

We continued on a nice trail across to the other side of the mountain where we met up with K&K as they were coming down from Helen. They headed off to Spud and we continued toward Italian Spring via the so-called North Slope Trail except that Wendy decided she was hungry. We stopped so she could fuel up and then she decided she wanted to go up and close with Helen. I waited below as I was still a bit sore from the previous day's climb, I mean hike. I could hear K&K up on Spud Rock and soon Wendy came back and off we went.

Well as soon as we rounded the corner to the other edge of the mountain, the trail blazing began. I think both of us thot it would be short-lived so we pushed thru ferns and over downfall and searched out the missing trail. But this went on for nearly two miles. We were going thru a burn section (I think from 1994). It was quite obvious there hadn't been any trail maintenance for a very long time. By the time we were wanting this to be over, it was really too late to turn back. My hopes were that after Italian Spring that the trail conditions would improve. So we pushed thru trees and brush and over and around deadfall that was on a narrow path of this slope. We were constantly having to tie our shoes :bdh: on top of trying to find cairns and metal blaze markers. Many times we found the markers but they were in the deadfall that we would have to negotiate. Oh, and one time we saw a big pile of bear scat and went "oh ya, bears"... kind of forgot about that.

We did stop to take in the views as you could see quite far today. As we paused for lunch not too far from Italian Spring in amongst some boulders, I pondered that we were the only ones up here; what would happen if something happened to us? No one would have a clue where to find us. Well that soon passed and we headed on down to Italian Spring. The trail from here on out was not too bad altho there were still moments when we lost the trail. Glad we stopped where we did too because there was nowhere to really sit around the spring area as it was surrounded by ferns and bees. At the spring there are two different trails to take too.

We continued up the hill thru the turning ferns with the light coming thru the forest for the trees. I'm still not fond of this "UP" process again but it wasn't too bad. Toward the end of the climb I was doing my tired dog imitation and hiking from shade to shade :lol: . Now our original goal for the hike was to do this little loop and then head back to camp where we would go to the Devil's Bathtub. Well that plan went out the window so Wendy suggested we hike to Reef Rock, a place she hadn't seen up here. We used the Fire Loop Trail once we topped out.

Now this plan worked out very well and we had a nice hike on this east side of the mountain. We came to where you could start seeing far yonder and came upon a flat rock area with a big boulder. I thot this was Reef Rock but it wasn't. So I just call it the Eastern Overlook. We had incredible views here including of Rincon Mountain. We checked out the area and then continued on our way to Reef Rock at 8300 feet. The views were equally awesome from here and you could see the trail we came in on way below between the Park Boundary and the TH saddle.

From here we headed UP again but I knew there wasn't much elevation to be gained on this mountain so we eventually ended up on a nice forest floor and headed toward Mica Meadow. We hung a right and headed up to the meadow but then realized we didn't want to go that way. The signs are a little confusing up here so you have to decipher them. For instance, :-k the question became: are we on the trail to Mica Meadow or is this the Mica Meadow Trail? The trail we eventually took is somewhat marked on the topo but not a named trail. So we took that and when it didn't quite match up we got a little worried but once it hung a left, it joined up with the Mica Mountain Trail... at least I think it did. We're not sure if that's a re-route or what.

But from here it was pretty much clear sailing back to camp. We followed a creek, altho those are not named on the topos, and thru some more fern-covered forest floors back to Manning Camp. It wasn't quite what Wendy had in mind for the day and I certainly didn't want to put those kind of miles on but it was quite an adventure and we covered a lot of the top of this mountain. We did encounter water everywhere too.

This mountain top has so much to offer as to its terrain with meadows and rock mountains and overlooks and creeks and all sorts of stuff; definitely worth a two-nite stay. However, please heed our warning, the North Slope Trail is really not and according to Karl, neither is part of the East Slope. It's too bad but if there's not enough traffic to justify the maintenance, I guess it's understandable.

K&K showed up about 1/2 hour later I think. I had quite a few scratches at that and some bruises from the day. K&K covered a lot of the mountain as well. We made ourselves some dinner, Karl kept a nice fire burning or we would have retired much earlier.


2-14-17 Part 1 to Helen's Dome and starting on the North Slope Trail [ youtube video ]
Part 2 North Slope Route not too far from Italian Spring [ youtube video ]
Part 3 Italian Spring via Fire Loop [ youtube video ]
Part 4 Reef Rock to Manning Camp via Mica Meadow [ youtube video ]
Culture
Culture
Throwing a Wendy
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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.
4 archives
Sep 18 2016
writelots
avatar

 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Your shoe's untied - Rincon's North Slope Loop, AZ 
Your shoe's untied - Rincon's North Slope Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 18 2016
writelots
Hiking8.32 Miles 1,580 AEG
Hiking8.32 Miles   7 Hrs   11 Mns   1.76 mph
1,580 ft AEG   2 Hrs   27 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners partners
tibber
Argh! What was going to be an easy day turned into a hard workout. But, it was truly amazing to see how resilient the mountain is.
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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
Sep 17 2016
BiFrost
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 Guides 4
 Routes 338
 Photos 6,903
 Triplogs 803

49 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Rincon Manning Camp Turkey Creek, AZ 
Rincon Manning Camp Turkey Creek, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Sep 17 2016
BiFrost
Backpack28.91 Miles 7,443 AEG
Backpack28.91 Miles3 Days         
7,443 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Long weekend 3 day backpack in the Rincon Mountains exploring the top of the range. Angela invited us on this trip with Wendy and so we headed out early Saturday morning for Turkey Creek TH. The actual trailhead is near the campground but the road continues on 4wd track another 1.5 miles to where the road stops. We parked there and started about an hour behind Angela and Wendy as we headed up Turkey Creek Trail #34. First 2 miles is along a ridgeline until we hit the Saguaro National Park boundary and shortly after that a register. At this point the trail is pretty much all up gaining about 1100 feet in the next 1.2 miles to Mud Hole Spring. The spring had water but very little to get a filter going. As we took a break we heard voices which would later turn out to be Angela and Wendy and we caught up 3/4 mile above Mud Hole Spring. Above the spring the trees get much thicker with Ponderosa and Oak providing ample shade up to Deerhead Spring. After Deerhead we went by Spud Rock Campground and checked out the spring which had good pool before continuing on to Manning Camp. Once at Manning we were surprised to find no one in the entire camp site and didn't see anyone for the 3 days on the mountain.

Next day we had the whole day to explore the top area....Kathy and I headed out towards Helen's Dome and made it up to the part where rock climbing gear is required. Then we continued on to Spud Rock and took a break enjoying the views....probably the best views of the Catalinas! Next up we hit Mica Mountain which of course is bit of let down from the great views on Spud but it's still the high point. Then we headed down to Mica Meadow Trail which is really nice stroll through the Ponderosa pines and ferns. The trail eventually reaches Reef Rock area so we arrived on the Reef and had lunch with another great view.

From Reef Rock we continued on to Manhead which is right along the trail but requires climbing gear to make the top. Then went over to Duckbill which was a rock scramble to make the top but nice views. And finally the highlight of the day we hiked down to Devils Bathtub to relax the afternoon away. Really nice spot to hang out and next time I think we will wander down canyon further. After hour and half at Devils Bathtub we headed back to Manning Camp for another night around the fire! Interesting note was the amount of water we encountered all weekend. Once on top it seemed like even the smallest drainages had some water in them from all the summer rain. Definitely the most water I've ever seen in the Rincons :)

Next morning we took our time hiking back out Turkey Creek Trail to the vehicles. Very nice weekend...thanks for the invite Angela!
Culture
Culture
Benchmark

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Deer Head Spring Dripping Dripping
just enough water to filter

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Devils Bathtub Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
good flow in the bathtub pool and plenty of water for filtering or any filter system

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Manning Camp Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
really strong flow in the creek with large pools for filtering

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Mud Hole Spring - Mica Dripping Dripping
small amount near the source...maybe just enough to filter

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Spud Rock Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
nice large pool at the spring source...plenty of water to pump or dip sawyer bag
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3 archives
May 21 2016
AZHiker456
avatar

 Guides 28
 Routes 197
 Photos 7,418
 Triplogs 184

38 female
 Joined Nov 07 2015
 
Mica Mountain Marathon Loop, AZ 
Mica Mountain Marathon Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 21 2016
AZHiker456
Hiking27.45 Miles 6,929 AEG
Hiking27.45 Miles   11 Hrs   34 Mns   2.83 mph
6,929 ft AEG   1 Hour   52 Mns Break
 
1st trip
I put the MF’ing smack down in the Rincons, knocking off Mica Mountain, [which had been on the bucket-list for 3+ yrs], and then some, [Spud Rock, Helens Dome, Manning Camp, Duckbill, Man Head, Mica Meadow, & Reef Rock]. 8) In the process, I logged 27.45 miles for the day, destroying my previous PR of 20.05.

The previous weekend ended with my surprisingly strong 15+ miler [during which I bagged 12 peaks], followed by four days of high volume mileage relative to what I’m accustomed to. By Thursday evening, I’d logged 50 miles for the first five days of the week and felt very strong which was pretty awesome given that I hadn’t cracked 30 miles/week since the end of March during my Chiricahua peak bagging trip. Given how good I felt, I decided that the 20-21 miles from the Italian Springs TH [or rather from the parking area at Reddington & FR 37], to Mica Mtn & Spud Rock was a very reasonable target. The timing could not have been better; my flight landed at around 5:15 PM Friday evening in Tucson, and I proceeded to head straight from the airport to the mountains.

Once on Reddington Rd, I couldn’t help but notice the road signs emphasizing NO shooting / camping between mile markers 5 & 7… and how the sign for mile marker 8 was shot beyond recognition. There is a small parking area right by the start of FR 37. From what I’ve read, along with recent reports from those who’ve driven FR 37 this year, I was not even planning to attempt it in my Forester; in fact, it would’ve taken lots of skill and luck just to make the turn from Redinton Rd onto FR 37 without slamming bottom [luckily the was a second turn into the parking area just a few feet further up the road that any HCV could easily manage].

After an incredibly peacefully night of car camping, I kicked things off at 6 AM, heading down FR 37 on foot, toward the Italian Springs TH. Midway there, I noticed a faint, unmarked jeep road to my left. If the faint jeep road continued in the direction it was headed, then it would be a shorter, more direct way to the TH. I looked on the topo and decided to chance it. I figured the jeep road would take me at least as far as the Italian Trap Tank; and if I had to bushwhack after that, at least it was only a short distance. Sure enough, the jeep road led to the tank but did not continue in the direction I needed to go… and luckily it was only a short bushwhack because to say conditions were less than ideal would be an understatement! The brush wasn’t terrible and maneuverability was decent; visibility, on the other hand, left much to be desired. There were times when the grass was up to my knees! Luckily, I made it to the TH without drama and continued on my way.

The journey to Mica Mountain via the Italian Springs TH is an incredibly beautiful one. I actually enjoyed being on a trail for once, and as someone who rarely does repeats, I would totally repeat this one; enough said! The reports of Mica Mountain are spot on in that there are no views from the highpoint due to being almost completely obstructed by trees. However, the nearby Spud Rock and Reef Rock have some exceptional views. After Mica Mountain, I did a counterclockwise loop; and, in the process, hit up the following:

Spud Rock – The highpoint is literally a hop, skip, and a jump from the main trail, offering exceptional views! There were some bees up there, so I didn’t hang around for too long. Luckily they were not interested in me.

Helens Dome – If only I had a route for this, then I would not have fallen for the false summit! A very last minute decision, I headed off-trail to bag Helens Dome, which was way-pointed but not routed on the track I was following. Upon reaching what looked to be the highpoint, it was obvious that the waypoints were slightly off and that I had simply reached a false summit. It was tempting to descend the boulder crag I’d ‘summitted’ and try to find a way up to the highpoint, but after my Chiricahua trip in March, I got a sense of just how exhausting [and time-consuming] attempting to reach such craggy summits could be. And, given that I opted for a lollipop loop instead of an out-and-back from the TH to Mica Mtn/Spud Rock [which would be around 27 miles RT], I decided to press onward to the next point of interest [Manning Camp]. NOTE: According to a very reliable source, the highpoint of Helens Dome is reachable w/o rope/gear. I will have to knock that one when I go for TV Peak.

Manning Camp – After missing a turn, I found myself approaching in a more direct fashion and decided to continue heading ‘as-the-crow-flies’. From where I accidentally ended up off-trail, it was a short, fun bushwhack with excellent visibility and maneuverability. Just after arriving at Manning Camp, I bumped into a group of four hikers from SAHC. Leading them was a super experienced / hardcore woman who I’ve hiked with before… for almost every summit register I’ve signed to date in Southern AZ, her name is in there at least 3-4x.. and sometimes upwards of 8-10x. I was honored that she remembered me; she is really a living hiking legend in Southern AZ! We chatted a bit and then she and the other SAHC hikers went on their way, while I spent some time checking out Manning Camp, which was a lot more interesting in ‘real life’, relative to what I’d read about it. While not gushing, there was still some nice flow from the beautiful creek, along with mini-waterfalls and deep pools.

Duckbill – A rock formation [boulder pile] on the topo that I had to hit up since I was passing right by it. There are some well-beaten routes, and I had a blast scrambling up the boulders to the highpoint.

Man Head – Like Duckbill, this was another rock formation [boulder pile] on the topo that I had to hit up since I was passing right by. Unlike Duckbill, I did not make “summit” on this one; [although after removing my pack, I did manage to scramble part way up]. I’m not sure of the direction, but those familiar with area probably know exactly the spot I attempted to ascend: the face of the boulder formation that contains a narrow chute, mid-way up. Before even reaching the cute, there’s a bit of scrambling / maneuvering that’s required, including one section where the two options are: inching along on two feet on the ledge of a boulder while risking tons of exposure OR getting on your stomaching and slithering like a snake further in on the ledge under the boulder above, which forms like a “roof”. Those who make it this far then reach the narrow chute, [which is where I tapped out after several attempts]. I’m guessing some with more experience like Joe could make it without ropes/gear; but even then, it wasn’t entirely clear if it would in fact lead to the highpoint of Man Head.

Mica Meadow – The least interesting, but I was going right by and did not have to take a step off the trail to see it.

Reef Rock – The views were just spectacular; just as good if not better than Spud Rock! And, with NO bees, it was definitely much more enjoyable. This is not a summit but more or less of a rock outcropping right along the trail with awesome views. The “highpoint” involves getting on a small boulder and should be reachable by just about anyone, but climbing on the boulder is not necessary to enjoy the awesome views.

Once I got back to the Italian Springs TH, I took the beautiful Bellota Trail, [which had excellent footing and was part of the Arizona Trail], back to my vehicle at the junction of Redington Rd. & FR 37. It sure beat bushwhacking and/or the super rocky FR 37!
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Dec 06 2015
jrousoshammond
avatar

 Routes 25
 Triplogs 121

31 male
 Joined May 15 2015
 Tucson
Douglas Spring/Mica Mtn/Grass Shack, AZ 
Douglas Spring/Mica Mtn/Grass Shack, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Dec 06 2015
jrousoshammond
Backpack30.00 Miles
Backpack30.00 Miles1 Day   17 Hrs   20 Mns   
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Day 1: Finished work at 4, dropped of a car at Loma Alta, and got shuttled to Douglas Spring TH just before 6. We had to use headlamps almost the entire way, but it was a pretty smooth hike. Thanks to the camper at Site 1 who directed us to Site 2 and let us use his bear locker (even though there was a bear locker at Site 3 just about 40 feet away from us which we were too stupid to see in the dark). Since we got there so late, there was a lot of getting disoriented trying to find our way around, and hopefully our confused ranting didn't keep the other camper awake. I'm afraid we were quite close to being those campers...

Day 2: Went up to Cowhead Saddle, Spud Rock, and Mica Mountain, then down the Mica Mountain Trail to Manning Camp and down the Manning Camp Trail to Grass Shack for the night. A pretty big day, and the weather couldn't have been any better. Back in May I only lasted about 5 mins on Spud Rock before getting cold, but now in December it was warm with just the slightest breeze. The descent from Mica that afternoon as the sun was setting was about as good as it gets.

Day 3: Booked it down to Loma Alta in 4 hrs so that we could make it to work that afternoon. Remind me to never ascend this route in the summer. Gorgeous this time of year though.

Plenty of water at Grass Shack and Manning Camp, and pretty good flow at Douglas Spring. No beer at Grass Shack. :-({|=
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2 archives
Sep 01 2015
The_Dude
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 Guides 1
 Routes 114
 Photos 1,339
 Triplogs 336

41 male
 Joined Jun 10 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Rincon Mountains - AZT #9Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Backpack avatar Sep 01 2015
The_Dude
Backpack34.36 Miles 7,484 AEG
Backpack34.36 Miles2 Days         
7,484 ft AEG34 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
What a trip! I have been looking at this hike (or some variation) for some time now. I started from the Loma Alta TH about 3:30 after finishing up work, and about an hour later than I had wanted to start, but sometimes duty calls...Overloaded with more stuff than I need (as per usual) the grind up was pretty taxing, especially with the high humidity level. I was sweating buckets the whole way up! I had to navigate the last hour + by headlamp which made for really slow going, especially trying to find an overgrown trail and make my way across numerous wet creek crossings. There is flowing water everywhere in the Rincons right now, I have never seen so much water and green growth out here! All the washes are flowing, and there are waterfalls around every corner it seemed. The Quilter trail and the first 4 miles of the Mannig Camp trail are really overgrown, lots of annuals and grasses going to town with all of the moisture. Soaked my boots making the crossing to the Grass Shack campground, my destination for the night. I had enough energy to set up camp and filter some water, but I was too wiped to even worry about dinner. Slept really well in the tent, temps were in the mid to low 60's so very comfortable. Got up a bit before the sun on Wednesday for some breakfast, and then loaded up for the trip up the mountain. Made good time up to Manning Camp where I stopped for a break to look around, have a snack, and filter some water. Clouds were looming in and the thunder started up as I was approaching Mica Mountain, but I had come too far to not make my goal. Made it to the top and signed the register, saw a few familiar names in the book. From here I continued on the Fire Loop over to Spud Rock and made the scramble up. Fantastic views up above, simply breathtaking! Enjoyed a summit brew and had to skedaddle, there was a big dark cloud hanging over Mica and I knew better than to chance it. I went down the Fire loop to the Cow Head Saddle trail when the sprinkling started. This kept up for about 45 minutes, and then the real rain started. I had to take a break to stow my electronics in a dry bag and I got out my rain jacket, all the while trying to get further down the mountain and away from the potential lightning...Made the Cow Head Saddle and took the Douglas Spring trail on back to camp. It rained hard enough that my boots got soaked through in pretty quick fashion, this ended up rubbing a pretty nasty hole under my right ankle once I was back to camp to assess damages. I finally ate my lunch about 3:30, and dozed in the tent waiting for the bugs to go away with the dark. Woke up for a quick snack and to send off a SPOT signal to my wife so she didn't fret too much. Thursday I woke up about 5:30 to get in an early breakfast and get packed up for the trip out. I had my first human contact in two days when I ran into Andrew from the NPS trail crew about a mile or so onto the Quilter trail. I stopped to chat for a few and share some experiences, nice guy! From here I powered down to Rincon Creek (I am pretty sure) for a snack and to filter some more water. Finally made it back to the trusty Quest van about 11:30 to take off my boots and see that I had a big blister on my left foot and a few more rub marks form all of the wet boot hiking. I don't think my boots were ever dry on this trip, I might have retired this pair in style. Headed back into Tucson for some much needed lunch at one of my favorites, La Parilla Suiza. Promptly inhaled a chile relleno, enchilada, rice, beans, two bowls of chips, two cups of water, and two cups of iced tea. Refueled, I headed back to Phoenix for a nice shower at home and then some family time. Simply amazing trip, any time you can go through 6 different bio-zones on a hike you know you have done well. P.S., if anyone makes it up to the Grass Shack in the near future, there are a few extra Sunspot Gold ales in the bear box at site two, if the rangers do not get to it first...
Culture
Culture
Benchmark
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Huge amounts of color from about 3500' to 5000', spotty above there.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Grass Shack Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Huge, steady flow!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Manning Camp Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Flowing strong, best tasting water of the trip.
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1 archive
May 23 2015
jrousoshammond
avatar

 Routes 25
 Triplogs 121

31 male
 Joined May 15 2015
 Tucson
Rincon Mountains, AZ 
Rincon Mountains, AZ
 
Backpack avatar May 23 2015
jrousoshammond
Backpack
Backpack3 Days         
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Day 1: Parked at Turkey Creek TH (not at the actual TH, just where the road gets bad), walked to Miller Creek TH, hiked up to Happy Valley, dropped our heavy stuff, and headed up Rincon Peak.

Day 2: HBR trail up to Spud Rock Campground via the Deerhead Spring Trail, again dropped stuff off, then waddled up the rest of the way to see Mica Mtn, Spud Rock, Manning Camp, and all sorts of other goodies I hadn't seen before. Everything up there was amazing and well worth the schlep...

Day 3: Down Turkey Creek Trail. It was a much nicer trail than I was expecting, but it's not something I would want to do during typical May weather given how exposed it is.

No issues aside from a few scary looking clouds the second afternoon and lots of very excited (but non-threatening) bees on the Heartbreak Ridge Trail on the way up to Happy Valley Lookout. The Manzanitas were blossoming and there was a constantly disconcerting buzz the entire time... :scared: Otherwise it's a fantastic trail.
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2 archives
Apr 16 2015
markthurman53
avatar

 Guides 83
 Routes 488
 Photos 5,777
 Triplogs 405

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
AZT #9c Manning Camp to Park Boundary, AZ 
AZT #9c Manning Camp to Park Boundary, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 16 2015
markthurman53
Hiking11.30 Miles 3,109 AEG
Hiking11.30 Miles   6 Hrs   37 Mns   2.35 mph
3,109 ft AEG   1 Hour   49 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
This hike is the third day of a four day hike in the Rincon Mountains. Trails include; Mica Mountain Trail, Spud Rock Trail, North Slope Trail, Fire Loop Trail and Italian Spring Trail. It was rather sad to see Mica Mountain with out its lookout tower. back in the late 60's we use to be able to climb to the top of it. Italian Spring does not look like it use to because of the fire that devastated much of the north slope of this mountain. Because of this fire the North Slope Trail is almost non existent in places (but still can be followed with a GPS (Map if you're low tech). For the most part the trails are easy to follow and with the maze of trails up there you can just pick your loop. In the two days I was hiking up here I was able to do loop trails that included every trail with out repeating too many of them.
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2 archives
Apr 15 2015
markthurman53
avatar

 Guides 83
 Routes 488
 Photos 5,777
 Triplogs 405

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Mica Mountain Southeast Trails, AZ 
Mica Mountain Southeast Trails, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 15 2015
markthurman53
Hiking5.50 Miles 1,169 AEG
Hiking5.50 Miles   3 Hrs   12 Mns   2.39 mph
1,169 ft AEG      54 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
This is the second half of day 2 of a 4 day hike in the Rincon Mountains. The afternoon was spent hiking the Southeast trails on Mica Mountain. Some of the trails include; Mica Mountain Trail, Fire Loop Trail, Bonita Trail, Mica Meadow trail and reef Rock Trail. Mica Mountain has a maze of trails that criss-cross each other and cover most of the top of the Mountain. None of these trails are very long with the exception of the Fire Loop Trail which encircles all of them. This hike included only the South and East portion of the Fire Loop Trail. Great views were encountered on the Reef Rock Trail to the South of Rincon Peak. All these trails are easy walking and any of them would be a good way to spend the evening after dinner and before sack time.
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1 archive
Apr 11 2015
toddak
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 5
 Photos 1,071
 Triplogs 399

54 male
 Joined Nov 15 2005
 Puhoynix, AZ
Tanque Verde Ridge TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 11 2015
toddak
Hiking32.00 Miles 7,000 AEG
Hiking32.00 Miles   14 Hrs      2.29 mph
7,000 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Up TVR and Cowhead Saddle trails to the Rincon high point at Mica Mountain, an outstanding ridge hike with huge views and gradually changing flora, cactus-to-conifers. Then back down on AZT #9 to the Camino Loma Alta trailhead. Juniper Basin was dry, good water at Manning Camp and Grass Shack. Bike shuttle between start/end.
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1 archive
Mar 24 2015
Jim_H
avatar

 Guides 55
 Routes 46
 Photos 7,738
 Triplogs 1,629

40 male
 Joined Sep 08 2006
 Phoenix, AZ
Rincon Loop, AZ 
Rincon Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 24 2015
Jim_H
Hiking16.40 Miles 4,500 AEG
Hiking16.40 Miles   8 Hrs   10 Mns   2.14 mph
4,500 ft AEG      30 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Wanting to return to the Rincons since last fall, today was to be a great hike in the main body of the range, though without the Mica MT area. I was really pleased that my car got me to the four wheel drive trailhead, as I took it up the 2 track and started from there, instead of lower down. This gave me more time higher up, and I was able to visit Manning Camp, as a result. The 4WD road was less about clearance, than actual 4WD, and beefy tires would make a difference. However, a fictional AWD civic never would have made it.

The hike was better than expected and I was up in the pines in under 3 hours. I really just hiked through the Deer Head fire area and was less impressed with it than I hoped. This is no central Gila Wilderness. Most of the affects seem to be top killing brush and oaks, and needle cast consumption, but there was less grass than hoped for. I did hike up a ridge (not GPSed) and look at some old growth pines, still with some grass under them. I found the area around Manning Camp to be highly reminiscent of some of the low spots in the WOR, specifically around the nice camping spot with the massive pines. This is because it is almost all pine litter, little grass, and a dense stand of tall poles, with some larger orange barkers, but nothing characteristic of the way it would have been 120 years ago.

The Fire Loop is one of the nicer areas, and the granite domes are fun to look at, and climb on if you chose. In that regard, the Rincons have a Yosemite feel to them. Manning Camp itself is OK, but it just feels like a NPS camp area, nothing that special, save for the water and weather station. The Manning Camp trail south of the camp does have great canyons, falling water, and westward views to the Tucson Mountains. The Devil's Bathtub trail and area is really nice, and if flowing when warm might be a nice place to hangout, but I expect it is dry when warm. Heartbreak Ridge has great views, and as always looking east is fantastic.

With the current appearance of the east slopes, the species composition, and the fire affects, I would almost prefer it had not burned, since the oaks and other brush will coppice, some younger pines were killed, a lot of soil will and has eroded post fire, and it isn't going to return to pine, or mixed oaks over grass anytime soon. The grassy and pine covered areas do look better, and at least fuel loads are reduced. Still, the top of the mountain would benefit from something it will never get: mechanical thinning. The current composition of this area seems to have been influenced by (the Manning's?) grazing a lot more than Mica Mountain proper, but there appears to be slightly more soil here, too.

Overall, a great hike, my longest of the year, and with some serious AEG. It was nice down low, and cool, but tolerable while constantly switching between a sweater and t-shirt up higher. It was also breezy, but that created some lenticular clouds. I think it is still early in the higher terrain, as despite the above normal temps, it is still only late March, and there were fewer bird calls than expected. I did see some mountain quail, I think, or some other birds with flight sounds like a quail. Most of the life is still below 6,000'.
Meteorology
Meteorology
Lenticular Cloud
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated


water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Devils Bathtub Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Manning Camp Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Mud Hole Spring - Mica Quart per minute Quart per minute
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Society's constraints are stifling! The only way to hike is fully nude!
Jun 01 2013
Pivo
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 Guides 2
 Routes 331
 Photos 4,052
 Triplogs 3,147

63 male
 Joined Mar 01 2009
 Tucson, AZ
Manning Camp Death March, AZ 
Manning Camp Death March, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 01 2013
Pivo
Hiking24.18 Miles 6,607 AEG
Hiking24.18 Miles   13 Hrs   58 Mns   2.73 mph
6,607 ft AEG   5 Hrs   7 Mns Break30 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
0200 comes awfully,awfully early on a Saturday morning, however if you want a good chance of being successful in June for this hike, it's pretty much a necessity to get up at stooopid O'clock. After picking up Joel and Belinda, we met up with the 3 others at Le Buzz at 0400 (unfortunately Le Buzz were closed at this hour).
We drove up Redington Rd. to the Italian Springs Trail head. Redington Rd is greatly needing a grader to scrape the roadway, it felt like for F'in ever to get there. We started out at about 0530, and it was chilly; I was rethinking the wearing of shorts for the hike. That feeling quickly faded once we elevated out of the Upper Tanque Verde. Then the fun begins, a good portion of this segment to the higher elevations takes place in sun exposed burn areas. We all agreed later, that an earlier start compiled with lower humidity than last year's version, along with everyone being in better shape made a huge difference.
We made the Park Boundary in less than 2 hours; good time with the heat, AEG, and distance. Short break there, on to Italian Springs and then up to Mica Secondary for our first of two naps :D .

After a nice nap, and snacks some of the group did some free climbing. We then decided to head to Reef Rock, Man Head and then Devil's Bathtub before going to Manning Camp, for our second nap and water.
After napping, and filling up we started heading down at 1600; some of the group had never been to Mica Mountain before, so we took a small side trip to bag that peak. Arriving back to the vehicles at 1930, we then started the bumpy drive back to town. First stop was Risky Business on Tanque Verde Rd for dinner and the most important rehydration of the depleted hikers.
Flora
Flora
Claret Cup Cactus
Named place
Named place
Devils Bathtub
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Devils Bathtub Dripping Dripping
Small pool

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Italian Spring Dripping Dripping
Nice pool
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Jun 01 2013
RedwallNHops
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 7
 Photos 237
 Triplogs 949

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Manning Camp Death March, AZ 
Manning Camp Death March, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 01 2013
RedwallNHops
Hiking24.18 Miles 6,607 AEG
Hiking24.18 Miles   13 Hrs   58 Mns   2.73 mph
6,607 ft AEG   5 Hrs   7 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Fabulous day. Not enough nap time though.
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Wildflowers Observation Isolated
_____________________
Jun 01 2013
GrottoGirl
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 304
 Photos 10,998
 Triplogs 1,254

44 female
 Joined Sep 18 2009
 Tucson, AZ
Manning Camp Death March, AZ 
Manning Camp Death March, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 01 2013
GrottoGirl
Hiking24.18 Miles 6,607 AEG
Hiking24.18 Miles   13 Hrs   58 Mns   2.73 mph
6,607 ft AEG   5 Hrs   7 Mns Break25 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
We figured we survived last year's death march so we decided to do it again. Going a few weeks and a couple hours earlier was a great idea! We hit the Park Boundary by 8 AM. We were napping by 10 AM at Mica Secondary after a quick climb to the top.

We decided to check out the Devils Bathtub since we had a couple people who hadn't been on top before. We stopped at Reef Rock where I spurted blood (yep, Alt-Hike). Then we paused at Man Head to see the Phone Tree. We had to talk Joel out of free climbing it.

Then on to the Bathtub which was drier than I had ever seen it. After that we cruised to Manning Camp for nap number two. We filtered water from below the lake. It was also pretty low. Monsoons are needed! At 4:00 PM we started our trip down.

Saw a rattlesnake on the way to Mica. Deviated off to Mica to re-bag the high point of the range. Then headed down without stopping for more than a picture or two. The sunset was fab. I was so glad to be back to the cars before dark.

I had to catch a flight in the morning at 6 but we still stopped at Risky's to tank up!

Longest hike ever!
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Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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Sep 01 2012
Sarae
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 9
 Photos 681
 Triplogs 92

39 female
 Joined May 14 2008
 Tucson, AZ
Spud Rock Camp/Manning Camp Lollipop, AZ 
Spud Rock Camp/Manning Camp Lollipop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Sep 01 2012
Sarae
Backpack21.11 Miles 5,609 AEG
Backpack21.11 Miles3 Days         
5,609 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Had a fantastic time on our first Rincons trip!

Saturday -- Got to Turkey Creek Trailhead at 5:30. Parked the Matrix, which did okay on the dirt roads, and said hi to the campers who had set up their compound at the th. We geared up, making sure we had packed all of our water for the dry camp at Spud Rock, and headed out on the trail around 6 to start the uphill climb. The morning light was fabulous and we made good time to the forest service trailhead at 1.5 miles, and then to the National Park border at 3 miles, and then the trail register. Then the real climbing started. We took our time heading up the exposed slopes, and made it to Mud Hole, which is nicely shaded, around 9:30am. The spring was dribbling a bit and there is a small pool that is mostly clogged with water plants. After fueling up, we continued up the slopes, gradually getting into cooler temps and piney woods. We arrived at Spud Rock Camp at around 1:30 and took a moment to locate the campsites and find the perfect set of trees for setting up both of our hammocks under one tarp, then quickly set up camp. Of course, nap time was soon to follow, but I couldn't sleep, so I took a walk around the campsites and checked out the spring, which was dry. We had set up at campsite #1, and it turned out to be closest to the toilets. Sites 2 and 3 were a bit further down slope and tucked in amongst large boulders. If we hadn't been so tired, I would have moved camp to one of those. I got back to camp and we made dinner, played some cards, and fell asleep by 7:30pm.

Sunday -- Got up bright and early. We were skimping on water, so we skipped coffee and had our breakfast that used the least water, Texas scramble breakfast burritos, yum! We quickly packed up camp and started up the Switchback Trail around 7:30am, where I almost stepped on the first rattlesnake of our trip. He was easily bypassed, and we made our way along the trails, settling in to Manning Camp around 9am. The cabin was deserted, so we got to work filtering water, setting up camp and checking out the surroundings. Around noon, we decided to try to explore some of the trails around Mica Mountain, even though the clouds had been forming since we had arrived at camp. Well, we got about half a mile down the trail before being pelted by quite large amounts of hail and then the lightning started. So, we turned around and ran back to camp, so at least we got that exercise in :) We waited out the storm and then spent the rest of the day around camp and scrambling down the nearby stream. We found some great spots with pools and small waterfalls to enjoy. We found some boulders a bit south of camp that have a good view of Rincon Peak, so we decided to cook and eat dinner there, and it was perfect. We saw our only other person as the day ended. He had come up from Douglas Springs and was pretty wiped out, so there wasn't much socializing.

Monday -- Tried to get up early... we are so bad at that. Cooked up a big breakfast to super-fuel up, and managed to hit the trail around 7am. We were feeling pretty good, so kept up a good pace. We passed Devil's Bathtub and it was running enough to have a nice falls. We also passed through several park areas that made us wish we could stay. Soon we got to the intersection with the East Slope Trail and followed it down to Turkey Creek Trail. The East Slope Trail actually provided me with another rattlesnake stepping opportunity :o , this one was a much closer call and I"m afraid I upset the poor snake. So, we quickly went our separate ways. Whew! As we dropped elevation, the temps got warmer of course, and we started moving slower. We eventually passed through a burnt area that I believe might have been the Fox Fire that happened back in June. The end of our hike came at 12pm, topped off with a free beer from the campers.

What a fun trip! We definitely need to get back up there and check out some more of the trails. I'm thinking in the Spring, when the water sources are more likely to be reliable.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light

dry Deer Head Spring Dry Dry
soil was damp, but that's it

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Devils Bathtub Quart per minute Quart per minute
water was filling up the tub at the top and trickling down to fill the large pool at the bottom

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Manning Camp Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
There was a good flow and large pools in several locations along the stream

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Mud Hole Spring - Mica Dripping Dripping
dribbling a bit and there is a small pool that is mostly clogged with water plants

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In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. ~John Muir
Jun 23 2012
GrottoGirl
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 Guides 3
 Routes 304
 Photos 10,998
 Triplogs 1,254

44 female
 Joined Sep 18 2009
 Tucson, AZ
Italian Spring Trail to Spud RockTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 23 2012
GrottoGirl
Hiking20.50 Miles 4,860 AEG
Hiking20.50 Miles   14 Hrs   34 Mns   2.39 mph
4,860 ft AEG   5 Hrs   59 Mns Break25 LBS Pack
 
Partners partners
Pivo
RedwallNHops
On Thursday night Joel and I decided we wanted to hike up the Italian Springs trail early in the morning and go to Spud Rock and Manning Camp. Once up there we'd hang out and take naps until things cooled off and then we'd hike out in the evening. We convinced Mark to go with us on this adventure. We successfully accomplished our goals except we mixed it up a bit by going to Mica Secondary and Reef Rock instead of Spud Rock.

Late Friday night, Joel actually read the description for the Italian Springs to Spud Rock. We decided we should drive in to the actual trailhead instead of taking the connector offered by the Arizona Trail. I texted Mark to have him bring the Land Cruiser, but unfortunately he had gone to bed and didn't hear it. Once he showed up at our house, we decided to all go to his house and pile in the sturdy 4x4. It was a good decision as the Outback would never have made it on the road to the trailhead.

Just as the description says FS 37 is really for high clearance 4x4 vehicles with experience. Luckily, Mark had recently done Rug Road so he didn't have any troubles navigating the rocky road. He deposited us safely at the trailhead. Oh and by the way, the description has an error. You will be heading due east towards the end of the road, not west.

We started up the trail and at first the temperature was pretty good. About 3.5 miles in we stopped for a break. After that it was pretty hot and miserable, however, I was still excited as it was the first time for me to take the entire Italian Springs trail. There is nothing like a new-to-me trail! To the east was awesome rock formations that gave us something interesting to look at.

I had no issues with the climb, instead the heat made my heart race so I paused a lot on the way up. About 4.5 miles up there was some shade which provided some respite from the heat. At 5 miles we reached the entrance to Saguaro National Park. There was an old sign that still said Monument. We took a break just inside the Park while it was still shady. Shortly after entering the Park we reached an old burn area. For about 1.5 miles it was again hot. We took it slow since we didn't want to kill ourselves. I was very happy that I brought my Solar Dome, it provided me with shade when there wasn't any. Solar Domes should be a requirement for hiking in burn areas. Finally, we reached the end of the Italian Springs trail and the spring itself which appeared to just be a seep. Around the spring there were ferns as tall as me. They provided a nice splash of green.

We took a break near the spring under a wonderful canopy of trees. We were happy that we had made it and we knew the worse was behind us. We thought about lunch and the glorious time that would follow... Siesta time!

We took the segment of the North Slope trail that leads to the Fire loop. I was interested in seeing this part of the trail as I had once helped with a bit of trail maintenance that the SAHC had done while staying at Manning Camp over Labor Day several years ago. Overall the trail seemed in pretty good shape considering it doesn't get that much traffic.

We decided to change our plans and head to Mica Secondary since we knew we'd get great views. We stopped at a stand of trees right before Mica Secondary and had our lunch. Joel and I had brought Brooklyn Pizza that was leftover from the night before at Sky Bar. Once lunch was over we succumbed to the exhaustion we felt from hiking in the heat and took a very nice nap in the shade. After our nap we explored Mica Secondary and checked out the Fox fire below. Joel and I scrambled to the top of Mica Secondary and was rewarded with nice views of Rincon Peak and all around.

From there we headed on to Reef Rock. We checked out the view and then continued to Manning via the Mica Meadow trail. I hadn't been on the Mica Meadow trail before so it was nice to continue to do new trail. The ferns, again, were adding splashes of color all around.

At Manning Camp we met the new ranger who was posted there. He offered us water, so we didn't have to filter! We were very happy not to have to work on our siesta break! As we relaxed, I spotted a nest in the trees. It was a nest with 4 baby Plumbeous Vireo! We got to watch the parents swoop in with food to feed the hungry little ones.

On our way home, we decided to take yet another new-to-me trails, the North Slope trail, even though it would increase our trip by about a mile. We soon learned that this was the bear toilet. There was many piles of poo along the way. We enjoyed the views of Helen's Dome and the Catalina's as we walked along the North Slope. This trail is probably the least used on top near Manning Camp. At times the trail was a bit faint and obscured by ferns. It was a lovely trail all the same.

We stopped for dinner near some rocks right before Italian Spring. We scrambled up the rocks to check the weather and shade for our hike back to the car. We immediately saw what looked like rain in the distance! Exciting! We weren't concerned because we knew that rain would cool things off nicely.

On our way down it only sprinkled on us a few times - just enough to limit the number of photos I took. It was a great to hike while the sun was setting. We had a complete rainbow to the west and a magnificently colored sunset over Cathedral Peak to the west. The light on the rocks to the east was beautiful. It was perhaps the prettiest sunsets I've seen. The temperature was much nicer than our climb up.

After dark the tedious downhill hiking started to wear on us a bit. Our knees hurt from descending nearly 5000 ft. We were just starting to complain when I checked my GPS and saw that the car was only a tenth of a mile away! We made it! We completed our 20.5 mile trek!

Next, Mark still had to drive us home. Again his 4x4 skills came in handy and we made it out safely. We drove straight to a Mexican place to pick up food!

Joel and I stumbled into the house just a bit after 11 pm. We were elated that our plan had worked and happily exhausted. We were still exhausted when we woke up at 5 AM this morning to go on a birding outing this morning... Nuts!

I would definitely recommend doing long day hikes with siesta time... It was great to not be in a hurry and to relax and take our time on top of the Rincons!
Meteorology
Meteorology
Rainbow
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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Jun 23 2012
RedwallNHops
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 Guides 1
 Routes 7
 Photos 237
 Triplogs 949

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Italian Spring Trail to Spud RockTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 23 2012
RedwallNHops
Hiking20.50 Miles 4,860 AEG
Hiking20.50 Miles   14 Hrs   34 Mns   2.39 mph
4,860 ft AEG   5 Hrs   59 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
Partners partners
GrottoGirl
Pivo
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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average hiking speed 2.37 mph
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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.

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