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Manning Camp Trail - 10 members in 37 triplogs have rated this an average 4.1 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Apr 05 2019
BiFrost
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 338
 Photos 6,903
 Triplogs 803

49 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Rincon Backpack, AZ 
Rincon Backpack, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Apr 05 2019
BiFrost
Backpack35.20 Miles 10,146 AEG
Backpack35.20 Miles3 Days         
10,146 ft AEG
 
1st trip
We did 3 day backpack in the Rincons which John put together. He got permits for first night at Happy Valley campground so we drove up from Phoenix early and started hiking around 9am. Took us only 2 hours to make it to Happy Valley where we setup up camp. Then headed up Rincon Peak for the afternoon. Nice hike with decent trail and carrying day packs made it easier. Took about 20 minute break on the summit which would have been longer except the strong winds kept it short. Hiked back to camp and then enjoyed a relaxing night around the fire.

Next day we backpacked over to Happy Valley Lookout on Heartbreak Ridge trail. The lookout is still very much intact and was open for us to check it out. Cool spot and glad we took the extra 20 minutes to check it out. The eventual goal was to camp at Manning Camp but from there we stopped by Devils Bathtub first to check it out. Good water at Devils Bathtub with some cascades and some pools. Water was the theme of the weekend as we had no issue finding water at any point. From Devils Bathtub we headed to Manning Camp and had some hail and rain but nothing too bad. Arrived at Manning Camp and setup camp around noon.

In the afternoon it was off to day hike the top. There are many trails on top so we made a loop hitting Spud Rock first and then Mica Mountain. Great views on Spud Rock but Mica is just a high point but no views. A few patches of snow lingering on the north facing slopes. Next stop was Reef Rock which is on the east side facing the Galiuro's with great views and the sun came out so we took a fairly long break there. Then it was back to Manning Camp for the night. It was bit colder at Manning which is 8,000 feet as opposed to Happy Valley which is 6,200 feet. Still relaxing night around camp and there were several other groups in the campground.

Last day we hiked out Turkey Creek trail to make it a loop. Turkey Creek trail is steep but it gets the job done and we were at the bottom in 3 hours. However, to make it a loop hike we did have to walk some road past the Turkey trail head and connect with the Miller Creek trail head. Regardless it went fast and we were at the vehicle before noon. Great weekend in the Rincon's and thanks to John for getting the permits!!
_____________________
2 archives
Mar 04 2017
The_N
avatar

 Routes 54
 Photos 1,508
 Triplogs 325

33 male
 Joined Mar 18 2015
 Payson, AZ
AZT: I-10 to Summerhaven, AZ 
AZT: I-10 to Summerhaven, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Mar 04 2017
The_N
Backpack70.00 Miles 16,000 AEG
Backpack70.00 Miles2 Days   13 Hrs   45 Mns   
16,000 ft AEG22 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Day 1: I decided to join Dallin on a portion of his Spring Break AZT dash. We were dropped off at Gabe Zimmerman TH on Saturday a.m. and started the trek at segment #8. It was a sunny, beautiful day. The trail is mostly flat and winds through a scenic desert. Saguaros dominate, Rincon Peak looms and neat geology surrounds. The smell of spring Creosote wafted through the air. Plenty of mountain bikers on this stretch. We breaked at Rincon Creek and enjoyed a brief soak. Heading up and into the mountains we would cross many flowing drainages and even saw a distant waterfall. After some climbing, we both hit a wall and stopped for camp on a rock slab 2 miles short of Grass Shack. Worst campsite ever. We were joined at camp by Anna, a solo backpacker on the 2nd night of her maiden voyage, who we'd been leap frogging in those last 6 miles.

Day 2: We woke up refreshed and determined to make up some milage. We started our climb up Mica Mountain. The ever changing terrain kept me in awe. Unlike anything I'd seen in AZ. The Juniper grasslands gave way to pines. The trail was beautiful and easy to follow. The creek at Grass Shack was flowing good. Temps dropped as we climbed and we didn't see any sunshine all day. Our nutrition / water break at Manning Camp was fairly chilly. We reached the top shortly after and enjoyed the stunning views. We hit a few snow patches on the north face of Mica. Nothing too bad but the slow melt made the trail loose and slick. We made our way down through the oak and manzanita forest before a nice afternoon/evening stroll over the rolling grasslands. Winds were ripping, deer were grazing and we both nearly stepped on a very lethargic baby rattler. After an impressive sunset and 1.5 hours of night hiking, we settled on another lousy camp site, but made it work.

Day 3: Didn't start well at all. I woke up with a screaming IT band and a serious case of pumpkin chaffe with a 25 mile day ahead. I threw an elastic knee brace on and went commando to help combat the chaffe (it helps). Needless to say, it took some warming up before I could move. I limped my way up the pass and down to Molino Basin. Dallin informed me that this was one of my last bail out options, but encouraged me to keep going, so I did. Once we topped out and I saw the views down into Sabino Canyon, my spirits were instantly lifted. I pushed on through the pain and was grateful I did. Wouldn't want to miss this canyon. We made our way back down into Saguaros and a lush riparian zone. The entire canyon and every drainage was raging. Quite a few day hikers and a few backpackers along this stretch. I can see why, Sabino is a showstopper. Despite my ailments, we were cruising along the canyon and making great time. Romero Pass put an end to that. I could barely lift my right leg at this point but we pushed on. Eventually we topped out and down into Wilderness of Rocks. More snow patches in this area. Some icy, but no additional gear is needed, just a careful step. The snow melt fueled good flowing water everywhere. We had about 5 miles left and I was hurting, completely drained and flat out delirious. Spending another night wasn't an option. Temps dropped quickly and darkness fell. We had a couple hours of night hiking with some interesting route finding along snowy creeks. It took some teamwork but we made it out and to our ride after road walking up from Marshall Gulch TH. Temps were already in the mid 30's. Burritos and beverages saved the day. Overall, an amazing and epic trip. We knocked out a good amount of trail with big climbs but I also got my pumpkin handed to me a few times throughout. Well worth it.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Brittles and poppies mostly. Still too early.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cienga Creek @ AZT Light flow Light flow
Murky and green but filterable.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 East Fork Sabino Canyon Heavy flow Heavy flow
Great flow throughout.

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
Both streams at Grass Shack were flowing. Good water.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Italian Spring Dripping Dripping
Muddy seep filled with algae. Filterable but will clog a filter quick.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Lemmon Creek @ WOR #44 Heavy flow Heavy flow
Snow melt fed. Ice cold. Good water.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Rincon Creek @ AZT Medium flow Medium flow
Good, clear water. A ribbon of life in the desert.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Upper Molino Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Flowing down to the Highway.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 West Fork Sabino Canyon Heavy flow Heavy flow
Great flow throughout.
_____________________
If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
1 archive
Mar 04 2017
DallinW
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 105
 Photos 1,740
 Triplogs 228

27 male
 Joined Feb 26 2015
 Gilbert AZ
AZT Spring Break 2017, AZ 
AZT Spring Break 2017, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Mar 04 2017
DallinW
Backpack159.40 Miles 34,237 AEG
Backpack159.40 Miles9 Days         
34,237 ft AEG1 Day       Break
 no routes
1st trip
Fauna
Fauna
Gila Monster
Culture
Culture
Dream

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Amethyst West Drainage at Trail #130 Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cienga Creek @ AZT Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cottonwood Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Better flow as you head down the drainage.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 East Fork Sabino Canyon Heavy flow Heavy flow

dry Granite Spring Dry Dry

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

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Italian Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Lemmon Creek @ WOR #44 Medium flow Medium 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

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Mineral Creek Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Pine Creek at Reavis Gap #117 Medium flow Medium flow


water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Reavis Creek at Gap Trail #117 Heavy flow Heavy flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Rincon Creek @ AZT Medium flow Medium flow

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

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Sycamore Reservoir 51-75% full 51-75% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max The Lake 51-75% full 51-75% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Upper Molino Creek Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Walnut Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
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5 archives
Feb 07 2017
markthurman53
avatar

 Guides 83
 Routes 488
 Photos 5,777
 Triplogs 405

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Saguaro N P Quilter Trail to Madrona R S, AZ 
Saguaro N P Quilter Trail to Madrona R S, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 07 2017
markthurman53
Hiking23.10 Miles 4,611 AEG
Hiking23.10 Miles   10 Hrs   47 Mns   2.66 mph
4,611 ft AEG   2 Hrs   6 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Hike from Camino Loma Alta on Hope Camp Trail to Manning Camp Trail to Madrona Ranger Station then about 2 miles of the Rincon Trail before turning around. I will complete the rest via the Miller Creek Trail and Rincon Trail. All Trails are well Maintained, in fact they had work crews doing some extensive work on the quilter Trail. Water as to be expected in February was Plentiful. None of these trails are anything to write home about as far a scenery goes, but then I have been on the Quilter and Hope Camp Trail many times so I may be biased. I found Madrona Ranger Station to be an interesting place to visit. Have never been there due to the X-9 Ranch closure. Along the upper Quilter and the Madrona Trails water could be heard coming down Chiminea and Madrona Creeks even though they were quite a ways away.
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1 archive
Jan 01 2017
jrousoshammond
avatar

 Routes 25
 Triplogs 121

31 male
 Joined May 15 2015
 Tucson
Tanque Verde Peak, AZ 
Tanque Verde Peak, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Jan 01 2017
jrousoshammond
Backpack22.36 Miles 5,265 AEG
Backpack22.36 Miles1 Day   3 Hrs   45 Mns   
5,265 ft AEG
 
no photosets
1st trip
I got to bag the last of the 3 major peaks in the Rincons, and got to do it in some...interesting...weather. It was pretty nasty on New Years Day, but the forecast said the rain would go away by 5ish, so we thought that worst-case we'd have to start the hike that afternoon in ponchos. To our surprise, things had cleared up by the time we reached the trailhead at around 1pm.

We were dry for the entire hike to Juniper Basin, but we were hiking in clouds for the last mile and a half or so. As we were setting up camp it started raining, and that went on until just about the time of night when it would've turned to snow. This made for some fun shaking the frozen raindrops off of our tents the next day.

Altogether, the camping experience was very wet and cold. Despite a valiant effort, it was impossible to get a real fire going. The toilet was impossible to find in the dark, though in the morning we discovered it about 30 yds from the creek off the path between sites 1 and 2. I don't think the temps got far below freezing, but my 22 degree sleeping bag was about at its limit.

The hiking on this trip was worth the trouble though. TVR trail, which I had been on a few times before, is always great, and the area from Juniper Basin to the summit (which we experienced for the first time on this clear morning with a fresh dusting of snow) is amazing. There was water everywhere, and that made the hike down from Cowhead Saddle to the Manning Camp Trail particularly enjoyable. By the time we reached the Quilter Trail it was a slog, but this was a great 27 hours in the mountains.
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3 archives
Jan 01 2017
MSimmons
avatar

 Photos 4
 Triplogs 62

32 male
 Joined Jan 30 2016
 Tucson, AZ
Tanque Verde Peak, AZ 
Tanque Verde Peak, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Jan 01 2017
MSimmons
Backpack22.36 Miles 5,265 AEG
Backpack22.36 Miles1 Day   3 Hrs   45 Mns   
5,265 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners partners
jrousoshammond
After a few months without time or energy for anything but little 1-2 mile jaunts up Pontatoc Ridge it was great to get out for a real adventure. A hard night at Juniper Basin (found my boots frozen stiff in the morning :lol: ) was rewarded with fresh snow and blue sky on Tanque Verde Peak. Lemmon, Mica, Rincon, and Wrightson were all looking fresh, frosty, and grand.
_____________________
Sep 19 2016
tibber
avatar

 Guides 21
 Routes 576
 Photos 25,752
 Triplogs 846

64 female
 Joined Feb 26 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Manning Camp via the Tub to Turkey Creek TH, AZ 
Manning Camp via the Tub to Turkey Creek TH, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 19 2016
tibber
Hiking9.01 Miles 701 AEG
Hiking9.01 Miles
701 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners partners
BiFrost
slowandsteady
writelots
After a nice evening and morning we now had to go back. Kind of sad to leave this place. The question is which way do we want to go back, the way we came or via the Tub? I wanted to see the Tub but it would add about 1 1/2 to our journey and it would be warm as we got toward the bottom of the mountain. K&K assured the trail was nice (cuz after yesterday's North Slope adventure I wasn't in the mood for working too hard again, ha!). I couldn't make up my mind so Wendy said we would do the Tub; which turned out to be the right choice and that way, I got to see one of the "must do" when you come up to Manning Camp.

And wow was that a downhill to get to the Tub. So glad we didn't come up that way which was one of the options we were originally going to do. The hike down thru here is really pretty thru the forest and with occasional views to the far valley and mountains. There were a couple areas with water which is always a nice treat in the desert. The Devil's Bathtub wasn't draining very much but it was still a pretty cool site. We actually spent a little time here hanging around so that was nice and then it was off toward Spud Rock Campground Junction on part of the East Slope Trail.

Once again you had off and on views to the valleys as you hike off and on thru the forest. It's very entertaining hiking up here as the terrain changes quite a bit. We followed some more running water as we continued on part of the East Slope Trail to what we dubbed The Park. It was a clear forest floor with large trees sprouting to the sky. Down the Switchback Trail we went to the ferned meadow of Spud Rock Campground Junction. From there our next stop would be Deer Head Spring. However, there is one part of the trail just above the spring that is a bit difficult to decipher but we made it down though I don't know if it was the right way. We hung at the Spring for a bit. We were trying to take advantage of the shade as much as we could.

The next part of the trail was probably the worst as we headed down to Mud Hole Spring which would be our last shaded stop. The trail is a little gully as you hike down and then you encounter the rock n roll rocky sections. You go thru manzanita sections and more foresty sections though the size of the trees is smaller now. I was having a little trouble getting my pack comfortable so that was not fun. I was disappointed because on my trip up; my pack didn't give me any issues. I packed it like Wendy did; at least I thot so, but it wasn't fitting quite right.

At Mud Hole Spring we hung out and Karl showed me the spring. It didn't have much water in it but enough to filter fairly nicely. We still had quite a bit of down to go but at least on this part, there would be steps that really helped - although I despised them on the way up as I'd rather hike up on the less stable ground than have to lift my body up those steps. Kathy, on the other hand, loves steps on the way up. The trail that didn't have the steps, once again, was in pretty shabby shape. It was also starting to get warmer now but every once in awhile we would get a breeze. We were sure glad to get to the saddle though as from here on out, the trail conditions would be much better.

Karl agreed to one more stop for what little shade there was at the Park Boundary. This was actually kind of nice because we could look back at where we had been. Filtered light was now coming in as the residual from the hurricane was making its way north. This was indeed welcomed even though the humidity came with it. From here it's the hills and ridgeline hike back to the TH. K&K took off and we made our way thru the grassy hillsides and cowsh...t (they're eating well ;) ) to join them. Thx for the beer and gatorade.

I didn't take any video after the Switchback Trail intersection as I was holding on to the mountain so I couldn't really hike and film. I doubt I even took that many pictures once we started heading down. It's too bad really cuz once the filtered light came in, it was good viewing. But by that time, I was just too tired.

Thx Wendy for getting me up and down this mountain and still being my friend after all this and other times. I still don't know how you get me to do those things :-k that are out of my comfort zone and at the edge of my capability. Karl, thx for keeping that fire going on Sunday nite. K&K, Thx for the beer and gatorade and chips.

It was absolutely great! well except for the hard parts :lol:

2-15-2017 finally the two part video:
Part 1 from Manning Camp to Devil's Bathtub [ youtube video ]
Part 2 from Devil's Bathtub toward Turkey Creek Trailhead [ youtube video ]
Named place
Named place
Mud Hole Spring - Mica Rincon Peak
_____________________
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.
1 archive
Sep 17 2016
BiFrost
avatar

 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
_____________________
3 archives
Mar 24 2016
DallinW
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 105
 Photos 1,740
 Triplogs 228

27 male
 Joined Feb 26 2015
 Gilbert AZ
AZT: Vail to Oracle, AZ 
AZT: Vail to Oracle, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Mar 24 2016
DallinW
Backpack75.48 Miles 16,192 AEG
Backpack75.48 Miles4 Days         
16,192 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
March 24th
Miles: 17.46
AEG: 5,520 ft

We flew through the first couple of miles to X9 Ranch Road, where we left off the last time we got off the AZT in this area.

Back on the AZT!

Soon we reached the Saguaro National Park boundary. Up until this point the wildflowers were sparse and withered, but from here there were plenty of great looking blooms for the next couple of miles. After taking a short break at the Quilter Trail water crossing, we passed our first thru-hiker of the trip and started the long climb to the top of Mica Mountain.

As we climbed the environment slowly transitioned from saguaros and ocotillos, to shrubs and century plants, then oak grasslands, and finally pinion-oak as we rolled into the Grass Shack Campground. Here we met 3 other thru-hikers. One was on her first thru-hike, and the other two (No Trace & Unbreakable) are triple crowners (those who have completed the PCT, AT, and CDT). We stopped to eat lunch and enjoy the company at the campground. It's always fun to pick the brains of triple crowners.

After finishing up lunch, we filled our bottles at the spring and continued on the trail up to Manning Camp. From Grass Shack, the environment transitions to a hearty ponderosa pine forest. At the campground there was one other person staying the night, a section hiker from Canada who had picked up the trail at Grass Shack and was planning on continuing to Superior.

By the time we were going to bed I was feeling pretty crappy. Extremely soar throat and congested. Before starting the trip I was still getting over a chest cold, and apparently I wasn't better yet. We expected it to be very cold at 8000ft, but surprisingly we both kept pretty warm the entire night.

March 25th
Miles: 21.97
AEG: 2,910 ft

Today was our "long day", with minimal AEG. Our goal was to make it to Molino Basin Campground. I woke up feeling slightly better.

After packing up camp and getting some more water at the spring, we headed up the trail for the top of Mica Mountain. Along the way we passed No Trace and Unbreakable again. The pine forest on top of Mica is quite impressive. Once we topped out and started down the other side, views of the basin below and Mt. Lemmon open up. Italian Spring had drinkable water but lots of algae on top.

We started the long descent into the basin below, and then the traverse across the hills to the base of Lemmon. Beautiful grasslands! By now the mistake of wearing newish shoes for this hike had caught up with me and my right foot had been rubbed raw on the back. I tried fixing things up with some mole skin and some bandaids.

Just before the Lake, we caught up to the section hiker from Canada who was going to stop at the next drainage. We stopped with him at the drainage to get some water for the last hump into the campground.

Once we got to the campground we greeted the camp host to get a spot. We asked him if there was any water around, he claimed "there is no water, it's dry out here." We were both surprised a little considering how much water we had seen getting to this point. He kindly offered us a liter each to make it through the night, and gave us a spot which was right next to the AZT. We didn't quite believe him about the water situation, so once we set up camp we dropped into creek bed below the campground and sure enough there were spots that had running water (not even 200 yards away from the camp host, I might add...)


March 26th
Miles: 17.25
AEG: 5,133 ft

I woke up feeling terrible, super congested, coughing up lots of phlegm, and running a small fever. I thought about bailing at the Highway next to the campground, but decided to try a few miles before making the decision. The going was extremely slow, probably less than 2mph.

We reached Shreve Saddle and took a quick break, I popped some Tylenol for the fever. I knew after this point I was going to be committed for some serious uphill either going forward or turning back. I decided to keep going.

We saw lots of people along this stretch going to Hutch's Pool. It was cool to see Saguaros again near the bottom, because at the end of the day we would be back up in the Pines. I'm a sucker for "transition hikes." Once we reached the bottom, we took another break in Sabino Canyon where there was flowing water. This was the point where I was either going to commit all the way to Summerhaven or go back. I nearly turned back here, but there was just too much planning that went into this and I wasn't sure I would be able to come back to finish this up for a long time.

We passed the junction to Hutch's Pool and started the long climb up through the west fork of Sabino Canyon. This place is stunning. With every foot of elevation gain the views got better. The trail itself is graded extremely well so the climbing felt almost effortless. Once again we got to see the transitions from saguaros, to sparse pines on Romero Pass. There were plenty of pools and spots with running water in the canyon.

I was starting to feel a bit better after we took a 30-45 minute break at the pass. It was a good thing too, because this is where the real climbing starts. You aren't graced with very many switch back after this point, it's just straight up. About half way through huffing and puffing, I looked at my Arizona Trail app to see how much further we had to climb and let out a little snicker. My cousin asked "what's up?" and I told him "do you really want to know?", he said "yes", I told him "it gets steeper." We both laughed and continued up the mountain.

After topping out and taking a break, we joined the Wilderness of Rocks trail. This was by far my favorite part of the hike. This is one of those places that feel really special, a feeling of reverence overcame me. We meandered through the beautiful giant boulders and trees, before reaching an awesome spot to camp right next to Lemmon Creek.

By the time we were going to bed I felt great, except for my feet. I used some alcohol wipes, and anti-septic wipes before reapplying a few bandaids.

As we drifted to sleep I heard a series of bangs/explosions in the distance, which culminated into a bunch of bangs/explosions at once. Fireworks in Tucson?

March 27th
Miles: 18.8
AEG: 2,609 ft

We got up excited for a real meal in Summerhaven. It was actually warm enough during the night that I started sweating in my quilt. After eating a quick breakfast and filling our bottles with water out of Lemmon Creek, we started the gradual 1000ft climb to where we would meet the Marshall's Gultch Trail. I was still awe struck by beauty and grandeur of the Wilderness of Rock. We made our way to the paved road we would walk into town on.

After satisfying a soda and candy craving at the General Store, we ate some breakfast at the Sawmill Run restraunt. The manager or owner (not sure which) came out to talk to us and asked if we were on our way to Utah. We told him we were ending this segment in Oracle.

Oracle Ridge was hot. On the way down we met a 3 time triple crowner "One Gallon", who was taking a siesta in the shade of some cedars. We talked with him for about 45 minutes. Another very interesting person.

We reached the American Flag TH about an hour before the sun set.

This now puts us at just over 50% of AZT miles completed, and we have now connected a foot path all the way from the border to Roosevelt. Woo hoo!
Culture
Culture
HAZ - Hike HAZard

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Carter Canyon Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max East Fork Sabino Canyon Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Grass Shack Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Italian Spring Dripping Dripping
Lots of algae.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Lemmon Creek @ WOR #44 Medium flow Medium flow

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 is a lot of water flowing down the mountain about half a mile before Manning Camp.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Quilter Trail - 1.35mi Water Crossing Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Rincon Creek @ AZT Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Sycamore Reservoir 51-75% full 51-75% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max The Lake 26-50% full 26-50% full

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max West Fork Molino Creek Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Running in some spots near the campground.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max West Fork Sabino Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Lots of pools in the canyons.
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2 archives
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
Oct 11 2015
JuanJaimeiii
avatar

 Routes 562
 Photos 7,617
 Triplogs 1,599

52 male
 Joined Jan 30 2011
 Chandler, AZ
Manning Camp via Redington Road, AZ 
Manning Camp via Redington Road, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 11 2015
JuanJaimeiii
Hiking22.53 Miles 5,526 AEG
Hiking22.53 Miles   7 Hrs   35 Mns   3.04 mph
5,526 ft AEG      11 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners partners
joebartels
This would be Joe and my third trip to Manning Camp from the North side of the Rincons. Today we chose to do it from Redington Road along the AZT. We had high hopes of an enjoyable October Hike. While it was a great hike the thick humidity made it less than comfortable for a good portion of the trip. Two thirds of the way up I was drenched in sweat. It felt as if we could cut it with a knife.

Upon reaching the highpoint things really cooled off and it was an enjoyable final stretch down to Manning Camp. To our surprise we saw nobody up top or anywhere along the way for that matter. Water was flowing in several spots making me think they received recent rain.

The return hike was more enjoyable than the trip up however the humidity still played a factor. Following the hike we made a quick pit stop in Tucson where we fueled up on some Tacos.

Manning Camp is such a cool place that I am certain to return on another day.
Fauna
Fauna
Camel (Dromedary)
_____________________
1 archive
Sep 01 2015
The_Dude
avatar

 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 22 2015
kwpapke
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 6
 Photos 10
 Triplogs 16

66 male
 Joined Dec 28 2009
 Oro Valley, AZ
Grass Shack from Loma Alta, AZ 
Grass Shack from Loma Alta, AZ
 
Backpack avatar May 22 2015
kwpapke
Backpack 3,300 AEG
Backpack1 Day   1 Hour      
3,300 ft AEG30 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Saguaros were in full bloom, the Arizona Rainbow cacti near the campsite looked like they will be blooming in the next few weeks.

Made a how-to video on backpacking in SNP: https://www.youtube.co...

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Grass Shack Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Running, ever so slowly
_____________________
Youtube channel for gear testing: https://www.youtube.com/c/KurtPapke
Apr 15 2015
markthurman53
avatar

 Guides 83
 Routes 488
 Photos 5,777
 Triplogs 405

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
AZT #9b Grass Shack to Manning Camp, AZ 
AZT #9b Grass Shack to Manning Camp, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 15 2015
markthurman53
Hiking5.20 Miles 2,693 AEG
Hiking5.20 Miles   3 Hrs   48 Mns   2.01 mph
2,693 ft AEG   1 Hour   13 Mns Break50 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
This is the first half of the second day of a four day trip in the Rincon Mountains. The trail is well maintained but a little steep. This is actually the first time I have been on this trail. I camped at Manning Camp and requires a permit from Saguaro National Park headquarters. From here there are numerous trails on Mica Mountain that can be done. Water is available in the stream below the Camp site. Those doing the Arizona Trail will have to hike on through the park unless they have camping permit. I did encounter a Arizona trail hiker at grass shack that camped there without a permit because he ran out of day. We were the only ones there though, This mountain isn't too crowded. At Manning Camp there was one other group Camping there, with the work crew having left as I was coming up.
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Apr 14 2015
markthurman53
avatar

 Guides 83
 Routes 488
 Photos 5,777
 Triplogs 405

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
AZT #9a Hope Camp to Grass Shack, AZ 
AZT #9a Hope Camp to Grass Shack, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 14 2015
markthurman53
Hiking10.60 Miles 2,949 AEG
Hiking10.60 Miles   6 Hrs   50 Mns   2.41 mph
2,949 ft AEG   2 Hrs   26 Mns Break50 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
This is the first Day of a four day hike in the Rincon Mountains. I have been on this trail now so many times that I don't know what to add. Was quite a bit different with a 50 pound pack though. There was plenty of water once I got into Chimenea Canyon and also at Grass Shack. This is in Saguaro National Park so you need a camping permit to Camp at Grass Shack and on Mica Mountain. Those hiking the Arizona Trail will have to hike on through the park if they don't have a permit.
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Apr 04 2015
BiFrost
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 338
 Photos 6,903
 Triplogs 803

49 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Rincon Mountains - AZT #9Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 04 2015
BiFrost
Hiking27.50 Miles 6,942 AEG
Hiking27.50 Miles   12 Hrs   22 Mns   2.59 mph
6,942 ft AEG   1 Hour   46 Mns Break
 
1st trip
The original plan was to do Rincon AZT #9 as a backpack with overnight at Manning Camp. But due to some logistics we changed it to the long day hike option. Amy (Uphill Junkie) joined us for the hike. A friend dropped us off at Loma Alta TH at 630 for the start and hiked with us for the first 2.3 miles to the Quilter Trail turnoff. Quilter starts out gradual to a creek crossing where we found some good water to filter if needed. From there the trail gets steeper with switch backs around 800 foot climb before leveling off over to the Madrona turnoff. About 1 mile up the trail from Madrona we found another nice creek crossing with good pools before the trail kicks up again to Grass Shack. Grass Shack had plenty of water and was the best source all day other than Manning. Took a break here and then started the longest climb of the day about 2200 feet in 3.5 miles up to the Devils Bathtub trail turnoff. Nice section of trail despite the continuous elevation gain. From Devils Bathtub junction it's short 1 mile to Manning Camp where we filtered water and had lunch. Despite all the elevation gain of over 6,000 feet the trail never got really steep...just long gradual climb all the way to Manning.

After lunch we headed up the last 600 feet of climb to Mica Mountain. We went to the summit which is only .1 mile off the AZT before starting the long descent to Italian Spring. There was some water at Italian Spring but not the best quality although we didn't look around that much so possible there are better sources nearby. We continued the descent to the Park Boundary enjoying the views as you drop off the north side of Mica Mountain. The drop is definitely more dramatic and severe on the north side than the Loma Alta-Madrona side. Eventually we made the Wilderness Boundary at a creek crossing which had some decent flow and pools. From there it was just 2.5 miles to Italian Trap and the end of this section AZT. Unfortunately our pick up was at Redington Road so we hiked the extra 2.3 miles to the road. Although the signs at Italian Trap say 2.8 miles to Redington Road it's really only 2.3. Finally made the car right at sunset to enjoy some cold beverages and snacks. Long day but great to get this tough section of AZT done. Definitely have to return as a backpack to spend more time enjoying the top of the Rincons!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
poppies, owl clover, globe mallow, blue bells, verbena, brittlebush, mariposa, fairy duster, penstemon

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
lots of water with many pools and water flowing in and around the drainage at Grass Shack CG

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Italian Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
one pool at the spring but not the best quality of water

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
lost of water flowing and many pools in the drainage just below the Manning main building
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1 archive
Apr 04 2015
slowandsteady
avatar

 Routes 67
 Photos 966
 Triplogs 694

45 female
 Joined Jan 05 2012
 Phoenix,AZ
Rincon Mountains - AZT #9Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 04 2015
slowandsteady
Hiking27.50 Miles 6,942 AEG
Hiking27.50 Miles   12 Hrs   22 Mns   2.59 mph
6,942 ft AEG   1 Hour   46 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Now that we have hindsight on the pros and cons of dayhiking versus backpacking, I can say unless you have three days you may as well dayhike it. I'd love to go back and on day one get to Manning Camp, on day two explore the top of the Rincons and then on day three hike out.

You had to watch your feet so you didn't step on any baby horny toads that are too cute. The gnats were in full force from Grass Shack to the Devil's Bathtub turnoff.

I did learn that "Rincon Mountains AZT #9" is nowhere near "Rincon Peak," Sorry Amy! :oops:

We met a couple of section hikers going south. Their argument for going southbound was the ability to run into "interesting" northbound thru hikers.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
_____________________
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
_____________________
Society's constraints are stifling! The only way to hike is fully nude!
Apr 10 2013
writelots
avatar

 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Rincon E-W Traverse, AZ 
Rincon E-W Traverse, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Apr 10 2013
writelots
Backpack28.50 Miles 6,681 AEG
Backpack28.50 Miles3 Days   7 Hrs      
6,681 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Okay - this is one I've had on my list for..well..for ever. Forever. ForEVerrrr! I feel like I've done bigger things than Rincon Peak, but that mountain has always intimidated me. I've made 2 attempts, and both times been foiled (once by monsoon storms and once by lack of water). I always wanted to do it as a backpack, mostly because I just love sleeping in those mountains - but also because I didn't want to feel rushed on the way to the peak or at the peak.

Sirena and I decided that this was the year. We actually said that last year, too, but this year we meant it. And we made it happen. And we made it happen with panache!

My previous hikes up Miller and Turkey Creek Trails taught me that starting on these eastern slopes in the morning doesn't give you a huge advantage. They're hot and sunny in the morning, and then you're just hot and tired when you get to the saddle. Sirena and I are both not the best early-morning (pre-sunrise) people anyway, so we decided to start up Miller late in the day, camp at Happy Valley saddle, peak out on day 2, then hike out day 3. Perfect.

And it was!

A generous friend of Sirena's shuttled us from our cars at Camino Loma Alta TH to the Miller Creek TH. We started hiking at about 2:30, and the day was relatively cool and breezy - perfect! Sirena had never hiked up Miller Creek before, so we had lots of fun in the boulders and enjoying vistas, shooting photos and generally having a fantastic afternoon. We got to the saddle at about 5:30, and made camp just a little after that.

The new HV Saddle Campground is quite nice - spacious and shady, with lots of beautiful tall pines and huge junipers. We wandered around a bit to be sure we were in the perfectsite, then set off in search of water. Though most of the pools were getting a bit stale and cloudy, we found enough that we weren't worried about water quantity (though quality was questionable) and we filtered it carefully (love the gravity filter). Wandering about, I chanced upon the outhouse, which is VERY well hidden directly north of the campground. It's so well hidden, that previous visitors have left toilet paper (and presumably more) all over the campsite. Would a sign kill ya, NPS?

Since the campground is new, there was still plenty of readily available firewood, and we had a small fire that was just about perfectfor our needs. I had my hammock, and I was a little worried about the temps getting a little lower than I'd planned on, so I placed some hot rocks from the fire underneath it to get a little boost.

Here is an embarrassing note for those of you who use hot rocks in campsites: keep the synthetic fabric of your sleeping bag off the hot rocks. It can melt. And when it melts, it lets feathers out. Lots of feathers. All over the place. And in the dark, this can be quite confusing and troubling. And it takes a lot of duct tape to seal a hole of that size in your very nice, rather expensive sleeping bag. Trust me. Not fun.

Once I had the feathers out of my mouth and ears, I managed to be quite comfortable for the rest of the night. Thank goodness Angela wasn't there to take photos of the whole incident!

The next day we woke to a bright and sunny day - clear skies and a soft breeze, the perfect weather for a summit hike! We didn't rush it (as is our usual m.o.), and we had a delightful hike up the Rincon Peak trail. We found a nice clear pool of water about a mile from the Rincon Peak Trail junction. We left my water filter equipment there so we could filter on the way back down. Before leaving, though, we sampled the water we'd filtered the night before from the stale pools and found it to be quite pleasant tasting. Delighted, we hiked on.

We'd both read more than a few accounts that told of the trail getting very steep at the end. So, when we reached the sign that said 'no stock past this point', we figured we would be coming upon it soon. As we were climbing these rather steep switch backs, we kept thinking (quietly at first, and then aloud), that it was going to get steeper, and we were getting worried. I think we were both picturing a hand-over-hand rocky scramble. So, when we rounded the corner and saw the peak itself, we were still in denial. It wasn't until we saw the big cairn that we allowed ourselves to believe that we'd made it. I did a big-ol-happy-girl dance. Finally, after all of these years, I was on Rincon-freaking-peak! Weeeee!

The views were, well, you guessed it, perfect. Scattered clouds in the distance, and much more visibility than we'd had a few days before with dust storms and what not blowing through. We could see all those famous mountain ranges: Chiricahuas, Huachucas, Santa Ritas, Santa Catalinas, Galiuros and Pinelanos. We could see lesser landmarks like the Canelo hills, Whetstones, Sand Pedro River Valley and the Tucson Mountains. It was like a geography lesson in 360deg panoramic high def. Perfect, perfect, perfect!

We played on the rocks with our shoes off, snacked and took a million photos and videos. We didn't feel rushed and had a great time enjoying the magic of Rincon Peak. After a little over an hour, the winds began to pick up, and a high-level flat clouds were covering up our beautiful skies. We figured that was our cue to head back to camp. Our perfect conditions lasted exactly long enough, and we had a delightful, quick hike back to our water source and then camp.

Another small campfire and another beautiful evening under the stars (the clouds cleared up at sunset). It was much warmer the second night, and I forewent the warm rocks under the hammock. It was so nice to back in my hammock after many months of ground-sleeping in places where trees were uncommon or hanging was verboten. I really had to struggle to get out of it in the morning!

But, we needed a fairly early start. We'd set ourselves up for a 16+ mile day on the way out. We both wanted to hike the Rincon Creek trail, and the only way to do that really is to go all of the way from HV Saddle to Camino Loma Alta - there are no access points in between. You can't even camp anywhere in between. We had no idea what to expect from the condition of the RCT, but we had run into a day hiker who was coming out Miller Creek as we were going in, and he described it as "overgrown". Knowing that this definition can vary widely from individual to individual, we just made sure our pant legs were zipped on and our gear was well-packed.

Turns out, we needn't have been so careful. Though there is lots of grass growing on the trail route, and places where a few cat-claw and woody bushes get in your way, overall the trail is amazingly good shape. It is clearly underused, but it's a beauty of a hike and so well constructed that it will be there long after we're no longer able to follow it. For the first 7 miles of a 16 mile day, it was just perfect. The clouds were back and we were cruising down hill. Life just doesn't get much better. (You can read my description of the Rincon Creek trail for more info on this part of the hike).

We rested and lunched at the confluence of the many arms of Rincon Creek just above the X-9 ranch access. Cool pools of water and a soft breeze helped to mitigate the fact that it was getting sunny again. We wet ourselves down well and put the umbrellas up for the last 2 miles of the trail, which was on the desert floor and quite hot. It was the only portion of our entire trip where the weather was even close to uncomfortable, and we were so well prepared that it was really just a nice blast of hot to make us feel at home!

We made it to Madrona at about 3pm and the clouds started rolling in again. We took another break in the shade, and though there was water running here, the pools were actually quite a bit lower than we'd anticipated. The sycamores were brilliant green and the ashes were beginning to display their beautiful little seed pods... it was the perfect little break, though we probably stayed a little longer than we should have, given that we still had more than 10 miles to go!

From Madrona, we hiked up the Manning Camp trail to the Quiter Trail junction. This was a 2 mile, 1000' climb, but it was really quite nice. The clouds stuck around and kept us from getting too hot, and the trail is well graded and not at all loose. We reached the junction at about 4:30, hoping we were close to what Sirena kept calling the "low saddle". It was a surprising 40 minutes further to the saddle itself - up and down over the desert foothills. But the Quilter trail is so beautifully built and travels such amazing country that we couldn't help but enjoy ourselves. Once we made that low saddle we took one more sit-down-break before we knew it would be mostly down hill the rest of the way.

The rest of the hike was delightful. Sirena kept telling me that this was the area she'd seen Gila Monsters in previously, and since I haven't ever seen one in the wild, she thought I might get lucky. I, on the other hand, had begun to accept that I was never going to see a wild gila because I was just cursed.

So when I came around the corner and was face to face with a big ol' fat beaded lizard, I let out a little yelp of surprise. The curse is lifted! This fellow was quite the exhibitionist, and we followed him through the brush for a good 10 minutes. He strutted and shook his tail and hissed at us a-plenty. Totally awesome and the perfect way to but a lift back in our step. Gila Monsters in the Saguaro National Park on the Arizona Trail that Sirena helped to build. Man - does it get any better???

We had counted on finishing in the dark, and indeed, the entire Hope Camp trail was done with headlamps. I was holding out for getting mine one when I came within millimeters of stepping on a poor little snake. Not a rattler, but any snake on the trail gets your heart thumping pretty good! I put my headlamp on and was thrilled not to see any more unexpected slitherings for the rest of our trip. The wide road bed of Hope Camp was very easy to follow in the dark, and our sore feet and tired backs were glad of the smooth walking for the last couple of miles.

We took one more break in the dark, and made it back to the car at almost 9pm. No speed records set here, but a wonderful 13 hours of hiking!

We celebrated at Montgomery's with potato skins and a cookie sundae on top of our yummy dinners. It was a late night, but we were both totally happy and ready to do it all over again.

It really was the perfect way to do Rincon Peak!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Madrona Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Miller Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
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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
Apr 10 2013
sirena
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 Guides 2
 Routes 4
 Photos 3,873
 Triplogs 362

45 female
 Joined Feb 12 2008
 Tucson, AZ
Rincon E-W Traverse, AZ 
Rincon E-W Traverse, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Apr 10 2013
sirena
Backpack28.50 Miles 6,681 AEG
Backpack28.50 Miles3 Days         
6,681 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Good times in the Rincons with Wendy.
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"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view."
-Edward Abbey
http://www.desertsirena.wordpress.com
average hiking speed 2.4 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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