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Cowboy Slickrock Trail - Catalina Mountains - 0 members in 1 triplog have rated this an average 0 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Oct 24 2017
markthurman53
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 Guides 87
 Routes 511
 Photos 6,164
 Triplogs 425

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Middle Gate and Cherry Tank Loop, AZ 
Middle Gate and Cherry Tank Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 24 2017
markthurman53
Hiking14.20 Miles 2,635 AEG
Hiking14.20 Miles   6 Hrs   21 Mns   2.71 mph
2,635 ft AEG   1 Hour   7 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Hiking again on the West side of the Catalina Mountains, this time along the desert below Samaniego Ridge and East of Golder Ranch. There are a lot of trails in this area, the lower ones used heavily by Mountain Bikers and the upper ones not as much. I was without my Camera on this hike because mine is in the shop being cleaned and it appears the last 4 years has taken it's toll on my lens and I will need to get a new one. I ended up using my cell phone and GPS to get a few pictures (really missed my camera though). I started at 0630 because it was going to be a hot one today. The sun didn't rise until 0800 thanks to samaniego Ridge but by the time I was done it was 96 degrees (99 degrees by my GPS but it is in my pocket and sometimes in the sun). Saw more white Tail deer than I could count, guess they are out in numbers before the hunting season opens on Friday (Don't know where they hang out during hunting season). Also saw my first skunk in a long time, I usually only see them around my house when our dog would catch them, dang dog never learned and ended up having to stay outside after his third one. When I first saw the skunk I thought it was a domestic cat, all black with a big furry tail in the air, then I saw the white spot on it's back and realized it was a skunk. I tried to get a picture but I am not as quick with the cell phone as I am with the camera.
Started this hike on the Middle Gate Trail which is 2.5 miles long with a gradual uphill the first half (about 250 feet)and back down the last half. This trail is heavily used by bikers and therefore easy to follow. The trail winds through granite boulders and toward the end through a canyon with lots of vegetation. This is where I saw the skunk. I back tracked on the Middle Gate Trail back to the junction with the 50 year Upper Trail and took this to the junction with the 50 Year Trail and the Gem Trail, about 1 mile and 300 feet of elevation gain. Easy trail to follow no issues getting off trail. The granite boulders are getting larger and the views back toward Pusch Ridge improving. At the terminus of the 50 Year Upper Trail I took the Cherry Tank Upper Trail to the Cherry Tank Trail for 1.6 miles and another 400 feet in elevation. The trail follows along the north side of a rocky hill and is a little more difficult to follow, it seems to just vanish in places and reappear a little later in really good shape. Having a GPS was really helpful in locating the trail. The vegetation is much the same as before but now the grasses are more abundant. I ran into a Diamondback snake along the trail in this area. It was coiled in the grass along side the trail. I stopped to get a picture and chose to use my cell phone, got a picture and then for some reason I pushed something and it started taking a video, I spent a few minutes trying to get it back to the picture mode all while this snake just sat there patiently. When I finally got it in the right mode the snake got all so bored with the whole thing and started moving off (was probably thinking what an idiot, I'm out of here). I really need to learn how this new cell works, without getting out my reading glasses I can't tell what all the buttons do. I really miss my camera. The Cherry Tank Upper Trail ends at the Cherry Tank Trail. Took the Cherry Tank Trail to what I am calling Cherry Tank. .8 miles and another 300 feet in elevation. There was still water in the pond and saw a couple of White tails here. From the tank I follow a FSR to the Charouleau Gap Road. This is where I turn around and head back. The highlight of this hike was the Cherry Tank Trail that follows along the main branch of Sutherland wash. Every once in a while you are totally surprised by the unexpected, this trail follows Sutherland creek through a riparian area with very large oak trees and offers the only real shade on this whole hike. It only lasts for about a quarter mile though. The granite rocks to the south and east of this canyon are massive and quite impressive, they reminded me of Yosemite on a smaller scale (Here I was without a camera). The last part of this hike along the Cowboy Slickrock Trail needs mentioning in that the trail is easy to follow until the middle third, it just disappears. With help from my GPS I was able to bushwhack to where the trail picks up again in excellent shape. I have seen vague trails that were hard to follow but I have never seen an excellent trail just vanish and then pick up again in excellent shape. I checked on Google earth when I got home and the trail is visible except the middle portion. This was a great hike and hope to be back on Thursday to do another few trails in this area. Hopefully the weather is a little cooler.
I just realized from the route I posted there is no way of telling where each of these trails start and end and I'm not sure how to edit the posted route to label the trails. On my Garman I can put flags on the route to indicate start, end and mileage. I will eventually write a description for each of these trails.
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average hiking speed 2.71 mph

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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