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Rock Corral - Santa Gertrudis Road - 1 member in 4 triplogs has rated this an average 5 ( 1 to 5 best )
4 triplogs
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Oct 29 2017
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 Guides 1
 Routes 130
 Photos 21,626
 Triplogs 993

74 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Chile Quest, AZ 
Chile Quest, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 29 2017
rwstormTriplogs 993
Hiking2.04 Miles 302 AEG
Hiking2.04 Miles   2 Hrs   44 Mns   0.81 mph
302 ft AEG      13 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners partners
DesertratDeb
Back down to Rock Corral Canyon to look around. Hiking friend Deb joined me, and it was nice to have an extra set of eyes and good company. Everything was dry due to the extended period of no rain. Didn't find any chile plants, but it was fun just snooping around in the drainage and scrambling through the brush and boulders. I keep telling myself I won't go back down there, but it is isolated and pretty enough that I know I probably will. :)
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Nov 26 2016
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 Guides 1
 Routes 130
 Photos 21,626
 Triplogs 993

74 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Rock Corral Canyon, AZ 
Rock Corral Canyon, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 26 2016
rwstormTriplogs 993
Hiking2.88 Miles 675 AEG
Hiking2.88 Miles   2 Hrs   44 Mns   1.38 mph
675 ft AEG      39 Mns Break
 
Partners none no partners
I wanted to get out of the house and do something different Saturday. I decided to do a little exploring in Rock Corral Canyon, in the Tumacacori Mountains south of Tucson. I rarely get into this range, even with it being not very far away. I had only been on the road into the area once before, many years ago to hike Tumacacori Peak. That time we took the right fork for the hike up the mountain. I had never been on the left fork (a continuation of the main FR 4145 road) which drops into the wash and works its way upstream, eventually ending up high on the hillside near an old prospect. Saturday was nice day and I wanted to take advantage of the warm weather before winter blasts in. :o

The road is rocky and eroded, but after dropping into the main drainage it improves. I drove in a good distance and parked. The plan was to walk the road further in and see some new country. I thought I was the only one back there, but I soon passed a parked truck, so figured I might see someone eventually. Sure enough, I heard voices and caught up with two gentlemen who were out exploring like me. Turns out they are two retired college biologists (herpetology), one specialized in studying turtles and the other lizards. How 8) ! Fellow nature lovers...yay. I walked up the road with them and we had a grand time talking about this, that, and the other. :D One of them lives in Tubac, west of the interstate and the other down by Leslie Canyon near the Swisshelm Mountains. Nice. We got to talking about the Chiricahuas and some of our experiences there. I told them about my mountain lion experiences in West Turkey Creek, and one of them told me about he was once face to face with a jaguar in Central America! :scared: After awhile, I decided to stop the uphill slog and head back down to the canyon area. They continued on. I was taking my time heading back, snooping around and looking for things to photograph.

One of the things I had hoped to find is some of the wild chile plants that occur in the area. It is one of about 10 documented locales in Arizona where the chiltepines have been found, with this probably being the most populated. Gary Nabhan of Native Seeds/SEARCH worked with Coronado National Forest to reach a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the 2500 acre Wild Chile Botanical Area in 1999 in this canyon. I did not find any today, maybe because I was having so much fun talking with the professors, but also because I didn't wander off the road much. Others have posted some photos of them on HAZ in conjunction with hikes in the area, and I get the impression the best bet is to explore some of the side drainages away from the roads. So, today was an overview. I'll be back. I will find them. :)

The biologists caught up with me around the old well site and we spent some time looking at that. When I got to where they were parked, they offered me a ride back to my truck (not very far, but I accepted, as my knee was giving me great pain, as is usual of late). Got back to Tumacacori around 3:00, and saw that the wonderful Santa Cruz Chile & Spice Store was open. It was on my to do list for the day, so stopped in! The overpowering aroma of comino and other spices hits you as soon as you walk in the door. Mentioned to the saleswoman that I had just come from looking for wild chiles in Rock Corral and that made her smile. She said she used to go horseback riding there many years ago as a young girl. That store is really neat...highly recommended if you are in the area. You might walk out sneezing, but you will be :D !

After talking about doing it for 2 years, I finally stopped at DOS! in Tubac for some tacos and one of those great margaritas just like the ones at the other Wisdom's in Tumacacori. :) I like the vibe at DOS! better I think; you know a little more modern.

Yes, this certainly was a serendipitous Saturday!
 Fauna
 Fauna [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Raccoon
 Culture
 Culture [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Water Well
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1 archive
Oct 04 2014
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 Guides 2
 Routes 454
 Photos 5,014
 Triplogs 3,860

66 male
 Joined Mar 01 2009
 Tucson, AZ
Tumacacori PeakTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 04 2014
PivoTriplogs 3,860
Hiking6.84 Miles 3,193 AEG
Hiking6.84 Miles   9 Hrs   30 Mns   1.16 mph
3,193 ft AEG   3 Hrs   36 Mns Break25 LBS Pack
 
Partners partners
Baja Arizona Hiking
GrottoGirl
Total Belinda bushwack today; 9.5 hours for an under 7 mile hike. We never saw a trail/route once. There was a short road segment near the end. Everybody brought 5L + of water, however with the total sun exposure, and the time out, most of us ran out of water. Thankfully due to heavy late season rainfall there was water in the small creeks we were able to filter.

Lots,and lots of late season wildflowers, in addition there were wild Chiltepin peppers in the canyons.
Great day was finished off nicely at Wisdom's Dos in Tubac.
 Flora
 Flora [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Chiltepín
 Fauna
 Fauna [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Giant Centipede
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Rock Corral Canyon Medium flow Medium flow
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Lookin’ back on the track, gonna do it my way, Lookin’ back.... ahhhhhhhh
Oct 04 2014
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 Guides 3
 Routes 316
 Photos 11,856
 Triplogs 1,474

47 female
 Joined Sep 18 2009
 Tucson, AZ
Tumacacori PeakTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 04 2014
GrottoGirlTriplogs 1,474
Hiking6.84 Miles 3,193 AEG
Hiking6.84 Miles   9 Hrs   30 Mns   1.16 mph
3,193 ft AEG   3 Hrs   36 Mns Break
 
no photosets
Partners partners
Baja Arizona Hiking
Pivo
Tumacacori Peak is a great hike and I'm sure rest of the high points in the area around Rock Corral Canyon are also great hikes. But why I decided to combine them in one hike for Alt Hiking meetup while it's still freaking hot out is beyond me...

Anyway, we choose a weakness in the cliffs on the southeast side as an approach up the peak. We went up a gully and then up a short chimney with some easy climbing moves. From there we scrambled up the ridge to the peak. Great views from the top in all directions. It was especially nice to look at the Santa Ritas from that angle.

From there we worked our way down the north east side of the peak. We were stopped by cliffs so we headed a bit north to work our way around them. Cliffs seemed to be the name of the game from there out. In addition to the cliff, the vegetation was lush and high, we couldn't see the loose rocks below that we had to step on. Every step was a mastery of balance and a prayer that a rattler wasn't hiding below.

It was hot and we stopped a few times in the shade when we could to rehydrate and eat. It became apparent that there was no way we were completing the hike as planned. Finally we were struggling to find a way around a cliff when someone said they only had one of their bottles of water left! So, we planned a retreat. We were in a really crappy spot but we decided it was best to head down. Once we made the decision we looked up and saw a bunch of bees (or other bugs) swarming near the peak we were close to. I was glad not to have to go through that.

The route down was extremely steep. We tried to make sure we were not in the fall line as we traveled. At some point, someone yelled "Rock". I saw it coming and moved out of the way. This rock was HUGE! And it acted more like a bowling ball curving down a lane. It was directly heading towards one of my friends and he didn't seem to realize it. I yelled down to him that "A rock is coming straight at you! MOVE!" I saw him leap out of the way, but was he all the way out of the way? That was the long couple of seconds, waiting, waiting for him to say "I'm fine." Whew! He later said I saved his life because he thought he was well out of the way of any rocks that might have come down and so he was ignoring all the chatter he was hearing above...

Anyway, we ended up in a drainage and we successfully completed the second objective of the hike: to see the Chiltepin in the wild! I have one in my backyard that looks like it will deliver about 700 peppers in the next few weeks. That's great, but to see a wild one was the real reason we were in
the Tumacacoris. This area of the Tumacacoris is in the little known Wild Chile Botanical Preserve.

We still weren't done. We continued down the drainage but the vegation just would let up so we moved up on a ridge. Travel was still extremely difficult but some better. We took another break to make sure no one was getting too tired. A couple of the group was ready before the others and they started out. I didn't see where they were until I saw them heading back into the drainage. There was no way I wanted to fight that level of vegation. We yelled down and then headed up the ridge. We almost regroup but yet another cliff was in our way. So we went down into a different drainage, which actually had some clear spots and more Tepins! We finally regrouped and hit the Rock Corral Canyon 4x4 road and returned to the car. We were a bit tired, our clothes were caked in seeds, and we were a bit battered. But alive! Nothing like a good bushwhack to remind you how precious life is!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
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average hiking speed 1.13 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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