Friday, August 19, 2011

A Fly-Hike-Fly coming up

Because I'm crazy I'm going to fly to Tucson just for a hike in early October.  I'll be arriving at noon, stop by an outdoor store to get the necessities (mainly the camping fuel that I can't take on the plane) and be heading for the trail head for a two night hike.  After my hike I'll be spending the night at a hotel to wash up and fly back the next day.

I picket the Saguaro National Park / Rincon Mountains since I already hiked in the Tucson Mountains and the lower parts of Coronado National Forrest / Pusch Ridge Wilderness.  The biggest challenge will be water supply.  The campsites should have water available for treating but I have to verify that before heading out.  I certainly will need a water filtration system.  I'm eying some gravity flow solution.

I drafted a route but things could change depending on water availability, flash flooding (which are common there after strong rains and the trail head is on a gravel road that would get washed out), weather and how I feel at the moment.  You can follow along at ACME Mapper 2.0.

Day 1: Starting at Miller Creek trail head (marker A, elevation 4200ft) I'll be hiking up to the Happy Valley Saddle campground (marker B, elevation 6200ft).  Since I won't be starting till the afternoon I'll be camping here after the 5 mile hike.

Day 2: From the Happy Saddle campground I will ascent to the Rincon Peak (marker C, elevation 8482ft) and return the same way.  I'll be continuing north on the Heartbreak Ridge Trail and go west past Devil's Bathtub to the Manning camp (marker E, elevation 8,000ft) where I will spend the night after hiking 12.5 miles.
Initially I thought of hiking to Manning Camp via Rincon Creek, Manning Camp, Douglas Spring, and Cow Head Saddle trails.  But that takes me down into the valley, the Rincon Creek trail may be difficult to find, and I have a hunch that that part will not be as interesting as other options.  I also wouldn't be able to climb Rincon Peak which is supposed to be nice.

Day 3: The final day I make the run for the peaks.  From Manning camp I'll head north past Spud Rock to climb Mica Mountain (marker D, elevation 8664).  Then I will decent toward north east, looping south, passing Reef Rock and Man Head.  I'll be taking the Heartbreak Ridge and Miller Creek trails back to the car where I expect to arrive at sunset after hiking 14 miles.

The Saquaro Wilderness Area booklet has little more information about backpacking in the region.

The flight is booked.  Rental car and hotel are reserved.  I'll be sending in my camping permit application this weekend.  All I have left to worry about is the water filtration and then packing everything for the flight.

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