Archive for the ‘Lemmon Rock’ Tag

Bad Day On Lemmon Rock   7 comments

Lemmon Rock Trail (1 of 1) blog

Pusch Ridge Wilderness — Image by kenne

BAD DAY ON LEMMON ROCK

The wilderness area of the Santa Catalina Mountains
provides many beautiful vistas, massive majestic
rock formations and several challenging hiking trails.

For the start of the fall hiking season,
the naturalists scheduled a hike starting
at the highest point atop Mount Lemmon.

In a prologue to frost and early fall colors,
we arranged a shuttle car at Marshall Gulch
so not to double back the six and a half-mile hike.

Having led this hike two months ago,
it combines four trails leading down into and out
of the Pusch Ridge Wilderness to Marshall Gulch.

Beginning on the Mount Lemmon trail,Wilderness Rock Trail 09-01-14-3658Lemmon Rock Lookout blog
we follow a forest service road through
upper mountain meadows to the Lemmon Rock trail.

The two rocky trails provide a steep 1,800-foot drop
through tall pines on rocky slopes lined with thorny shrubs
with an occasional cairn marking the many switchbacks.

However, cairns are of little help if I misread
a marker and attempts to create my own trail
down an even steeper rocky slope.

Taking a wrong turn at a trail marker,
which was about an hour into the hike,

was the beginning of my bad day on Lemmon Rock.

It quickly became apparent my pace was too fast
for the rocky slope, I was proceeding down, planting
my right foot, so to begin a slide, only to twist my ankle.

The pain told me this was not a slight twist of the ankle —
Oh, SHIT! SHIT! SHIT! Holding back additional profanity,
I quickly started getting up, checking out the damage.

Anyone who hikes with me knows I usually
have my four-pound camera/lens on
the left shoulder, which I balance with the left hand.

Not this time, since I was wearing
a center-body camera harness —
for the first time, not focusing on saving my camera.

In pain, I did a four-point crawl up to the trail
after answering some ankle movement questions
from a fellow hiker, a retired foot doctor.

Continuing to walk on the rocky trail was difficult —
generating expressions of concern from everyone,
some checking their backpacks for an ankle wraps.

Someone had a velcro Ace bandage,
without which I would not have been able
to continue the remaining five miles to the gulch.

The ankle wrap was a blessing, but having now
given the experience, more thought, although a steep climb,
the shorted hike would have been back up to the top.

We live and learn, or do we?
Would I hike five miles again on a sprained ankle?
I hope I never have to face the question.

How here I sit with my wrapped
black and blue swollen ankle iced down —
I guess I won’t be hiking again soon.

— kenne “Wrong-turn” Turner

springed ankle (1 of 1)-2 blogSprained Ankle — Image by Jeff

 

Hiking On Mt Lemmon In A Mountain Storm   2 comments

Yesterday, I lead the SCVN Friday hike on Mt. Lemmon. The hike was one I had recommended when the summer schedule was being built, which involved hiking several trails from the parking lot near the mountain top. Since the hike would begin at the top and go down to Marshall Gulch, it was necessary to do a car shuttle by first leaving a car at Marshall Gulch, then driving on up the Sky Valley road to the mountain top.

Lemmon Rock-Wilderness Rock (1 of 1)-5 Lookout blog framedLooking back up at Lemmon Rock Lookout

The hike began on a path next to the Trico electrical station, leading us to the Mt. Lemmon Trail, which we followed to the road leading to the Lemmon Rock Lookout. Just below the lookout is the Lemmon Rock trailhead. The trail is steep, dropping almost 2,00 feet over a distance of 2.3 miles, ending at the Wilderness Rock Trail.

Lemmon Rock-Wilderness Rock (1 of 1)-4 Lemmon Rock Trail blog framedView back up the mountain as we headed down the Lemmon Rock Trail

We began the hike from the top of the mountain in mostly sunny weather. By the time we reached the Wilderness Rock Trail, which is where we stopped for a snack, a few more clouds were gathering above the mountain. It was at this point on the Wilderness Rock Tail last year that we were caught in a storm as we headed back to Marshall Gulch. Then, as it was yesterday, the first half of the hike had only a few scattered clouds.

Lemmon Rock-Wilderness Rock (1 of 1)-3 Ann, Jeff, Janis, Barb blog framedAnn, Jeff, Joyce and Barb

As we set around having a snack and sharing conversation, those of us who were also on the Wilderness Rock hike last year began to noticed that the weather conditions were beginning to look quite similar to last year, so we decided to continue our hike on to Marshall Gulch. Just a last year, not long after continuing, we began to hear thunder with a few drops of rain falling.

Lemmon Rock-Wilderness Rock (1 of 1)-2Janis, Barb, Tim blog framedJoyce, Barb and Tim

The clouds got darker, followed by more thunder, lightening and rain, all of which continued for the remainder of the hike. I couldn’t help experiencing déjà vu thoughts and wondering if in some way I have been cursed by the mountain gods. 

kenne

Lemmon Rock-Wilderness Rock (1 of 1) Ken, Barb Tim blog framedKenne, Barb and Tim
iPhone Images by kenne

Hiking In The Rain Builds Hat Character   3 comments

Wilderness Rocks_20120705_0420 blogClouds begin to move into the Wilderness Rock area.

Wilderness Rocks_20120705_0423 blogKenne at Marshall Saddle with Wilderness Rock trail behind me as the rain continued.

One of my favorite hiking trails on Mount Lemmon is the Wilderness Rock trail, which is reached by taking Marshall Gulch #3 to Marshall Saddle, where you take Wilderness Rock tail to Lemmon Rock trail — the combination of which is my “Wilderness Rocks Hike.” Yesterday, this hike was really rocking!

I was the lead for the weekly SCVN Friday hike, with Edi Moore and Dan Collins assisting. We guided seven hikers on this six-mile, 850′ elevation change hike through a beautiful part of Mount Lemmon. Because I was the lead, I was only carrying my point and shoot camera, which turned out to be a great decision not take my Nikon D800. Even though I was carrying a plastic bag for the camera and a poncho to help stay dry, the rain and the length of time in it resulted in everything getting wet.

Edi was the tail guide, Dan in the middle and I in the lead. Even though we had checked our two-way radios at the trail head, I was having trouble communicating with Edi, who was falling back with a slow hiker (Dave). At a point just past the Marshall Saddle, they turned back. Dan was able to get part of Edi’s message about having lunch before returning to Marshall Gulch. 

Meanwhile, we continued on to Lemmon Rock trail, stopping for a snack. Before starting out return, I took the above photo as clouds began to move in. Shortly after staring the return hike, it began to rain. The rain was steady with plenty lightning and some small hail. When the lightning sounded closer, we sought cover  next to some of the large boulders near the trail.

One of the things you learn about mountain trails is they become streams in heavy rain. Mount Lemmon recorded about 2″ of rain.

As we continued our return the rain and lightning was creating more of a sense of urgency with the faster hikers, so I picked up the pace. Dan was setting a slower pace with Bonnie, who was doing fine, but was six months out from knee surgery. Dan and I were able to maintain communication with our radios. 

It was still raining when we returned to Marshall Gulch, where we were expecting to see Edi and Dave waiting at the trail head — but no sign of them. Knowing that it was not like Edi to leave without letting us know, Dan and I were concerned. As it turned out, Edi had tried to communicate via the problem radio that she would be returning to Tucson with Dave. Since we were all soaking wet, leaving a note was not possible. 

After returning to Tucson, which had not received any rain at the base of Catalina Highway, I called Edi. Her returned with Dave was stranger that fiction. Dave has a two-seater convertible. Apparently, he had a problem locking down the top, so they drove the 29 mile return down the Catalina Highway, with the top off, in rain and hail — yes hail. I don’t know how much hail was falling on them, but I do know that on our return (approximately 30 minutes later), there were areas along the highway where there was so much hail on the ground it looked snow-covered. Water was falling in currents off the rocks, washing large pieces of the nearby cliffs — it was freaky! Edi will have to tell her story.

Some may conclude that this was a “hike from hell,” but not for me. The resulting challenges brought back youthful memories — it was invigorating!

kenne

Lemmon Rock Lookout As Soon From The WIlderness Rocks Trail   5 comments

Looking up from the WIlderness Rocks Tail, the Lemmon Rock Lookout on Mt. Lemmon is barely visible through the trees.

Lemmon Rock Lookout.

Lemmon Rock Lookout.

Lemmon Rock Lookout. — Images by kenne

Lemmon Rock Lookout is at 8,820 feet and is usually occupied about five months per year for going on 80 years. The 14-by-14 shack was built by a CCC crew in the early 1930s, replacing an older lookout on Mount Lemmon that had stood since 1913. It has been upgraded since then, but remains much the same as it was 80 years ago. Click here for a blog link that contains images of the current accommodations.

kenne

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