Thursday, January 2, 2020

Tortolitas Superloop

Yesterday's hike in the Tortolitas was fairly quick and easy considering it measured in at nearly 16 miles—way easier than our wonderful Douglas Spring-Tanque Verde Ridge hike. It was quick because the other five hikers were fit and fast; I almost never had time even to snap my usual plethora of pics because to do so meant holding up the others or running to catch up. Mind you, this is not a criticism but a compliment; it's always great to hike with fit and able folks who don't dilly-dally.

This hike was actually supposed to be closer to 18 miles, but we hiked it counter-clockwise, versus the recommended clockwise direction, and subsequently missed the unofficial and faint spur trail linking to the Coachie Spring Trail. 

The superloop offers expansive views of Mount Lemmon and Mount Kimball to the east, Wrightson to the southeast, Wasson in the west, and all the way over to Picacho Peak in the northwest. The loop has at least two crested saguaros, an old windmill retrofitted with a solar panel, the remains of old ranch buildings, cattle water catchments and a dam, and quite a bit of variety in the vistas. And like many places I've hiked in Arizona, almost bereft of fauna, other than invasive bipeds. 

The trails are quite well kept, probably due to their close proximity to the Ritz-Carlton Resort on Dove Mountain. Better they groom hiking trails, certainly, than those scourges of the desert, golf courses. Scourges everywhere, really. 

For another take on this hike, check out the musings o f my new hiking pal, Alec Sharp.

I loaded the Coachie Spring trail into my AllTrails recorder thinking we would start there (dotted blue trail on the left). However, we went counter-clockwise and missed the trail that would connect us to that Coachie and returned instead on the Wild Mustang trail that cuts through the middile of the frame (upper red line).

Still getting used to my new favorite app, PeakFinder, that allows you to see what you're looking at—and even peaks beyond your line of sight.

I sort of took liberties with this pic without Alec's permission, kind of also making sport of my fascination with this new PeakFinder toy. Alec handled it with good humor. Besides his hiking/biking site, Alec also has a trenchant, humorous, and topical blog called Cat World, well worth checking out.

Looking east toward the Catalinas.

The Santa Ritas to the southeast and Wassen Peak to the west-southwest (-ish).

The first of two crested saguaros in this park.

Our lunch spot, an old dam and water catchment. The windmill in the background is missing its vanes and in their stead, a solar panel.

Snow-capped Mount Lemmon.

Window rock.

Looking down on "civilization", like I do.

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