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#157849 - 11/26/11 03:30 PM Re: 1 month on the John Muir? [Re: Pika]
twinmike Offline
member

Registered: 03/25/11
Posts: 43
Loc: Holbrook, AZ.
This looks like a really great hike, will you be doing this trail any time soon.
Originally Posted By Pika
No, you are wise, not a sissy. smile

If you are interested in winter hiking, you may want to look at the southern half of the Arizona Trail: Winter is the preferred time of the year to hike this section. The full trail goes from Coronado National Monument on the Mexican border to Utah near Knabb. At present, the trail is nearly 800 miles long and parts of it are along old jeep roads. The southern Arizona part of the trail is largely upland desert although it also traverses the Huachuca Mountains, The Patagonia Mountains, the eastern Santa Rita Mountains, the Rincon Mountains and the Santa Catalina Mountains. If you hike at night you will share the trail with a few undocumented immigrants. You can easily hike 300 miles of the trail in winter and only occasionally have to route find on snow-covered trail. Water is usually available along the trail in winter but not in summer or fall. Once the trail reaches the Mogollion Rim, it is continuously above 7000'; it is snowing there as I write this. A GPS would be useful for much of the southern Arizona part of the trail; there are parts that are not yet well mapped. Check out the web sites listed below.

Three season gear would be quite adequate for winter on the southern Arizona trail if you have a sleeping bag good to about 10 to 15F.

http://www.greatoutdoors.com/published/hiking-the-arizona-trail

http://www.aztrail.org/
_________________________
Many reach for distant shores only to run to the safest harbor.

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#157860 - 11/27/11 03:26 AM Re: 1 month on the John Muir? [Re: twinmike]
MPCWatkins Offline
member

Registered: 10/23/11
Posts: 40
Loc: Middle Georgia
Yes. I leave in 12 days to fly out to Tucson. If you read through the thread you can find out all the information you would want on my trip.

As everyone is, you're welcome to come out and join me for a few days if you're interested.
_________________________
"Brothers. What we do in life, echos in eternity."
-Maximus Decimus Meridius

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#157861 - 11/27/11 03:59 AM Re: Trip Outline [Re: skcreidc]
MPCWatkins Offline
member

Registered: 10/23/11
Posts: 40
Loc: Middle Georgia
Skcreidc,

Not so much that I won't change but there isn't much room to change. I don't have a guide book for the Northern sections of the trail(AZT website is missing those sections), and I would like to be able to start from the beginning.

I took a look at the map. I won't be doing anything north of Oracle since it would mean hiking up towards 15 miles a day. Thats too much for me, especially on my first long distance trip. I tried to attach a map of the section that I am doing, but it's too big and I don't have time to make it work right now. If you look at the map, it's the first twist to the right after Tucson. Basically, if you look at it, I'll be going about 30-40 miles past Tucson. If you can find something in there that you would be interested in joining me on, then that would work nicely. Let me know
_________________________
"Brothers. What we do in life, echos in eternity."
-Maximus Decimus Meridius

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#157871 - 11/27/11 12:42 PM Re: Trip Outline [Re: MPCWatkins]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Well, I just spent 2 hours trying to figure out where and when on your itinerary (as well as donated to the AZT Association. grin) So maybe I am 70% of the way there.

I think you would like me to join you at Rincon Creek for the huff over the Rincon Mountains? Maybe this would be from Dec 26 to Dec 30? Let me now if that is what you have in mind.

Any of these areas would be great to go through...just getting out and exploring new territory is fun. I also need to find out if this section is "dog friendly". You're not allergic to dogs are ya?

I think having different people connect up with you on different sections could be a pretty nice way of doing a route like this...

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#157874 - 11/27/11 02:09 PM Re: Trip Outline [Re: skcreidc]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1726
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
Much of the section through the Rincon Mountains is in Saguaro National Park. As I'm sure you are aware, dogs are not welcome in National Parks.
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#157876 - 11/27/11 02:16 PM Re: Trip Outline [Re: Pika]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Ouch! Thanks Pika. I was not able to easily read the section map I downloaded and I could not tell if that was national park or not. I need to dig up a better map of Arizona so I can see what is where (Park vs wilderness ect.)

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#158025 - 11/29/11 04:54 PM Re: Trip Outline [Re: skcreidc]
MPCWatkins Offline
member

Registered: 10/23/11
Posts: 40
Loc: Middle Georgia
Skcreidc,

Just wanted to get on quickly and confirm that I have seen your post and am looking at sections that would be fun to do together and are also dog friendly. Thankfully, I'm not allergic to dogs, I actually happen to love them! I would be great to have your dog along with us! Wish I had one of my own to keep me company!

As I have said before, school workload is on the severe upturn. This is the last week before finals, so there is much to be done on my end. I will do my best to get the information to you as soon as possible.

Pika,

As always, thank you for your advice.

All the best
_________________________
"Brothers. What we do in life, echos in eternity."
-Maximus Decimus Meridius

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#158173 - 12/02/11 12:17 AM Re: Trip Outline [Re: skcreidc]
MPCWatkins Offline
member

Registered: 10/23/11
Posts: 40
Loc: Middle Georgia
Skcredic,

I've been looking at the Data book for alternatives to the Rincon mountain pass.

There is only two other mountain passes that I cross on this segment of the trail. The first is at the very beginning, the Huachuca Mountains Dec. 13-Dec. 15. These are in the Coronado National Park which allows dogs in area limited areas of the park. I'm pretty sure that the section that I'd planned on doing is dog friendly, but I could find any empirical evidence. A phone call to them would probably be best. (520) 388-8300

The second mountain pass is over the Rincon mountains which, I believe, are in the Wilderness of Rock trail jct. I propose you join me for that one and meet me somewhere Tucson and hike to the end with me. That would be 4 days and, depending on where you meet me, 47 miles. Pretty big days I know.

Let me know the your thoughts on what I have here, and we can talk more about details if it is feasible for you to do this section with me. Look forward to hearing from you.

All the best
_________________________
"Brothers. What we do in life, echos in eternity."
-Maximus Decimus Meridius

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#158180 - 12/02/11 09:28 AM Re: Trip Outline [Re: MPCWatkins]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
MPCWatkins, I sent you a PM.


sK

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#158272 - 12/04/11 09:09 PM Re: 1 month on the John Muir? [Re: twinmike]
twinmike Offline
member

Registered: 03/25/11
Posts: 43
Loc: Holbrook, AZ.
Do you have a blog or web page? I would like to keep track of your journey, Snowshoeing in deep snow can burn 500 calories more than normal than on hard surface, there has been 30 inches of snow i on that trail in the past two weeks, How far do you plan on walking each day?
_________________________
Many reach for distant shores only to run to the safest harbor.

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#158314 - 12/06/11 08:15 AM Re: Trip Outline [Re: MPCWatkins]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1726
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
Mark, here is an update on the weather here in SE AZ as of Dec. 6, 2011. We have had a series of storms move through the area that have left snow at elevations above about 4500'. Right now it is cold; low temp last night at my place (3200') was about 26F and was about 20F at a friends place in the Whetstone Mountains (4500'). There is a gradual warming trend projected and daytime temperatures at Tucson International Airport are projected to be about 65 and nights around 33 at the time you will be arriving. I don't think that too much snow will be melting off above 6000' but it should be consolidating some in the daytime. Your two worst passages should be: over the Rincon Mountains, Manning Camp is at 8000'; and over the Santa Catalina Mountains, Summerhaven and the upper part of Oracle Ridge are also about 8000'. But, unless we get another storm soon you should have cool days and chilly nights for your hike. You should arrive here prepared for route finding and some icy and snow-covered stretches of trail. And, BTW, bring your long-johns smile .
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May I walk in beauty.

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#158316 - 12/06/11 08:39 AM Re: 1 month on the John Muir? [Re: twinmike]
MPCWatkins Offline
member

Registered: 10/23/11
Posts: 40
Loc: Middle Georgia
twinmike,
Yes I do, but as of right now it is severely outdated. This is mostly due to the fact that is more of a personal "journal" that I keep. If you plan to have a look at it, I'll toss in some quick updates about everything.

acalltothewild.blogspot.com

As far as updating on the trail, occasions where I will have wifi/enough cell service to use the internet will be few and far between. I will make it a point to update every chance that I get.

As far as Snowshoeing goes, I don't have snow shoes. Do I need them? Can I just get through it with out? Won't be quite as fun, but it would save me a lot of weight. Plan is 10 miles, but I've got breathing room. Looks like it's gearing up to be a fun Winter season!!
_________________________
"Brothers. What we do in life, echos in eternity."
-Maximus Decimus Meridius

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#158317 - 12/06/11 08:49 AM Re: Trip Outline [Re: Pika]
MPCWatkins Offline
member

Registered: 10/23/11
Posts: 40
Loc: Middle Georgia
Pika,
Good info! I'm prepared for all of those temperatures, route finding(Just got my GPS today!) and snow/ice sections of the trail. This just makes this a bit more interesting. As of right now, I'm not bringing an ice axe nor am I bringing a snow shows. Please, voice your opinions on this. I would love to hear what you have to say. Is this a fatal mistake, or can I get by? Would love to make an informed decision.

Haha I'll bring that, and a well developed wish that I'd gone with the 0 degree bag instead of my 15!!
_________________________
"Brothers. What we do in life, echos in eternity."
-Maximus Decimus Meridius

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#158318 - 12/06/11 09:13 AM Re: Trip Outline [Re: MPCWatkins]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Pika and MPCWatkins, I was thinking crampons or something like yaktrax (or some other kind of "traction on ice" device) would be more useful than snowshoes. Unless it was immediately after another dump of snow...Long range weather seems to be gearing up for relatively nice but cool weather in that area?

sK

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#158319 - 12/06/11 09:23 AM Re: Trip Outline [Re: skcreidc]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Pika,

I am thinking that even this time of year, MPCWatkins needs to be prepared to carry somewhere between 2 to 4 liters of water for potential dry camps. What would you suggest?

Also, for the higher elevations, AS LONG AS IT LOOKS LIKE NO NEW SNOW, I am thinking that only traction devices for the shoes are needed? Do you need an ice axe for these sections? Or can you just use snowshoe/hiking poles.

sK


Edited by skcreidc (12/06/11 09:29 AM)

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#158320 - 12/06/11 09:41 AM Re: Trip Outline [Re: skcreidc]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1726
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I almost always carry at least 2 liters of water when I am hiking in this part of Arizona. Along the Arizona Trail, two liters should get you to the next reliable water unless you are hiking in the hot part of the year; not a concern right now. With two liters, you might get there thirsty but you will get there.

In my experience, icy trails are the major winter concern. Some parts of the trail will traverse steep, icy, north-facing slopes; snowshoes aren't much help in these places but traction devices such as Yak Tracks or instep crampons are really comforting. I doubt that you will encounter too much unconsolidated snow that is more than shin deep, walking that stuff is not much more work than is driving a pair of snowshoes IMO. The only place where I think snowshoes might help would be the stretch between Manning Camp and Italy Spring, in the Rincons, and in the Santa Catilina Mts. around Summerhaven.

Added later.
I don't think an ice axe would be much help. You shouldn't be in places where you need to cut steps or do self arrests. I used to carry an ice axe and unless I was actually climbing on steep ice and snow I used it mainly for balance; hiking poles will serve the same purpose. Hiking poles and traction devices would be the better bet.


Edited by Pika (12/06/11 10:25 AM)
_________________________
May I walk in beauty.

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#158329 - 12/06/11 12:18 PM Re: Trip Outline [Re: Pika]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Thanks for the rapid response Pika. Much appreciated.

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#158345 - 12/06/11 03:04 PM Re: Trip Outline [Re: MPCWatkins]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1726
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I just returned from a trip into Tucson and had a chance to check out the snow levels on the Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountains. On the south- and west-facing slopes, the snow has melted off, mostly, to about the 6500'-7000' level and will probably continue to melt. On the north facing slopes of the Santa Rita Mountains, the snow level is lower, a bit below Josephine Saddle which is about 7000'. So, unless there is a major change in the weather, you won't have too much deep snow to deal with. That doesn't mean you won't run into icy patches of trail but I doubt that you'll be wading through waist deep fluff either.
_________________________
May I walk in beauty.

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#158355 - 12/06/11 07:32 PM Re: Trip Outline [Re: Pika]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
As I remember it,that stretch from the summit Mica Mountain to Italian Spring is a real refrigerator, definitely a nice stretch of trail.....

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#158379 - 12/07/11 02:37 AM Re: Trip Outline [Re: Pika]
MPCWatkins Offline
member

Registered: 10/23/11
Posts: 40
Loc: Middle Georgia
Have just ordered some low-profile crampons. Check em' out! Went with Crampons instead of yak traxs or microspikes becuase of the added versatility they will give me in future mountaineering. While they're not for vertical ice climbing, they will give me more leeway than the other options. From what I read, yak traks and microspikes are really only good for flat hiking, essentially glacier travel. I'm of course open to suggestions. Not to late to cancel my order!

Pika, as always, thank you for the advice. Just to clarify, the Santa Catalinas are the first mountain range that I will cross, correct?

I don't have hiking poles, and I really don't like hiking with them. To me, they're a nuisance. I like the option of having my hands free while I walk. I hook my thumbs in my pack or a loop on my pack when I want them "stowed". I'd much rather pick up a stick and hike with that since I can always throw it away when I'm tired of it. I'm willing to be persuaded though. Any big reason why I should change my mind?

Skcreidc, sounds like you picked a great section to join me on! Should be fun! Looking forward to it!


Edited by MPCWatkins (12/07/11 02:48 AM)
_________________________
"Brothers. What we do in life, echos in eternity."
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#158383 - 12/07/11 07:26 AM Re: Trip Outline [Re: MPCWatkins]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
You will cross the Rincons before you come to the Catalinas. It is a fairly noticeable uphill pull to Mica Mountain and Manning Camp - my old stomping ground.

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#158384 - 12/07/11 08:47 AM Re: Trip Outline [Re: oldranger]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1726
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
Yeah, like OR says, it is a fair uphill pull from Rincon Creek to Manning Camp and then a bit more of a climb to cross the range just east of Mica Mountain. There is a junction there with a spur trail that will take you to the summit of Mica Mt., the high point in the Rincons. From the junction, is is downhill to Italy Spring. I suspect that you will be hiking on, or around, snow from below Manning Camp to near Italy Spring. You will be hiking through some beautiful pine forests in this section of the trail though. Italy Spring is on a generally north-facing slope and can be snowy.

I don't like trekking poles either but got so accustomed to carrying an ice axe in one hand in the old days that I now carry a single, collapsible trekking pole and like it a lot. The thing I like is the sharp, grippy, carbide tip that holds well on ice and wet rock. I just collapse the pole and carry it on my pack if I don't need/want it. The one I have is made by Leki and has a handle like that of a cane; seems somehow appropriate for someone my age.
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May I walk in beauty.

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#158386 - 12/07/11 09:16 AM Re: Trip Outline [Re: oldranger]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Old ranger, you sure have that right! My first day will be Rincon Creek to Manning camp. A nice little loosening up stretch of over 13 miles. Should go through a few ecosystems in that climb I think. Never been to Saguaro National Park before...should be good!

I've been told the microspikes are pretty good. Maybe not as durable as they could be. I'm getting a pair for my wife for hiking up Tahquitz and Suicide Rock this winter. The thing about crampons is that you need to store them in such a way that they don't tear holes in the rest of your stuff. Whereas Yaktrax store easily and are lighter.

I'm bringing poles if I get a whiff of it being pretty icy up there. As I am spending Christmas near Payson and will get up to the rim, I should have a good idea.

sK

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#158393 - 12/07/11 01:31 PM Re: JMT in Winter? Or Arizona Trail? [Re: MPCWatkins]
MPCWatkins Offline
member

Registered: 10/23/11
Posts: 40
Loc: Middle Georgia
This is getting really good! Im starting to get pretty excited. Makes it hard to study! Haha.

Ok. Glad to hear Im not the only one who doesnt like them. I definitely see the benefit, and Im sure it has saved some people some bad falls, but for me Im just not interested. I could bring the one collapsable one you mentioned Pika, but I probably wont. I would never use it. Would just be extraneous weight.

How much of the AZT have you actually hiked Pika? I didn't know you knew so much of it.

Yeah, I took another look, and microspikes do seem like a pretty good option for just regular ice walking. Yak trax still seem seem pretty weak though. With only that one strap,Look like they could slip off at a moments notice.
_________________________
"Brothers. What we do in life, echos in eternity."
-Maximus Decimus Meridius

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#158396 - 12/07/11 02:24 PM Re: JMT in Winter? Or Arizona Trail? [Re: MPCWatkins]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Kick butt in school and make sure you bring a camera!

sK

PS I prefer the reliability of crampons myself. My wife doesn't go on icy conditions much.


Edited by skcreidc (12/07/11 02:26 PM)
Edit Reason: added ps

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