Posts Tagged ‘Sutherland Trail’

I was tagged in a game by my friend Kimberlie Dame, who writes a fantastic blog called The New Nomads. The game was started at Tripbase.com and involves finding the 7 blog posts within my site that fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Most beautiful.
  2. Most popular.
  3. Most controversial.
  4. Most helpful.
  5. A post who’s success surprised you.
  6. A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved.
  7. The post of which you are most proud.

It was fun to wander through my past posts. Here are my picks:

1. Most Beautiful: Royal Arch Loop via Point Huitzil– My favorite Grand Canyon trip so far. It was the first time I got to see my beloved Grand Canyon in the snow and it made everything that much more beautiful. Also, the petroglyphs on the Point Huitzil Route were spectacular.

Majestic Fan Island

2. Most Popular: Royal Arch Loop– I feel so fortunate to have done this incredible route twice. This post is from my October 2010 trip. The great part about this post is that people come to my website looking for trail beta and in addition get a crazy story about the group dynamics of the trip. (and hopefully don’t make the same mistakes as I did, going with such a large group on a tough route with people you don’t know)

Elves Chasm

3. Most Controversial: A Tale of Two Doomed State Parks-Since my blog is more of a trail journal, I tend not to get into controversial topics, but when I learned in 2010 that Arizona was planning on closing its state parks due to lack of funding, I had to speak up on the insanity. Fortunately, for now most of the state parks remain open. Unfortunately, the current legislature has been swiping money from an already-tenuous situation. You can read more about it in this recent article in the Tucson Weekly.

Lost Dutchman State Park in bloom

4. Most Helpful: Mount Lemmon to Catalina State Park via Sutherland Trail– There isn’t a whole lot on the internet about the Sutherland Trail, and I was happy to be able to help others who want to hike this little-used but fantastic trail.

Sutherland Trail

5. A post who’s success surprised you: A moonlit hike in Sabino Canyon– Just a short blog about hiking up the Sabino Canyon Road in the moonlight, but it still generates quite a few hits. Since that post was written, I have done that hike what seems like a million times, but it never gets old. I like looking for critters on the road in the summertime, and have had some fantastic sightings- rattlesnakes of all kinds, ringtails, skunks, deer, and many many tarantulas, frogs, and toads. One of my favorites was a baby Gila Monster, about four inches long and an inch wide.

Rattlesnake on a night hike

6. A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved: A Night on The Spine– A short but rugged solo bushwhacking backpacking adventure near the White Canyon Wilderness that describes perfectly how solo hiking rejuvenates my soul.

Morning view

7. The post of which you are most proud: This was a tough one. Which to choose? I thought about nominating my post about the recent Birds, Blues, and Bellydance Benefit for Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson. I put the entire event together by myself and am very proud of my volunteer work and fundraising efforts through this blog. But since this is a hiking blog, I’ll have to go with A look back at 2010. It is really amazing to me all the incredible adventures I packed into last year. In part because I have had fibromyalgia for almost 15 years now and when I was really sick, if you would have told me that I was going to hike and backpack over 700 miles in one year, my bedridden self would have thought that you were delusional.

Holdout Canyon

Thanks to Kimberlie for this fun exercise! She is quite the adventurer and a good friend who I met through the Arizona Trail. You should definitely go check out and support Kimberlie’s Kickstarter project of her plan to hike the US for three years: All Who Wander…Living Outside of it All. Here’s her description of the project:

“The plan is to walk away (literally and with great fanfare) from my life in Brooklyn, New York and head south along the Appalachian Trail. After completing the trail, I will then head west onto a network of smaller trails along the southern periphery of the United States. Along this route I will join up with a Hobo convention, a Renaissance camp, a Rainbow gathering, and other people in subcultures that I already am aware of, and hopefully with some that I will become aware of. I will then begin the Pacific Crest Trail in California and head north to its terminus, completing all 2,650 miles of it with varied and interesting people. I will then enter the “flaneur” part of the journey,intentionally  allowing open space and time to research and pursue new trails, new people, and new experiences that are outside the range of normal civilization. I will return to Brooklyn when three years has passed. All throughout this time, I will be doing a whole bunch of writing, communicating, and figuring it all out. My legs and fingers will become deft and muscular.”

In Wildlife Rehab Fundraiser news, we have still been very busy with all sorts of babies. One of my recent favorites is a racoon:

This is what the baby Raccoon thiinks of our food offerings

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I’ve put together a look back at the past year of hiking and backpacking. For those who are regular readers, I’ve added quite a few pictures that didn’t make it in to the blog in other posts. You can click on the name of the hike to go to the journal entry about that hike, and all of the pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them. Enjoy!

In January I teamed up with Bill Bens and Mitch Stevens for a hike up Ragged Top in the Silverbell Mountains, northwest of Tucson. It was the first of a series of hikes we did together that required scrambling, something I really hadn’t experienced much before this year. I really took to it, and sought out a number of hikes with a scrambling element for the rest of the year.

Ragged Top

Coming up the South Gully- Photo by Bill Bens

Me and Bill at the summit with Picacho Peak in the background

In February I started the month with another scrambling route up Elephant Head in the Santa Ritas with Bill and Mitch. Another rugged, tough route leading to superlative views.

Elephant Head

Summit Ridge of Elephant Head

Summit ridge of Elephant Head

Summit cairn made of elephants

The day after my 36th birthday, I hiked my first piece of the Grand Enchantment Trail, a 730-mile route that goes from Phoenix to Albuquerque. I also started my Wildlife Rehabilitation Fundraiser to benefit Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson, where I am a volunteer.

Starting the Grand Enchantment Trail

Antelope Peak

Nighthawk at Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson

In March I tackled another piece of the Grand Enchantment Trail in the Superstitions from the Tortilla TH to First Water TH. This was my first time in the western Superstitions, and I loved every rugged, rocky minute of it.

Campsite View on Horse Ridge, looking at a snowy 4 Peaks

Entering La Barge Box

Me and the Weaver's Needle

I attempted to summit Baboquivari again, but was turned away by ice and snow on the first pitch. However, we got to spend the night at the Lion’s Ledge, one of my favorite places I’ve ever slept and any time on Babo is time well spent.

Babo's East Face

Dave takes in the sunrise

Lion's Ledge- we slept right under the cave-like spot with the dark stain running down the face

I also wrote about Arizona’s State Parks that were slated to close due to lack of funding and hiked the Hunter Trail at Picacho Peak State Park and the Flatiron and Peak 5024 at Lost Dutchman State Park. Thankfully, only a couple of the state parks ended up closing and nearby towns helped pick up some of the expenses for the other ones. It was a great spring for wildflowers. I gave several slideshow presentations about my Arizona Trail hike to raise funds for Wildlife Rehab.

Poppies and Lupine at Picacho Peak

Lost Dutchman State Park in bloom- Flatiron in the upper right

Hoodoos on the way to Peak 5024

Looking down on the Flatiron

In April I was fortunate to hike two pieces of the Grand Enchantment Trail in April- the Santa Teresa Wilderness with my friend Judy Eidson, and the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness. To give an idea of how remote the Santa Teresas are, when I called the Coronado National Forest to ask a question about the trails, they said, “We have no idea, no one goes out there, let us know what you find when you come back, ok?” I look forward to my return to Holdout Canyon – a spectacular place.

Holdout Canyon, Santa Teresa Wilderness

Winding Mariposa Lily

Taking in the view

Climbing above Preacher Canyon

Pretty waterfall in Cottonwood Canyon

Desert Honeysuckle in bloom, Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness

Great Blue Heron

Bends in the Stream

In MayI heard that Forest Service crews had been clearing the Sutherland Trail, so I teamed up with Lee Allen, David Rabb, and Tom Kimmel to hike from the top of Mount Lemmon to Catalina State Park via this formerly fire-damaged trail. The 6000 ft. of elevation loss was tough on the knees, but the views and the company more than made up for it.

Happy to be on the Sutherland Trail

Sutherland Trail


All spring long, I’d been telling my husband Brian, “Don’t worry, once it heats up in June I’ll be home a lot more often!” But then I bought the one piece of gear that made my summer bearable: my green inflatable innertube, known affectionately as “the floatie”, and the hiking really didn’t slow down at all. The floatie’s maiden voyage was to Hutch’s Pool on a overnight backpacking trip using the Box Camp Trail down to Sabino Canyon.

Coming down the ridge on the Box Camp Tr.

Coral Bean bloom

Happy to have Hutch's Pool all to myself!

I enjoyed the floatie so much, I took it on a trip to Horse Camp Canyon in the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness and floated the black pool on a day when I had the only permit for the whole canyon.

Important piece of summer gear in Aravaipa

Made even sweeter by the fact that I had it all to myself!

Also in June, I began harvesting and processing saguaro fruit and making syrup and delicious fruit leather. I really enjoyed it and everyone loved the flavor. Can’t wait to do it on a bigger scale next summer.

Saguaro fruit cut open

In July, a month that I would normally be cowering in my house avoiding the heat, I was able to find lots of ways to keep active this year. I went on short hikes early in the morning or night hikes, and was able to get away to the cooler Sky Islands for a couple of backpacking trips. Early in the month, I went to the Santa Ritas for an overnight at Baldy Saddle and saw one of the best sunsets I’d seen all year.

Baldy Saddle- Yep, I was right- it was an awesome campsite!

Looking north at the Santa Rita Crest- 7:19 pm

My favorite of the evening- 7:34 pm

Mountain Spiny Lizard Fight

Later in the month, I hiked the Grand Enchantment Trail through the tall, cool Pinaleno Mountains (also known as “The Grahams”) with Judy Eidson and Connie Simmons.

Through the waist-high ferns on the Clark Peak Tr.

View from Taylor Pass

Slick Rock, Ash Creek Trail

Sunset on The Pinnacles, Ash Creek Trail

The "spirited cascade"

I squeezed in one last hike in July, a trip to Chiricahua National Monument with my friend Wendy. Fantastic hoodoos and rock formations to tickle the imagination.

Hoodoos come in Large, Small, and Medium size for your viewing enjoyment

Punch and Judy Rock

August was all about the pools: Jammed Log Pool, Romero Pools, Lemmon Pools, Tanque Verde Falls- I hiked in early, got my float on, and was hiking out by 9 or 10 in the morning.

Who says the desert is a dry place? Photo by Bill Bens

Wendy takes a turn on the floatie at Jammed Log Pool

Tanque Verde Falls dwarfs me in my floatie- photo by Wendy Lotze

Lemmon Pools

Fly Agaric Mushrooms- these were over 8 inches across
Campsite view down Lemmon Canyon toward Tucson
Monday Morning Goodness at Romero Pools
Rattlesnake from night hikes in Sabino Canyon

Gila Monster from night hikes in Sabino Canyon

In September the leisurely hikes of summer came to an end, because it was time to start ramping up the difficulty levels to get in shape for the Grand Canyon in October. I hiked a long loop in the Santa Ritas, Pusch Peak, a dayhike to Lemmon Pools and an overnighter in Aravaipa to break in my new hiking shoes on uneven terrain with a full pack.

Lunch at Burnt Saddle- Elephant Head on the ridge in the foreground

So many unusual wildflowers! Crest Trail, Santa Ritas

Tiny Twin-Spotted Rattlesnake on the Foursprings Trail, Santa Ritas

View west from the summit of Pusch Peak

Lounging in Aravaipa Canyon

Rincon Mountains seen from the Lemmon Rock Trail

Shadow of Mount Lemmon on the Galiuro Mountains

And at the end of the month, I snuck in one last hike with the floatie in Sycamore Canyon in the Pajarita Wilderness near the Mexican border with some friends.

Near the slot pool

The Slot Pool- Bill and Ray went up and to the right, Lee and I swam across.

The green floatie- best $2 I've spent all year!

As much as I grumbled about training with a loaded pack on dayhikes, I was thankful for it in October when I spent 11 days in the Grand Canyon backpacking the Royal Arch Loop and at the Grand Canyon Hikers and Backpackers Association Volunteer Service Project. The Royal Arch Loop was the most difficult trip I’ve done to date.  Remember at the beginning of the year when I said I enjoyed scrambling on hikes? The whole year I’d made myself more and more used to scrambling and traveling on exposed areas, and it all came in handy on the Royal Arch Loop. Aesthetically, my favorite trip of the entire year and I can’t wait to do it again.

Sunrise on Mt. Huethawali from South Bass Trailhead

A Grand Vista

The Royal Arch

The anticipation was way worse than the actual rappel

Elves Chasm

A majestic pose before continuing across the slope

Kent, Ron, and Paul on the saddle leaving Copper Canyon

I hiked out of the Royal Arch Loop and back into the Grand Canyon for six days of work on the Volunteer Service Project. We got a lot of work done at Cottonwood and Bright Angel Campgrounds, and in our free time we hiked up to the North Rim for fall colors, pizza, and beer, as well as up Wall Creek and the Miner’s Route. 11 days and a little over a hundred miles of Grand Canyon goodness.

Hiking up to Cottonwood CG

Yay! We walked up into fall on the North Kaibab Trail!

Wall Creek Waterfall

Cairn where the Old Miner's Route meets the Tonto

After spending the last half of October mourning the fact that I wasn’t in the Grand Canyon anymore, in November I found plenty of places close to home to hold my interest. I took two solo backpacking trips: one to The Spine near the White Canyon Wilderness, and one on the Samaniego Ridge Trail in the Catalinas. I also hiked the little-used Brush Corral Trail in the northeastern part of the Catalinas with some friends.

Traveling atop The Spine from boulder to boulder

5:38 pm- looks like a postcard

Morning view of the White Canyon Wilderness

Samaniego Peak

Hiking up to the Mule Ears

Samaniego- what a wonderful ridge!

Incredible views on the Brush Corral Trail

Brush Corral Trail ridgeline

Between the oaks

In December I made one last trip to the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness (my 4th this year) and enjoyed the fall colors. It is trailbuilding season on the Arizona Trail and I led my first work event up near Oracle on the 9th  in the Black Hills passage. I plan on sneaking in one last trip before the end of the year to my favorite very large hole in the ground before the year’s over.

Fall colors in Aravaipa Canyon

The inagural crew of the Crazies North

Whew! I sure got a lot of adventures in this year! Thanks to one of my favorite websites HikeArizona.com, I was able to keep track of my miles hiked and other stats. This is the first year that I logged all my hikes, and by the end of the year, I will have hiked approximately 750 miles. Lucky me.

I want to thank all of my readers and people who came to my talks who donated to my Wildlife Rehab Fundraiser. Since February, over $700 worth of donations have been given to Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson! If you haven’t donated yet but would like to, you can send a check made out to Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson to Pima Federal Credit Union  P.O. Box 50267 Tucson, Arizona 85703. Please put Hiking in the memo, so they know where you heard about their facility. Any amount is appreciated! You can also donate via PayPal by clicking the button below. Even if you don’t have a PayPal account, you can donate securely via PayPal with a credit card.

"Elfie" the Elf Owl thanks you for your donations!

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Sutherland Trail sign with trail visible above

When researching the Sutherland Trail in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, I found very few triplogs from hikers. And the ones I found said that it went through some really beautiful areas, but that it was a tough, brushy, steep, sometimes hard-to-find 12 miles and 6300 feet of elevation gain to get from Catalina State Park to the parking area at the top of Mount Lemmon. Naturally, I was intrigued.

At an Arizona Trail Association meeting in February, I was talking to Rachael Hohl who works with the Forest Service. I asked her what trails were scheduled for maintenance this spring and she said the Sutherland and Samaniego Ridge Trails. I was excited to hear that they were going to be fixed. I recently called Rachael to get an update and she said that crews had gotten all but 1 1/2 miles done on the Sutherland Trail, and that the part they hadn’t done was flagged. (Work is still being done on the Samaniego Ridge Trail, I can’t remember how many miles they have left to go.) I contacted some of my Crazies trailbuilding crew that I volunteer with, and we decided to take advantage of the lower temps forecast for the middle of the week.

One of my favorite parts of the Catalinas is that you can drive up to the top and hike downhill. You start your hike in the pines at 9000ft, going through six different life zones, each with their own type of vegetation, until you come to the Sonoran Desert at the base.  We dropped a car off at Catalina State Park and drove up to the parking area at the top of Mt. Lemmon. There were little patches of snow remaining at the highest elevations. We took the Mount Lemmon Trail (an old roadbed) downhill past some fantastic rock formations. There are great views along the upper ridgelines, partly because in 2003, the Aspen Fire burned 84,000 acres of the Catalinas. To some, the scorched stumps of trees might look unsightly, but personally I welcome the views that are a result of the burn. At a junction with a big, metal Arizona Trail sign, we took the Canada Del Oro Trail a short distance to the junction with the Sutherland Trail.

Lee, Tom, and David at the Canada Del Oro Junction

The views just got better and better as we hiked steeply down a ridge, following flagging and cairns in the upper mile and a half of trail that the trail crews had not gotten to yet. There were a number of downed trees, not surprising given the strong windstorms that we had this winter.

Happy to be on the Sutherland Trail
Under the deadfall on the flagged portion of the trail

The mile and a half went pretty quickly, and soon we were walking on just-maintained trail that had been re-benched. Much thanks goes out to the trail crew, because we could see all the brush and deadfall that they had to hack through to clear up this trail. When we stopped for a break at a particularly scenic spot, we were amazed at how far we could see in almost every direction. The Superstition Ridgeline and Four Peaks, near Phoenix, were clearly visible. Amazingly enough, I could even pick out the spire of the Weaver’s Needle- a volcanic spire that I hiked past on the first segment of the Grand Enchantment Trail.  Also visible along the trail was The Window, a natural arch in the front range of the Catalinas. In general, views on the Sutherland were great because it uses the ridge rather than the canyon to travel downhill.

Superstition Ridgeline in the distance on the right, Weaver's Needle visible at far right- click to enlarge

The Window is the hole in the rock in the middle right of the frame- click to enlarge

Once we were on the trail that had been worked on, the going was easier. We stayed in the tree cover for quite a while-there were lots of large pines and madrone trees on this part of the mountain that had escaped the fire of 2003. We crossed several drainages with running water and light pink flowering locust trees, and then came to an old metal sign. (1st picture in the post)

The trail now followed a 4WD road that steeply lost elevation and we took a break for some shade and a snack at a very lovely spot with a great running stream and rocks to sit on. I would like to come back here to camp sometime. I would have rather done this hike as an overnighter, but my husband Brian asked me to take a month off of backpacking because he was tired of being left home alone all the time. So a long dayhike it is. I understand his position, but that doesn’t mean that I am not counting the days till I am able to backpack again…


Eventually, at 4500 ft., the trail met up with some powerlines that we had seen earlier in the day, way up at 7700 ft. The road was rocky and steep and hard on the feet and knees, especially since we had already dropped 4500 ft. in elevation. I was happy that I had brought an elastic knee brace, because it alleviated the strain on my left knee, which began to ache around the middle of the hike.

Roadwalk near the powerlines

There were many wildflowers, and the ocotillo were still blooming at this elevation. The area started to look familiar as we descended toward the Baby Jesus Trail intersection.

Thistle bloom

I could see the Baby Jesus Ridge stretching out to the north- it is a beautiful stretch of trail with large rock outcroppings and giant forests of saguaros that I hiked in the fall. I was happy that there was only one short stretch of road left before we were back on singletrack toward Catalina State Park. We crossed Cargodera Canyon again before we headed into the park. I was really surprised at how much water there still was in the middle of May.

Crossng Cargodera Canyon

The singletrack was a definite relief after the stretch of rocky road. Once in Catalina State Park, the trail wove in and out of blooming cactus. My hiking companions were moving fast to get back to the car, as there was still a lot of driving to do at the end of the day to retrieve the car on top of the mountain. The trail was super-easy compared to what we’d been through all day, so the time flew by. There was water in every wash crossing all the way back to the parking lot. We kept waiting to run into the crowds that frequent the park, but amazingly made it all the way back without seeing a single soul for the whole eight hours, 12 miles, and over 6000 feet of elevation loss.

Back on singletrack through Catalina State Park

I was excited about finally having seen the Sutherland Trail. It was really scenic, and all the running water was a treat. It’s always so interesting to hike through all the different types of vegetation in one day. After driving back to the base of the mountain to retrieve my car, I topped off a great day with a visit to El Charro for dinner.

For the Wildlife Rehab Fundraiser picture, I have something really special. We had a baby coyote come into the rehab last week. Only a month and a half old, it was covered in cactus spines and was found on someone’s driveway. We picked cactus spines out of her for a couple of days, and I am happy to report that she is doing much better and has been transferred to a facility that has other coyote pups.

Baby Coyote

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Wooden Trough Spring on the Baby Jesus Ridge Trail looking north

In March 2007, I was looking around on the internet for new hikes, and I came across the tantalizingly named Baby Jesus Ridge Trail in the Catalinas. The trail
description I got was from a mountain biking website, and I did a little scouting via Google Earth. There is a loop that connects the 50-Year Trail with the Baby

Jesus, Sutherland, Link Trail, and back to the 50-Year. I set out to do this loop in 2007 and it was a spectacular failure. I had read that the Baby Jesus Trail would be overgrown, so I didn’t think twice when I began going up the ridge, fighting all sorts of catclaw and mesquite. I will never forget the moment I realized that I was way off track and that my planned loop was never going to happen. Then, as I was backtracking towards my car, it started to rain and the sun set on my little adventure. I ended up having to hike for a couple of hours in the rain and dark, navigating by the GPS that my husband had thankfully gotten for me when I started hiking solo. I was still a novice at working my GPS and it had no base maps on it, otherwise I would have realized a lot earlier that I was not going the way I thought I was. I had cell reception in this area and was able to call my husband and tell him that I was okay, but I was going to be home a lot later than I thought. It all worked out in the end, but not before I was completely freaked out by a glowing pair of eyes that I saw under a tree on my way back to the car.

So, with that backstory, it was with a tiny bit of trepidation that I attempted this same loop this week. Between the first hike and this one, I had found my way
800 miles across Arizona on the sometimes-hard-to-find Arizona Trail. Could the Baby Jesus be that difficult? How would I fare on my return to the Baby Jesus
Loop? Besides, this time I was armed with a GPS and I knew how to use it…

50-Year Tr. looking north

50-Year Tr. looking north

The forecast was for a high of 67- perfect hiking weather under blue skies dotted with fluffy white clouds. I started out off of Golder Ranch Road (the same place as my blog entry from 11-24) and hiked the familiar 50-Year Trail to FR 642 to the junction in the circular wash with the cottonwoods. There are several paths in this area and you have to pick the path with a carsonite post that says “restoration area” with a brown metal step-over gate in the fence. This is, I believe where I made my mistake on the previous hike. Because once I passed the fenceline, the Baby Jesus Ridge Trail was in perfect shape. It even looked like someone had pruned it back recently. As I was hiking this clear, easy-to-follow trail, I couldn’t believe it. I kept thinking, “I was never on the Baby Jesus,
that’s why I couldn’t complete the loop!” Wow. That was a humbling moment. The trail follows a lower ridge that is a little bit farther east and behind the main ridge that you can see at the trailhead. I think I went up the larger ridge on my previous visit. After my initial shock wore off, I was able to fully enjoy what the Baby Jesus has to offer. Beautiful views of Samaniego Ridge and Samaniego Peak dusted with snow. There were great piles of bouldery formations, and -surprise- clear trail. There were some foot, horse, and bike prints, and it looks like it gets a decent bit of use. There is a big field of behemoth saguaros that the trail winds through near the beginning.

Baby Jesus Ridge Tr.

I could look north and see my route that I took on last week’s backpacking trip through Sutherland Gap and the Biosphere in the distance. My favorite part of
the whole loop was when I got close to Wooden Trough Spring, almost 3 miles into the Baby Jesus Trail. This was all new to me, and I really liked the peaks on
the ridge that forms Cargodera Canyon. Great peaks with sheer cliffsides. I reached the spring, which is right on the trail, and was surprised to find a healthy-looking population of showy orange and black goldfish living in the clear water. One of the orange fishes was as big as my hand! The area near the spring would make a great camp spot, and I filed it away in my “places to come back and spend the night” file. From the spring to the Sutherland junction, the trail was
slightly more overgrown, but mostly at ankle-level.

I reached Flat Rock Meadow, a wash crossing with- you guessed it- flat rocks. I knew that the Sutherland Trail junction couldn’t be far away, so I passed up this
spot and continued on to the next scenic place to stop and eat lunch. The Baby Jesus Ridge Tr. is about 4 miles long, but not marked with any kind of sign at
either end. I reached the Sutherland junction, at a large cairn on a powerline road. Shortly afterward, I found a beautiful spot for lunch on a rock outcrop
overlooking the changing sycamores and cottonwoods in Cargodera Canyon.

Cargodera Canyon with Tortolita, Silverbell Mtns. and Ragged Top in the distance

I have not hiked the Sutherland Trail at all, and this small peek makes me very interested. The Sutherland Trail can be followed all the way up to the top of
Mount Lemmon. Of course, the way I would hike it is to get dropped off at the top and hike down rather than up the 6000 feet elevation gain.

But for today, I was only following the Sutherland Trail, at this point a rocky road, for one mile before continuing to the Link trail that would take me back to the 50-Year trail. The Link “trail” is actually a very rocky road. I was glad to be going downhill. I think that is the reason that most writeups have this loop going
clockwise. Much better to gain elevation on singletrack and lose it on a rough road. The Link Trail headed into Sutherland Wash and through a gate, well-
signed the whole way. After 2.2 miles, I reached the 50-Year Jct. and turned north, glad to be back on singletrack after the rocky and sandy jeep road.

This part of the 50-Year is not as interesting as the northern part that goes through the boulders, but it got me back to my car in no time flat. From the time Iwas approaching Sutherland Wash, I kept hearing someone firing a gun, over and over and over again. The trail would look like it was going toward the sound,
and then thankfully veer away at the last minute. I saw some cars parked on the jeep road, but never saw the people that were out shooting.

Looking back on the Baby Jesus Ridge

Total time for this 10.5 mile hike was 4.5 hours, 15oo ft. elevation gain. I really enjoyed this loop- the first half is more interesting than the second half, but the whole thing has great views. I will definitely be back to the Baby Jesus to camp out, but I will be waiting until it warms up a little bit. There are petroglyphs in this area, and I will be returning to this area next week to check them out. I will be sure to post pictures!

Click the picture below to see the rest of the pictures from this hike!

50-Year to Baby Jesus to Sutherland Loop

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