February 17, 2010

Sutherland Trail - Catalina State Park

With temperatures around 75 degrees, we took another 6 mile hike, this time up the Sutherland Trail to the Cargodera Spring at the base of the Cargodera Canyon which runs up to the very summit of 9,100 foot Mount Lemmon.

The trail starts at the same spot as the Romero Canyon trail. It tends to hug the outside of the mountains, rather than penetrating up into the range following the canyons. Instead, the trail follows the desert bajada full of saguaros and mesquites. But, it does climb slowly and by the time you reach the Cargodera Spring, you are actually at 3700 feet elevation (higher than Romero Pools).

The trail itself is well-graded and much easier on the feet than the Romero Trail. However, there is little shade, so even when it is 75 degrees, it gets really hot with the sun beating down on you. This is especially the case when hauling a two-year old on your back!

The trail reaches the first crossing of Cargodera Creek at about 2.4 miles (a wonderful smooth-rock waterfall). Then, it meets up with an old 4x4 road that parallels the powerlines that run all the way up the face of Mount Lemmon to the small village of Summerhaven at the summit of the mountain at over 8,000 feet. It is definitely a feat of engineering to see those powerlines going nearly vertically up the mountain.

The 4x4 road is extremely rocky and much more difficult to walk on than the trail before it. Heading up the road for about half a mile you will see a couple of way trails that drop down to the creek to rest next to the cool waters and under the shade of Sycamores and Willows.

Hilina really wanted me to haul her up to the snow up top to make a "snowman". It was hard to explain to her that I was in no position to add 7 more miles and 6,000 feet that lay ahead on the trail.

Hilina hunting for water beetles and various aquatic larva

No comments: