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Mt. Lemmon fall color hike - report & photos

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  • Bill Bens
    Yesterday (Friday) I led ten Quail Creek Hikers on a fall color trek on Mt. Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains. We hiked the usual suspects for colorful
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 22, 2011
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      Yesterday (Friday) I led ten Quail Creek Hikers on a fall color trek on Mt. Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains. We hiked the "usual suspects" for colorful autumn foliage on Mt. Lemmon - Bear Wallow, Marshall Gulch, and Aspen Draw Trails.

      After dropping off two shuttle cars at Ski Valley, we began our one way hike at the Bear Wallow meadow among Rocky Mountain big tooth maples ablaze in reds, oranges, and yellows:

      IMG_5954

      IMG_5958

      As we approached the Catalina Highway underpass on the unofficial but well used "Bear Wallow trail", the culvert framed more fall color yet to come en route to Soldier Camp:

      IMG_5962

      IMG_5964

      Based upon the amount of leaf litter on the trail, fall color in the Bear Wallow area might have peaked earlier in the week:

      IMG_5968

      IMG_5970

      Despite the fallen leaves, there was still lots of color in the trees:

      IMG_5976

      IMG_5977

      After hiking about a mile in the Bear Wallow area we we reached the Sunset Trail head at Soldier Camp:

      IMG_5978

      Unlike Bear Wallow, the fall color virtually disappeared on the Sunset Trail. The one exception was a distant view across upper Sabino Canyon to the young aspens growing in the area of the lower Aspen Trail:

      IMG_5979

      The dead snags are a reminder of the 2003 Aspen Fire which ravaged Mt. Lemmon.

      After hiking 1.6 miles on the Sunset Trail we arrived at Marshall Gulch. The first thing we noticed was the new and improved restrooms:

      IMG_5982

      The new restrooms are a small part of a larger improvement project proposed for the Marshall Gulch recreation site:

      IMG_5981

      At Marshall Gulch, we began our hike on the lower fork of the trail which led us through a canopy of maples along the creek:

      IMG_5986

      IMG_5988

      IMG_5989

      With only a few leaves down the fall color in Marshall Gulch appeared to be at its peak on Friday:

      IMG_6003

      After hiking 1.2 miles through another rainbow of autumn color on the Marshall Gulch Trail, we arrived at Marshall Saddle. From the saddle we headed off  on the upper Aspen Trail toward Radio Ridge.  Like the Sunset Trail, the upper Aspen Trail has very little fall color. After 1.3 miles of steep climbing, we finally topped out on Radio Ridge near the top of the Sky Valley ski lift:

      IMG_6004

      From Radio Ridge, we descended the 1.6 mile Aspen Draw Trail down toward Ski Valley through a mix of spruce, old growth fir, golden maples, and towering aspens:

      IMG_6015

      IMG_6007

      IMG_6014

      Although the maples were about done for the season, the aspen peak is yet to come!:

      IMG_6029

      Our one-way Bear Wallow to Ski Valley hike was 7 miles and 1,500' of net elevation gain.

      IMG_5997

      TucsonHikers members can view additional and larger view images here:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TucsonHikers/photos/album/1126215105/pic/list

      Daily Digest recipients can view above trip report WITH photos here:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TucsonHikers/message/6231

      ...just another crummy day in the Sonoran Desert!

      Bill

      P.S.  The new Sawmill Restaurant in Summerhaven is coming right along:

      IMG_6033

       

       

       

       

    • scott campbell
      Beautiful pics Bill! Gorgeous color. Thanks for the report and uploading the photos. Of course, what else have you got to do? You lucky dog. ...
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 23, 2011
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        Beautiful pics Bill! Gorgeous color. Thanks for the report and uploading the photos. Of course, what else have you got to do? You lucky dog.
        ...


        From: Bill Bens <skyislandhiker@...>
        To: TucsonHikers@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sunday, October 23, 2011 12:41 AM
        Subject: [TucsonHikers] Mt. Lemmon fall color hike - report & photos

         
        Yesterday (Friday) I led ten Quail Creek Hikers on a fall color trek on Mt. Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains. We hiked the "usual suspects" for colorful autumn foliage on Mt. Lemmon - Bear Wallow, Marshall Gulch, and Aspen Draw Trails.
        After dropping off two shuttle cars at Ski Valley, we began our one way hike at the Bear Wallow meadow among Rocky Mountain big tooth maples ablaze in reds, oranges, and yellows:
        IMG_5954
        IMG_5958
        As we approached the Catalina Highway underpass on the unofficial but well used "Bear Wallow trail", the culvert framed more fall color yet to come en route to Soldier Camp:
        IMG_5962
        IMG_5964
        Based upon the amount of leaf litter on the trail, fall color in the Bear Wallow area might have peaked earlier in the week:
        IMG_5968
        IMG_5970
        Despite the fallen leaves, there was still lots of color in the trees:
        IMG_5976
        IMG_5977
        After hiking about a mile in the Bear Wallow area we we reached the Sunset Trail head at Soldier Camp:
        IMG_5978
        Unlike Bear Wallow, the fall color virtually disappeared on the Sunset Trail. The one exception was a distant view across upper Sabino Canyon to the young aspens growing in the area of the lower Aspen Trail:
        IMG_5979
        The dead snags are a reminder of the 2003 Aspen Fire which ravaged Mt. Lemmon.
        After hiking 1.6 miles on the Sunset Trail we arrived at Marshall Gulch. The first thing we noticed was the new and improved restrooms:
        IMG_5982
        The new restrooms are a small part of a larger improvement project proposed for the Marshall Gulch recreation site:
        IMG_5981
        At Marshall Gulch, we began our hike on the lower fork of the trail which led us through a canopy of maples along the creek:
        IMG_5986
        IMG_5988
        IMG_5989
        With only a few leaves down the fall color in Marshall Gulch appeared to be at its peak on Friday:
        IMG_6003
        After hiking 1.2 miles through another rainbow of autumn color on the Marshall Gulch Trail, we arrived at Marshall Saddle. From the saddle we headed off  on the upper Aspen Trail toward Radio Ridge.  Like the Sunset Trail, the upper Aspen Trail has very little fall color. After 1.3 miles of steep climbing, we finally topped out on Radio Ridge near the top of the Sky Valley ski lift:
        IMG_6004
        From Radio Ridge, we descended the 1.6 mile Aspen Draw Trail down toward Ski Valley through a mix of spruce, old growth fir, golden maples, and towering aspens:
        IMG_6015
        IMG_6007
        IMG_6014
        Although the maples were about done for the season, the aspen peak is yet to come!:
        IMG_6029
        Our one-way Bear Wallow to Ski Valley hike was 7 miles and 1,500' of net elevation gain.
        IMG_5997
        TucsonHikers members can view additional and larger view images here:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TucsonHikers/photos/album/1126215105/pic/list
        Daily Digest recipients can view above trip report WITH photos here:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TucsonHikers/message/6231
        ...just another crummy day in the Sonoran Desert!
        Bill
        P.S.  The new Sawmill Restaurant in Summerhaven is coming right along:
        IMG_6033
         
         
         
         


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