The flowers on the Meadow Trail are fading a bit, ferns on the Mt. Lemmon Trail are starting to brown and small drainages crossing the Wilderness of Rocks Trail are beginning to go dry – the summer rains are gone, but summer temperatures are still very much here – a nice time to be at the top of the mountain.
It was a beautiful day high on the mountain – we drove to the Summit Trailhead to start a friendly race – Aspen Draw Trail, thru Summerhaven, Mint Spring Trail, Marshall Gulch Trail and the Aspen Trail to Marshall Saddle – I managed to win by about a minute, but not without an all out effort!
While hiking back to the car on the Aspen Trail I noticed smoke below and assumed it was just someone burning brush… But in Summerhaven (to get a cookie!) we were able to see the flames, smoke and orange tint from the Miami Fire.
It was hard to tell how big and close the fire was – but thankfully InciWeb reports that the fire is only 5 Acres and already 20% contained (see updates below). Both Tucson News Now and the Arizona Daily Star report that no structures have burned, there are no current evacuation orders and that while precautions are being taken no structures are currently threatened. The cause is still under investigation but it is believed to be human-caused. The highway was closed at the base.
UPDATE 4/21/2015 – InciWeb now reports that the fire is 100% contained – no structures were damaged and the fire burned 5 acres.
UPDATE 4/19/2015 – Tucson News Now reports that the highway reopened Saturday night and remained open on Sunday.
From InciWeb 4/20/2015: The Miami Fire was 100% contained today at 4:30 p.m. The crew has been released. The fire has transitioned to the Arizona State Forestry Division. This will be the final update for the Miami Fire.
From InciWeb 4/19/2015: Miami Fire is 40% contained. Crews have fireline and are cooling hot spots in the interior (mopping up). Four acres on private land, .6 on Coronado National Forest.
Due to the prompt response of Coronado National Forest, Mt. Lemmon Fire Department and Rural Metro Fire Department, a positive outcome of no structures lost was possible. Close proximity of a helipad and dip site to the fire also contributed to the success.
From InciWeb 4/18/2015: The Miami fire, burning in Carter Canyon near Summerhaven is now 20 percent contained and is 4.6 acres. The fire was active in the afternoon but the fire behavior has now decreased. Firefighters expect to make good progress tonight, but the area has many snags, and heavy mop up is anticipated. There are currently five engines, two water tenders a helicopter, a twenty person handcrew, and various overhead are assigned to the fire. That is more than forty firefighters working to suppress the Miami fire with another twenty person handcrew ordered. The Mt. Lemon Highway remains closed at MP 0.
It was raining when I parked at the Mint Spring Trailhead – not hard, but enough to make me reorganize some of my gear into Aloksaks to keep everything dry – just enough effort to keep the rain away for the rest of the evening! Highlights:
Mint Spring Trail – The first part of the trail was wonderfully overgrown – in spots the trail was almost a tunnel thru all of the summer growth – the fern covered hillsides with flowers peaking thru were memorable.
Wilderness of Rock Trail – Water! Not the highest/fastest I have seen the water here – but enough that to make it exciting to see – small waterfalls, spills and pools!
Aspen Trail – On the last climb to the ridge, burned years ago and now quite open, the flowers were blooming and beautiful and I had great views of the moon.
Aspen Draw Trail – Sections of soft trail thru the big trees, it wasn’t long after starting the trail that I had to get out my headlamp to navigate the dark tree covered trail.
I finished with a run thru Summerhaven, by the time I arrived nothing was open (not unexpected on a Sunday night – but I was still hoping…), and the streets were nearly empty… 11.75 miles, 2600′ of elevation gain/loss.