Down, down, down… Doing an out-and-back on the Mt. Lemmon Trail, the #5, doesn’t have the same allure to most hikers as the many loops at the top of the mountain – but it has different benefits… Not long after passing the junction with the Wilderness of Rock Trail the #5 takes on a slightly different character – far from obscure, but narrower and distinctly less used. Sections of the trail remind me of the upper CDO, somehow more wild than the well trodden loops at the top. As you wind down the mountain the interior of the Santa Catalina Mountains comes into view.
Admittedly the end of the #5 at Romero Pass is, I think, a bit of an anti-climax – the best views are on the trail above, but at least the pass is usually peaceful, a nice place for break before the long climb back up…
Up the Romero Canyon Trail from Catalina State Park – flowers and pools, steep climbs, stops at the two big fire rings and good memories of past hikes with friends.
From Romero Pass I wandered off-trail to random points and points where Bighorn Sheep have stood, slowly collecting vegetation data as a volunteer for a AZGF research project.
The sliver moon disappeared early in the night, with temperatures were the 30s I spent most of my time in my quilt, reading, watching the clouds, looking at the stars and occasionally taking a picture.
It was warm on the way down, as the trail went lower I hurried thru the sun back to the car. 20 miles, +/-6000′ of elevation gain and loss.
I recently volunteered to help a with a AZGF Bighorn Sheep research project and have a number of points in the Romero Pass area to visit – today was my first time out, I was slow collecting the vegetation survey information but did manage to get a few points done – and it was a great reason to visit this area! Wilderness of Rocks and then Mount Lemmon Trail towards Romero Pass – 15.9 miles, +/- 3800′.
Arriving at Romero Pass took about 2 hours and 40 minutes of hard effort on the Romero Canyon Trail – it only took another 3 or 4 minutes for my friend Richard to appear on the West Fork trail. This was our meeting spot for today – he started at Molino Basin and was about 13 miles into an east/west crossing of the Santa Catalina Mountains.
The pass was too windy/chilly to be a nice spot for a break – so after refilling bottles we headed down – eventually taking a break along the canyon – green plants and flowing water!
Alison was also hiking up from Catalina State Park – her small blue figure was hard to spot against the huge walls of the canyon!
Down, down, down the canyon – beautiful sections of canyon abound above Romero Pools –
we had all seen other people during the day but until Romero Pools we didn’t see anyone on the descent, after Romero Pools there were quite a few groups headed down – a lovely day to enjoy the trail!