Friday, September 25, 2015

Mud Mack Loop CW - 9/25/15

Macks Peak from Macks Canyon Road

Mummy's Nose from Sawmill Red Trail

Bushwhacking from Sawmill Trail to Macks Cyn Rd
 Mud Mack Loop is a new route for the club this year. When we first explored this route in the spring, we hiked the trail in a counter-clockwise direction. Due to the gravel wash, we decided that the more pleasant direction would be clockwise and that's what we did today. Thirteen hikers arrived at the Sawmill Trailhead on Lee Canyon Road in the Spring Mountains NRA. We began our hike on the Yellow Trail that forked to the left. When the trail swung out on a curve, we left the trail to climb up to nearby Macks Canyon Road.

Hiking Macks Canyon Road
 We turned to the right on the dirt road and proceeded on a two mile trek up the road. The morning was gifted with a nice cool intermittent wind.

Just Past the Hike's High Point
 Just after the Sisters Spur Road junction, we hiked over the high point of the day. Here, the road dropped down and, at about 1/3 of a mile further, we came to a campsite turnoff that dropped down off the road to the right.

Bushwhacking from Campsite to Mud Springs Trail

Mud Springs Loop Trail in Wash
 We hiked through the campsite at the top of the hill and began bushwhacking down through a maze of washes. Keeping a direct line of progress, we found the Mud Springs Loop (south side) where it was about the climb up to a saddle on the small ridge in front of us. This trail came from the wash we were in and, here, we continued down the wash. Now, we were on the Mud Springs Loop. Our descent through the gravel wash lasted for around 3/4 of a mile.

Wash Trail
 The wash has a few obstacles in the way of overhanging tree limbs. But, since this is also an equestrian trail, at every tree limb, there is a go around trail.

Major Trail Junction

Mummy from Trail
The trail (and today's route) comes out of the wash on a well worn path up the hill to the right. The stick & cairn landmark found in the photo above is found on the left side of the trail. We stopped here for our break at around 3.7 miles into the hike. This was our low point for the day and the next part of the hike would be an undulating ascent of around 450 elevation feet. This is a beautiful forest trail (aka the Sawmill Red Trail) that winds in and out of many washes flowing down from the Spring Mountains Divide to the west of us.

Red Trail through Forest
 The thirteen hikers were a strong group of moderate hikers and the moderate pace was kept throughout the hike. Water breaks and shade breaks were plentiful.

Hiking Red Trail (Mud Springs Loop South Side)
 Nearing the Sawmill Ridge (aka Green Trail), our Red Trail became a tad steeper. The climb was a suitable grand finale to the day.

Spring Mountains Divide from Red Trail

Nearing the Sawmill Ridge Saddle
 Upon reaching the Red/Green Trail junction on the ridge saddle, we turned right for a mile of cool-down descent back to the cars. It was a very pleasant and relaxing morning's hike. And, it was decided that the clockwise direction is the easier direction to do this route.

7 miles; 1200 feet elevation gain; 3.25 hours

Just Below Red/Green Trail Junction

Arriving Back at Trailhead on Yellow Trail

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