Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hutch's Pool West Fork Sabino Creek January 11, 2014

                                   Map showing Sabino Canyon and the wilderness

Directions: Sabino Canyon is at the end of Sunrise Road at the base of the Catalina Mountains.  To get to Sabino Canyon from the University of Arizona take Campbell Road all the way to Skyline Road. Turn right onto Skyline and drive all the way until Sabino Canyon. Skyline will become Sunrise. A pass to the Coronado National Forest cost about $20 for the year. $5 for one day.

Today I wanted to hike to Hutch's Pool in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness. To bypass some of the lower trails which I have I hiked I decided to pay $8 to ride the tram to stop #9 at the top of Sabino Canyon. The last tram leaves stop #9 at 4:50 pm. From stop #9 Hutch's Pool is a 7.5 mile roundtrip hike with approximately an elevation gain of 1300 feet. I want to hike another 1.5 miles passed Hutch's Pool to see more of the wilderness which will extend the trip to ten miles. Trails involved include Sabino Canyon and West Fork of Sabino Canyon. This hike required very little route finding. At the trail junction of West and East Fork Trails make sure to take the West Fork. There is no sign for Hutch's Pool.

Trail Description: The first two miles of the trip the trail is above the creek. Here the canyon is very dramatic with steep walls on the western side. The view opens up to the north as well with the towers on the top of Mount Lemmon visible in the distance. Before the trail junction the trail descends to the creek.  The West Fork trail follows the creek up canyon. After about a mile it crosses the creek. There are pools here but hike on; Hutch's Pool is half a mile farther. The destination is off the main trail. At a huge rock visitors will see a cairn and a trail to the right. This trail is rocky and relatively steep so watch your footing. The next mile and a half the trail ascends rapidly giving hikers views of West Fork Canyon. Use Leave No Trace principles because this area gets a lot of use.

The joy of hiking and traveling is meeting wonderful people. At 1.5 miles into my trip I met an older couple from Eastern Kentucky who were hiking to the pool. We talked about the Daniel Boone National Forest, The Red River Gorge and the University of Kentucky basketball team. I did not hike with them because of their slower pace. On the West Fork Trail I met a couple who live in Calgary, Alberta, as well as Tucson. I talked with them about Canada as well as Arizona hiking. I would also see them at Hutch's Pool and on the 4:30 tram back down. Finally, at the destination I met a couple in their seventies from Ontario who spend three to four months of the winter in Arizona.

                              Looking back down Sabino Canyon

                               Tree with the upper mountains of the Catalinas

                  Brett at Hutch's Pool

                        Another picture of Hutch's Pool. Very beautiful

                          Pools in West Fork of Sabino Creek

                         West Fork Canyon

                         Pusch Wilderness

                                 Another beautiful pool

                         Me with the dramatic scenery of upper Sabino Canyon

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