An Easy Overnight Loop On Mount Lemmon

by Kirsten Tuesday, April 15th 2014

Last week I decided that I really wanted to do some backpacking on Mt. Lemmon. I wanted some water and shade to escape the heat of Tucson and my partner wanted some easy mileage as he had just done 15miles the day before we headed out.

As we approached the Catalina Highway we were still unsure of what trail we wanted to take… our indecision created a random loop of shorter trails that made for an amazing two day trip! We decided to park at the Sunset trail and take Sunset to Marshall Gulch and then from Marshall we could hike down the Wilderness of Rocks Trail to camp.

After just over a mile on the Sunset Trail we looked down the canyon to see a gorgeous series of small waterfalls! I was so excited that I made Jace hike down to the first one we saw. It had an awesome beach area and a little cave feature that made it a wonderful place to stop and relax.

We got to Marshall Gulch in no time and jumped onto the Marshall Gulch Trail – this was my first time actually taking the trail beyond just spending time in the water at the Gulch. It was incredible! I did not feel like I was in Arizona. The trail was narrow and winding, shaded and followed a stream nearly the entire way. Needless to say I was blissfully snapping way too many photos and playing in the forest like a little kid.

Next we hiked down into the Wilderness of Rocks area and ran into quite a few folks who were either rock climbing, bird watching or just out for a day hike. This area was also breathtaking, the rock formations reminded me of castles looming above the tree line in the distance or towering above us along the trail. I have definitely been inspired to try out the climbing routes there.

It was getting later in the day and we had made it as far as we had intended so we started to look for a good camp site. Jace found a pretty established area with a very large, well-built fire pit and we took our packs off there. I was excited to see that in the area there were quite a few trees that had been cut down or fell down (not excited about the death of a tree – excited about what the meant for my evening) they were perfect for shelter building! Shelter building is my favorite outdoor skill – and I had opted out of bringing my tent so I was pretty excited to have all the materials. I do not get to practice too often because I will not cut down or destroy any plants to build them – unless in a survival situation so I made it fancy.

The next day we had planned to hike up to the Lemmon rock lookout and spend another night out on the trail but we were tired and decided to head back. This time after hiking out of Wilderness of Rocks we took the Aspen Trail back to Marshalls. The Aspen Trail is now hands down my favorite trail in Southern Arizona. Sadly my camera died about halfway through but I did catch some of the amazing views.

The trail took us first to an amazing view of the Wilderness of Rocks area we had just hiked out of.

Then it wound along the side of the mountain before plunging down into the aspens that lead us back to Marshall Gulch. This was the perfect loop and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for an easy overnight vacation trip!

Activities | Events | Trails | Trips

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket Review

by Kirsten Wednesday, December 11th 2013

The Ghost Whisperer Jacket is hands down the most used piece of clothing in my closet. This jacket is super warm, versatile, comfortable, comes in great colors, I have the women’s blue and it always gets compliments. To give you some context before reading on, I am an avid hiker, backpacker, climber and work at the summit hut! I get very cold easily as I grew up here in Tucson and I tend to be a little rough on my gear. 

The Ghost Whisperer is a great technical piece. This jacket is perfect for backpacking because it is so light and so warm. I keep it in my pack or tent until the sun goes down and then throw it on over my t shirt or under a shell if it is really chilly. It is perfect to throw in a day pack to use while belaying and small enough to take (or keep in your pack) just in case the weather turns. Disclaimer: you do not want to store it in its pack pocket as the down will settle and be compressed – make sure to “fluff” it often if you are storing it this way for multiple days without use. 

The Ghost Whisperer is also an awesome everyday option. When I go to sporting events that are outdoors I always throw this jacket in my medium sized purse – I have been extremely thankful to have it on several occasions. In the warehouse at the hut winters get pretty chilly! When spring hit last year we had a get together with some co-workers and one co-worker actually said “You look great, it is odd to see you without your blue down jacket on!” 

Yes, I wear it that often. 

 

I think nearly half of the staff at Summit Hut owns this jacket and it is a customer favorite as well. Mountain Hardwear did a wonderful job with this piece and I think it stands above similar choices because of the quality, weight, color choices and fit. If you are looking for a piece like it, defiantly come in and try it on!

Check out the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Jacket on our website!

Gear

Exped Dreamwalker Review

by Kirsten Tuesday, December 3rd 2013

Summit Hut has a very unique bag from Exped called the Dreamwalker. We love carrying it because it is a big conversation starter and most people, including myself, get a good giggle out of it the first time you see it.

Before you laugh too much and write it off, think about how never having to get into a cold sleeping bag again sounds.  How about waking up in the middle of the night when nature is calling, but not having to get out of your bag?  What about sitting in a chair by the fire –IN YOUR SLEEPING BAG – and still being able to stand up to roast a marshmallow?  If those sound like ideal situations, you should consider replacing your down jacket, scarf, gloves and hat with this amazing bag.

I recently took a Dreamwalker to a 24hour race in the McDowell Mountains.  I get cold easily, and I was just super eager to put this puppy on, so we had them out early in the night.  While the sun was going down I remember laughing as Summit Hut Co-Owner Jeremy went to get some water in his Dreamwalker, he was stopping some foot traffic! I couldn’t laugh long because all those folks were walking past the Summit Hut tent a few moments later to find me proudly waving from inside my insulated cocoon of awesome.

Let me tell you though, when 10pm hit we were not getting goofy looks – people were pretty envious. One girl saw us sitting by the fire and said “I bet her FACE is so warm!” Uhh yeah, it was.  It hadn’t even occurred to me that I did not have my hat on because the dream walker has this awesome insulated hood and collar that cuddled my face and kept my ears nice and warm.

In conclusion, I LOVE this bag and its versatility.  Beyond the features I got to use, it can unzip into an awesome blanket to use on warmer nights for yourself or to share with a companion.  You can sleep with your arms through the sleeves to easily adjust your pillow, read or if you are a side sleeper you can still use your arm pillow! You will be the center of attention for a few moments but just remember that you giggled a little too – before you thought about what a great idea it really is!

P.S. My second favorite camping piece is my ENO Hammock… but it does get chilly sometimes with zero insulation… unless I wrap the dreamwalker around the hammock!

Check out the Exped Dreamweaver on our website!

Gear

The Authors

Dave BakerDave Baker

I'm Dave Baker, founder of Summit Hut, an independent outdoor retailer based in Tucson, Arizona since 1969. As an experienced and passionate hiker, climber and backpacker, my blog is intended to be an informative and interesting look into the outdoors and the outdoor industry.

Dana Davis

Dana Davis

I’m Dana Davis, co-owner of the Summit Hut. I mostly enjoy hiking and road biking though I often do other things to keep it interesting (mountaineering, motorcycling, backpacking, climbing, you name it!) My biggest challenge is sometimes finding the balance between career, family, and fun but it’s working out so far!

Dan Davis

Dan Davis

I'm Dan Davis, after retiring from the National Park Service as a Ranger and manager, I worked for the Summit Hut until 2009, then retired for good (maybe). I'm now spending my time traveling around the southwest writing and working on my nature and fine art photography business.

Emily Gindlesparger

Emily Gindlesparger

I’m Emily Gindlesparger, a member of the Summit Hut floor staff. Since moving here from the Midwest, I’ve been taking advantage of all possible adventures in Arizona: rock climbing, mountain biking, backpacking, whitewater kayaking, caving and trail running; I’m always excited to see what’s next!

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