Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Tucson Trip: Day 5 – Bug Springs and Molino Basin O&B and Fantasy Island (Main+Burro Loops)

I wanted to go rock climbing at Mt Lemmon. After all, we transported all that climbing gear with us and would not want them to turn out to be some 50 lb dead weight. Tom wanted to ride down Bug Springs, Malino Basin, to Milagrosa (then home), so we dropped him off at the higher trailhead of Bug Springs Trail. There was snow everywhere! That would mean the place where I wanted to climb at would be under snow and very cold too because it was even higher. Well, we had to change our plan. Erik and I drove to the lower trailhead of Bug Springs Trail, which was bathing in the sun, and we geared up. We rode up and over the summit of Bug Springs trail before turning back. (We did meet Tom on our way up.) We had lunch at the car, and got back on the bike, rode down to Prison Camp, and took Malino Basin Trail to Bellota Trail. We turned around and climbed back up when Bellota started becoming a hike-a-bike. Another reason I wanted to turn around was I wanted to save time for another spin at Fantasy Island with Erik. Last time, I missed Burro Loop which is supposed to be a fun loop. We didn't get started until almost 5pm. I was really pushing my luck there. But again, we managed to get back to the car without needing a light. Burro Loop was indeed fun. That "Over and Under" took me by surprise and in the twilight, I almost did not see that jump right before going into the tunnel. Whew, that was close! After the out and back rides on Bug Springs and Molino Basin trails, I felt that we earned the relaxed riding at Fantasy Island.

Bug Springs Up and Down at Mt Lemmon

Online resources: SDMB

Navigation: Trailhead was very obviously marked on the highway. The trail was also easy to follow — you go either up or down. I liked going the way we went because it warmed us up nicely and plus, we were able to turn around in the middle of the 500 feet of steps.

Stats and Map (Click on Trip Details below the map for links to GPX & TCX and other files):
Distance (mi) 4.9
Elevation Range (ft) 4966 – 5996
Total Ascent (ft) 1184
Total Ascent Distance (mi) 2.2
Total Descent Distance (mi) 2.8

Mei's Subjective Ratings (all out of 5 star system):
Overall Rating 4 stars (nice scenery)
Technical Difficulty 3 stars (for some technical rocky sections)
Aerobic Difficulty 3 stars
Grin Factor 3 stars (I feel it deserves more stars, but it is almost too short — both ways.)

Photos: All are in this album


We met Tom coming down shortly before we reached the summit.


A summit shot


Snow covered steps (not very discernible in the picture) on the other side of the summit (near higher trail head).

Molino Basin Trail Down and Up

Online resources: SDMB

Navigation: The SDMB page above only shows the portion from Prison Camp to Molino Basin Camp. We added a little extra on both ends because we rode from our car which was parked higher and went to Bellota Trail down lower. The trail was fairly easy to find from Prison Camp.

Stats and Map (Click on Trip Details below the map for links to GPX & TCX and other files):
Distance (mi) 7.2
Elevation Range (ft) 4293 – 4991
Total Ascent (ft) 1177
Total Ascent Distance (mi) 3.1
Total Descent Distance (mi) 4.2

Mei's Subjective Ratings (all out of 5 star system):
Overall Rating 4 stars
Technical Difficulty 3 stars (there are some rocky sections)
Aerobic Difficulty 2 stars (Some rough sections, but mostly rideable)
Grin Factor 3 stars (Maybe my grin would have been bigger if I had not been tired by the end of the day and it was getting dark.)

Photos: All are in this album


A kid was talking to us standing next to it, so I just took a picture from an angle.

Fantasy Island (Main + Burro Loop)

Online resources: Topofusion, SDMB

Navigation: See my previous post.

Stats and Map (Click on Trip Details below the map for links to GPX & TCX and other files):
Distance (mi) 8.5
Elevation Range (ft) 2765 – 2845
Total Ascent (ft) 540
Total Ascent Distance (mi) 3.0
Total Descent Distance (mi) 5.5

Mei's Subjective Ratings (all out of 5 star system):
Overall Rating 4 stars
Technical Difficulty 1 stars
Aerobic Difficulty 1 stars
Grin Factor 5 stars

Photos: You can easily ride this route without ever wanting to stop. I didn't; thus, no photos.

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