Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Tucson Trip: Day 4 – Sweetwater and Tucson Mountain Park at Starr Pass

From what we heard, Sweetwater is a new development and it has gained popularity very fast. I think some enthusiasm I sensed from online reading has spurred my interest. It seems to be a network of trails packed in a relatively small area. However, unlike Fantasy Island, this place offers some jagged and sharp rocks in the trails, which made riding fun. I was amazed that my tire held despite the sounds I heard that I thought were from the ripped sidewalls. Tucson Mountain Park, despite it's close proximity to Tucson, is actually a vast area of hilly land. A lot of the riding on our routes was following this wash or that — very loose gravels. As the ride went on, I quite enjoyed skiing through those loose gravels, and it made this ride somewhat unique. A couple of trails we got on offered some technical riding with rocky sections. We forewent some trails that would have led us back to the car sooner and chose to go a loop way, which dumped us back on road leading to the car just when it got dark. Whew!


Online resources: SDMB

Navigation: I have no idea how the locals navigate here. Yes, the network was enclosed by golf clubs, residential, and Marriott, but still one would be turned round and round here, and there is not a single sign post we saw on our ride. Luckily, our friend Tom had a course downloaded to his GPS and a map in hand, along with his good navigational skills, he was able to guide us on the SDMB route without any problem.

Stats and Map (Click on Trip Details below the map for links to GPX & TCX and other files):
Distance (mi) 11.6
Elevation Range (ft) 2448 – 2686
Total Ascent (ft) 857
Total Ascent Distance (mi) 4.3
Total Descent Distance (mi) 7.3

Mei's Subjective Ratings (all out of 5 star system):
Overall Rating 5 stars (my favorite. some challenges, but not overwhelming. it was pure fun.)
Technical Difficulty 2 stars (for some rough sections)
Aerobic Difficulty 2 stars
Grin Factor 4 stars

Photos: All are in this album

Tucson Mountain Park at Starr Pass

Online resources: SDMB

Navigation: Print a map from that SDMB site. That would help. But I have to say, the trails can still be a little confusing. For quite a while, I thought all the trails in the park are named Yetman Trail. Well, when you look at the map, it's not surprising — it's long and winds around.
Route: Starr Pass Trail -> L: Rock Wren Trail -> L: Yetman Trail -> L: Saguaro Rib Trail -> R: Starr Pass Trail -> R: Yetman Trail -> R: Bowen Trail -> Road back to the car.

Stats and Map (Click on Trip Details below the map for links to GPX & TCX and other files):
Distance (mi) 11.2
Elevation Range (ft) 2596 – 2949
Total Ascent (ft) 1135
Total Ascent Distance (mi) 4.2
Total Descent Distance (mi) 7.1

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

All three of us.

Mountains in TMP.

It's pretty rare I got ahead of Tom to take a picture of his front.

Tired from riding? Here is a high chair. (I had a chance to sit on it when I lost Erik and Tom after they took a turn there.)

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