85+ degrees on the hike out. trip report
We started hiking just past the campground where the road becomes very rough. We decided not to drive the road but hike the extra 1.5 miles each way turning this into a 20 miles roundtrip with 5500 feet of gain. The summit of Mica is a total dud but the views from Spud Rock were very nice.
Started at Douglas Spring TH and stayed at Manning Camp. Bagged Mica and Spud Rock. Bagged Tanque Verde Peak on the way out.
Left at 3:15 AM from Green Valley for the 2-hr drive. Mescal Rd was in poor shape...six HUGE "puddles" *(of unknown depth!) at different locations stretched across the road & required some thought in the pitch black darkness! It definitely made that 14 miles of dirt somewhat more exciting than my previous drive in Nov '13 when I bagged Rincon Peak.
I parked where the 4WD section begins & proceeded at 5:15- still pitch black though w/ a gorgeous star-lit sky- & walked up the road for an "extra" 1.5 mi with my head lamp on ... arrived @ the Turkey Creek TH at 6 AM just as the sky started to brighten.
The easy going at 1st became harder as I had expected from reading previous reports: all suggesting "steepest in the middle..." where most of the 4K vertical ascent occurred.
Zero humans were observed all day though I did spot a fox, a skunk, dozens of deer, a rafter of turkeys AND a humongous pile of FRESH bear s**t *(but no bear!)BTW, there were several sources of cool, clear stream/spring water I observed...though I had brought 4 liters w/ me.
For October it was unusually hot down below *(95 + in Tucson, a near record!) but above 8K ft elevation it was low 70s, refreshingly breezy & perfectly clear. I knocked off the "usual suspects"- Man Head, Reef Rock, Mica Meadow, the unimpressive summit, & of course Spud Rock- then started the long trek back down at about 1 PM.
I got back to my vehicle at 6:15 PM in the dark w/o using my head lamp *(barely!)- tired but satisfied in knocking off a 20-miler in 13 hrs- shortly after becoming eligible for Medicare!
"Blessed are those who live out their dreams."
JUST DO IT !
Hiked the Turkey Creek Trail from the 4WD TH, then followed East Slope, Switchback, Heartbreak Ridge, Fire Loop, Bonita, and Fire Loop trails to the summit. Descended via Mica Mountain Trail to visit Manning Camp before retracing my route back to the TH. Buggy on the steep portion of Turkey Creek Trail, but breezy conditions higher made for a pleasant hike through the ponderosa.
On the Turkey Creek trail, good water was to be had at Mud Hole Spring (not on the map, and I forgot to waymark it, but it's about halfway between the park boundary and Deer Head Spring).
Deer Head Spring was completely dry. Spud Rock Spring was awful, unusable really, despite the campground being there.
There was good water on the Switchback Trail (I think...many trail names make it confusing) near where the ".7" is marked on the NPS map. This is actually the same drainage as Devil's Bathtub, only higher up. One steep mile from Spud Rock Campground.
There were a couple of seeps higher on the mountain (Mica Mtn. Trail).
Went through here on the Arizona Trail and it was freezingggg! No views either.
There are no short routes on Mica...but she is a rewarding one. Started a bit further back from the official TH since my car couldn't make the last couple miles, so became a 20+ mile day. Great weather and some patches of snow encountered just before Italian Spring. Sweeping views from Spud Rock (not much of a view from the true summit).
This was done on the second day of a backpack starting at the Miller Creek TH. The summit itself is somewhat underwhelming.
Hiked with Sarah up Turkey Creek trailhead and
camped at dry Spud Rock spring. Found water next
morning in gully SE of Man Head. After Mica we hiked
to Happy Valley Lookout and down to Miller Canyon.
Was quite motivated to flog poor Accord back to
4600' Turkey Creek trailhead (where jeep was),
and just barely made it.
A great backpack up to Manning Camp for the night and onto Mica Mountain. At that point in my life it was my highest summit.
This is a huge desert mountain.