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The hike will contain significant and sometimes exposed scrambling. Photos from the other hikes I have hosted give a reasonably accurate impression of the level of difficulty. In this case the scrambling will be primarily on clean granite slab with a minimal amount of brush. The bulk of the distance to and from the mountain will be covered on a clean trail. Starting from the group parking at Aguirre Springs, we will take the Indian Hollow Trail, then a climbers' trail to the gully left of Sugarloaf. We will climb the gully, deviating from it to the left for a stretch to keep the scrambling difficulty down to reasonable. The south side of Sugarloaf will be traversed directly under the cliff (with nice views). There will be a long slab down-scramble, then we will take Sugarloaf Falls back to the trail.
Our flagship weekday hike! Come meet us at Tortugas Mountain (aka "A Mountain", because it has a big "A" on it). It's an urban mountain with many, many hiking trails to explore. Every Tuesday evening we go out there, pick a trail, and enjoy a fun hike with fun people, not to mention beautiful views of the city and surrounding area. QUICK REFERENCE Distance - Variable, depends on what we decide to do. Please plan between 2 and 4 mi. Elevation Gain - It is some 700 ft to the top of Tortugas Mountain. Fees - None. Duration - Variable; we finish when we finish. We aim for finishing by 8:00 pm or by sunset, whichever happens earlier. Pet Friendly - Yes. You must have a way to restrain your dog. Terrain - loose, steep mountainside. We usually stay on trails but we may go off-trail if people desire something more challenging. Weather - Typically doesn't matter, we usually hike rain or shine, unless there is a lightning storm or a particularly bad wind storm. We won't decide to cancel until an hour before the event. Afterward - We may head to a restaurant for libations, but we'll discuss this towards the end of the hike. Meet - At Las Cruces - 5:45 pm at Tortugas Mountain Sunset Parking lot near the traffic-lighted intersection of Dripping Springs Road and Sonoma Ranch Boulevard. At the light, turn right (south). Be aware that there are two named parking lots. By tradition, we ALWAYS meet at the Sunset lot. (The other one is the Monte Vista lot.) GPS -[masked]°N,[masked]°W (see on Google Maps http://maps.google.com/?q=32.29748,-106.70694&z=18) Time - We will hit the trail by 5:50. If you might be late call or text. DETAILS Clothing - Weather Appropriate attire. Wear thick soled shoes with some tread. Most folks wear a hat. We’ve had people show up in flip-flops or other unsuitable shoes. This is unwise. Bring water and maybe a hat Kid Friendliness - You know best what your child is capable of, but if you need further details, please ask in the comments. Medical Concerns - This is strenuous exercise, performed outdoors. If you are unsure for any reason please consult your physician. Right-of Way - by tradition, folks going downhill get the right-of way, as they have more momentum. Also, if you encounter a trail cyclist, please step aside. As a hiker, you are more maneuverable than they are. Snakes - there may be rattlesnakes, of course. Late Arrival - If you are going to be late, or decide to cancel, let us know using the Meetup app. We don't want to hold up the group because of stragglers. And please RSVP, it really helps if we have an accurate count of the number of hikers. Routes There are 8 main routes to the top, and one main loop around the base. There are several offshoots on the loop trail, and a few interconnections between some of the upgoing trails. Base Loop Trail - This is a loop around the base of the mountain. It is 4 miles long, with about 400 feet of accumulated elevation gain. The Road - this is a paved and gated (locked) road that, named Observatory Road, that intersects Geothermal Road. "Straight Up" - This is the northernmost of the trails on the west side of the mountain facing the city. Turtleback - This runs somewhat parallel to the "Straight up" trail and is slightly south. The "A" Trail - This trail is on the west side and the trailhead is south of the Turtleback trail that goes by the "A" near the top. The Rock-slide - A somewhat steep path on the South West side of the mountain. The terrain of the trail is mostly loose stones. Boulder Pass (or The Backside) - This trail is located in the center of the mountain facing the east side. The Steep Way - This trail is located on the north side of the mountain and is one of the steepest paths we take. You may want to use your hands to do some light scrambling. Three Rocks - This is a lesser-used trail that is on the north side of the mountain. There is light scrambling on this route.
Spring is here and we all know this marks the time of year when all good Canadians return home. (finally). This will be Canadian Robert Kastner's last Wednesday hike with the group before he points the RV in a northernly direction. For Roberts last hike we will do a mystery hike. This will not be a beginner hike.....repeat... not a beginner hike. We will meet at the Soledad Canyon day use parking area on the east end of Soledad Canyon road. You will need to be comfortable with bouldering, rock hopping, steep rock climbs, exposure to heights and know lots of Canadian jokes. Wear clothing and shoes to give protection from the usual unfriendly plants. Next week, we will do a different hike, which is up for suggestion during this week's hike. Bring at least one liter of drinking water, sunscreen, snack, and of course, yourself! See you Wednesday morning 8:30 am at trailhead!