|Hike Name:||Tortolita Canyon|
|Trip Date:||July 23, 2006|
|Duration:||2 days, 12 hours|
|Trip Temperature:||High: 71-80, Low: 41-50 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Trip Report:||This had been a goal of ours for a long time, simply because the trail is covered with old mines and equipment. We actually parked the car right next to a claim at the roadside. The early part of the trip is somewhat confusing because the trail is basically non-existent. Generally, we just followed a canyon to a ridge, where we were able to pick up the first signs of the trail.
The trail here is wide and fairly flat, as it had once been the road for hauling heavily laden ore wagons from the mines. It leads almost due North, towards Tortilla Flat and the Northern Wilderness boundary. We settled down to have lunch about 2:00, and it became our first night campsite, as the rain started to fall heavily. We put up the tarp before the ground got muddy, set up out camp under the shelter, and proceded the drink professionally. Made some dinner as evening fell, played cards for a bit and called it a night.
It was still raining extremely hard the next morning. We decided against breaking camp and getting everything wet, so we just threw on ponchos, grabbed our day packs and moseyed down the trail. About two miles down, the trail forked, with the Eastern leg heading toward the Helen Rae mine. We headed towards the mine, and almost immediately started encountering mine relics. About 1.5 miles down, we hit the Helen Rae itself. Spent about an hour photographing the site, and then headed back to camp. As we got closer to home, it rained harder and harder. We finally got back under the tarp, and simply sat there drinking coffee. We only had one day left, and frankly it didn't look good. We were getting low on water, as we hadn't made it to our planned spring, but we simply put out some plastic sheeting and collected all we needed. The rain never let up, so we played cards and drank coffee with Bailey's until bedtime.
The next morning it was still raining, albeit not as hard. Giving in to destiny, we slowly ate breakfast and began packing up the camp. We headed back towards the car under very difficult conditions, as the mud built up on our boots, making them very heavy. The trail was also VERY slippery in some spots, causing a few minor falls. After an extreme effort, we finally made it back to the car about 1:30. Made one more pot of coffee on my stove in the back of the Jeep, added some Baileys, and sipped coffe and smoked cigarettes for a couple of hours. Around 3:30, we gave up and headed home. Not the best trip ever, but better than being home watching TV!