Take a Hike!

If I had a nickel for everytime somebody told me to take a hike, I’d be able to buy myself a fancy coffee drink. But, up here in the heights of Arizona, it’s a welcome idea.

Last week Sunday, when the snow was swirling a few hundred feet above our heads, and John was deep into the NY Times Sunday crossword, cabin fever was getting to my usual sunny disposition (ha!). The weekend had been filled with cold rain – snow in the upper elevations. When it looked like there might be an opening for a few hours, I headed out. John was happy to be left behind, Jezzy not so much.

I decided to hike to Bog Springs, heading to a lower Canyon elevation before beginning a climb. The snow line was about 6000′, and I was in no mood to cross that line! Solo hiking is unusual for me – on a hike of any length, John and I usually go together. At the very least, Jezzy is alongside. But, I planned to go about seven miles, which is a considerable distance for her. She marked her 11th birthday in December, and is not the hiking machine she was in her earlier years. Willing, but not as able. So, I headed off by myself, wearing my hooded rain jacket in case of showers. Smart choice.

The trail began as a horribly rutted jeep road, no really fun to walk on, and unimaginable (to me, anyway) to drive. (that’s not fog, that’s snow ahead).wp-1487877346959.jpg Bouncing around in any kind of vehicle is nothing I would EVER vountarily do. But, then it turned off into a gorgeous foot trail, winding up and down until it finally led to the spring.wp-1487877375419.jpg I was the only one there…so peaceful and beautiful. Yes, I did take a drink. The water was c-c-c-cold!wp-1487877384751.jpg On the way back, I got pelted by a sleety rain for a brief period. Other than that, my hike was about seven miles of pure enjoyment. Loved the colors in this boulder.20170223_121702.jpgAnd, it’s no mystery why this tree is called an Alligator Juniper.wp-1487877400190.jpgEarlier this week, we persuaded friends to join us on a hike to Atascosa Lookout, an old fire lookout station a mile or so from the Border (near Nogales).wp-1487877284155.jpg This is one of my favorite hikes – probably because it was one of the first ones I did on my first trip here about ten years ago, with John, but before we married.wp-1487877270244.jpgwp-1487877257747.jpg This area is part of the Coronado National Forest, the same NF as our current home in Madera Canyon. Ironically, the original lookout, home for a period to writer Edward Albee, burned to the ground in 2011. I feel lucky to have been up there a couple of times when it was still intact – it was a marvelous place with old hand-written logs and artifacts respectfully kept. I had hoped to post a few photos of the intact lookout, but can’t find them. (I’d make a lousy historian).Efforts to rebuilt the cabin have fizzled, and now the area is home to lots of electronic gear, probably belonging to Homeland Security.wp-1487877235345.jpg The lookout area is the perfect spot for lunch, with its 360 degree views.wp-1487877116570.jpg The Border is close, but not marked in any way that we can spot from our perch. Survey markers from the USGS and Forest Service are embedded into the rocky crest.

As we descended toward the spot where the truck was parked,wp-1487877284155.jpg we had to pass through a gate, marking a free-range area. There was a huge bull standing there!wp-1487877099928.jpg Not sure why, but I was the first person through the gate. Thankfully, the bull just gave me kind of a baleful look, and glared at all of us as we passed through. Several more were lounging near the truck. It was unnerving.

We’re trying to jam as much into our last few days here as possible. It’s Saturday as I write this, and we have to vacate Tuesday by noon. It’s been a great month, but we are ready to roll again. Here are a few more fun sights from the area. Love the prickly bear-hug this saguaro cactus is offering. The stone marker is from our neighbor up here in the Canyon, Madera Kubo. The owner of this B & B is the person who built our cabin.


11 thoughts on “Take a Hike!

  1. Pingback: Take a Hike! – campshaws – Nomad Advocate

  2. Yoly and I were down in Macon (GA) the day before yesterday … it was 78 degrees. Two years ago, we had to “hole up” down there with our Fun Finder because our house was snowed in and driveway covered in ice. Timing is everything :-)


  3. It’s been a month already? Time sure flies when some one else is having a good time. ;)

    I assume that it will eventually get very hot where you’re at now, but I’d be sticking in that spot until the heat drove me out, There seems to be something magical about the area you’ve been staying in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jerry. Time flies when you’re having fun.

      We’ve speculated about what it might be like here in the middle of summer. Bearable, I imagine, compared to what it must be like in the Valley. Our deck faces west. Right now, we get just about an hour of full sunshine under the overhang. Other than that, it’s pretty chilly to be on the deck – we try to find a sunny spot out of the wind to sit outside. For us, it’s the perfect to be to be here.

      Birding activities pick up in March. The owner told us that the place is rented for March/April up to two years in advance. A bit of the off-season is perfect for us.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great month in AZ. I think you were at the look out that Edward Abbey manned? He was certainly in the area and loved the desert. Any qualms of hiking alone so near the border?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Atascosa was indeed Abbey’s lookout. When I get home, I have photos of the lookout as it was before the fire. Diary with his own writing – gives me chills to think about it. It was very special.

      No qualms about the area at all, other than being so close to a gigantic bull. There is a very pronounced Border Control presence in the area. (not that that makes me feel safe). The Border is a wire fence in this area – Border Control relies on electronics for surveillance (methinks), although we did encounter a BC Agent on the trail down there a few years ago – big automatic weapon, and cris-crossed bandoliers of ammo strapped across his chest. Looking for drug smugglers, I imagine.


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