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). 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. I was the only one there…so peaceful and beautiful. Yes, I did take a drink. The water was c-c-c-cold! 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.And, it’s no mystery why this tree is called an Alligator Juniper.Earlier 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). 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. 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. The lookout area is the perfect spot for lunch, with its 360 degree views. 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, we had to pass through a gate, marking a free-range area. There was a huge bull standing there! 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.