The Arizona Trail: Part 4

Sunday, March 24th, 2019

I woke up with a runny nose, sinus pressure and a sore throat. Perfect. The DayQuil I took gave me little relief and it would be two more days before we’d be back in town to get something more effective. Oh well, life goes on.

After saying hi to Gnat as she passed by our tent, we packed up and continued hiking through the Coronado National Forest detour that bypassed the trail section that was closed due to a mine reclamation project. We climbed to the top of one of the hills, and met hikers Heading Out and SOS (short for: “Sparkle of Sin”). We picked their brains over the trail ahead, the hikers they met, and chatted with Heading Out about the Florida Trail, one of several trails he had completed that we planned to wrap up over the upcoming winter.

We continued on through grassy fields which we shared with cattle, and saw what appeared to be the remnants of a migrant camp. Either there was a bust or they simply left in a hurry to avoid one.

The flags marking the trail detour were a little confusing at times, but we eventually made it through.

Then the 2,000 foot climb began up the steep forest road. We took a lunch break halfway up at the junction by a stream, and hydrated while soaking up the sunshine. Then we finished the brutal climb.

Nature was calling Frisbee after we made it passed the top, and I needed more water. So we set a meeting point at the next water source.

I went a short distance off trail at the next water source listed on our guide called Bear Spring, leaving my pack next to the sign.

After hydrating and filling up, I waited, and waited, and waited. Still no Frisbee. At first I thought he just really had to go, but after more time passed, I tried calling him. His phone was clearly on airplane mode and I had no luck contacting him.

After several attempts to reach him, he eventually answered. He told me that after he wrapped up his business, he bypassed the source I was at, not seeing my pack, and continued down the hill to the stream that crossed the trail at the bottom. When he didn’t see me there, he assumed I hiked on, and so, he did the same. We ended up losing about 1-hour of sunlight over this little miscommunication, so I was less than thrilled. I passed through pretty scenery in a hurry to catch up with him.

Once we were back on track, we crossed over several streams. The heavier than normal snowfall made a usually dry trail very plentiful of water. Lucky for us!

There was signage along the trail sharing information about the history of gold mining throughout the site. About 109 years ago, people used hydraulic mining, where powerful jets of water blasted away at the hills along the Santa Rita Mountains to gain access to gold deposits. Water was tunneled miles away from Big Casa Blanca Canyon to the gold deposits in Boston Gulch.

After bypassing a trailhead, we’d run back into Gnat who was set up nearby.

We wanted to hike a little further, but after hearing about Hatch’s cow patty adventure, we decided to not continue passed the gate ahead, and settled on a nice flat spot under the trees by mile 72.8.


Distance Traveled: 17.4 miles (28.0 km)

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