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(March 24th, 2008 - Canelo Hills, Southern Arizona)
Terry and I said goodbye to Gary this Monday morning. He will drive back to Tucson today. As we exchanged farewells, Gary mentioned that “canelo” is the Spanish word for cinnamon. Jim gave us a ride back up to the end of Passage #1, and the beginning of our next two passages - Canelo Hills East, and Canelo Hills West.
Terry heading for the "Cinnamon Hills"
Perhaps the golden brown and tan grasslands that surround these hills, and frame the juniper and oak in the canyons and on the ridges, inspired the name. In any event, the hiking was quite good. Though there were many uphill pulls, it was a bit of a relief that there were no climbs as long as the one that ascended the Huachuca Crest.
Oak and grass still life
This is cattle country, as is much of Arizona. We passed several windmill sites where old rusting windmills still stand. They are now idle, their work having been taken over by modern electric pumps powered by high tech solar panel arrays. In many cases the ranchers have provided faucets at these sites that we gratefully used to refill our water containers.
19th and 21st Century Technology
Here too, we were introduced to the concept of “exclosures”. The opposite of an enclosure for cattle, exclosures have been built to keep cattle well away from environmentally sensitive areas in the Canelo Hills, particularly spring sites and riparian areas. What a great thing to do.
There were very few natural water sources in these hills, though we took our Monday lunch break at a small pool in Middle Canyon right beside the Trail.
Monday night was Jim’s last night out before returning to his home in Phoenix for a while, so we spent it with him where the Trail intersects the Canelo Pass road. Tuesday morning we filled our packs with food, bid Jim farewell, and headed towards the town of Patagonia.
I had a chance to hike earlier this year with Richard Corbett, who is the Trail Steward for Canelo Hills West. So, as I walked this Passage, I found myself very appreciative of the incredible amount of work and hard labor volunteers like Richard have given to make the Arizona Trail a reality. Richard is proud of the Passage for which he cares, and he should be. The Arizona Trail is a delicious gift.
Terry and I lingered in Patagonia long enough to get some water and enjoy some ice cream and a salad at a nice coffee shop called the Gathering Grounds. Then we found the road that headed north out of Patagonia up into Temporal Gulch in the Santa Rita Mountains. By the time we found camp, Patagonia was miles away and Mount Wrightson rose above our tents.