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Eye of the Beholder
(March 23rd, 2008 - Huachuca Mountains, Southern Arizona)

This morning when Jim dropped us off at the parking lot at Montezuma Pass, we turned north towards Utah and started walking - very exciting!

We spent most of the day following the Crest Trail along the main ridge of the Huachuca range, and for many miles the crest was very impressive, dropping steeply and quickly to the grasslands below, east and west. It was a classic sky island traverse. We started with a heart-pounding ascent through multiple vegetations zones, and finally cruised through a conifer forest with occasional patches of snow along the top of the range.

Terry on the Crest Trail, Huachuca Mountains

Gary on the Crest Trail, Huachuca Mountains

Knowing (hoping?) that we would make it back to Parker Canyon Lake by day’s end, Terry and I planned to haul as much trash out of the Huachucas as we could. We would hardly make a dent in the vast quantities of debris, but at some point, the trash has to come out one load at a time. Most all of this trash is produced by a steady traffic of “illegal aliens” making their way north towards a more contemporary and practical dream of riches than that of Coronado back in 1540.

It can be shocking to the senses when you suddenly come upon a vast scattering of plastic bags, bottles, discarded clothing and paper in the middle of this wilderness. Terry suggested that we focus on cleaning just one small area so we can enjoy the feeling of having a tangible positive impact that can be readily seen. We chose the saddle above Bear Spring as our clean-up site.

I had heard much about the trash prior to the hike, so I was prepared to be disappointed by the passage; but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose, because for me the bits of garbage were totally overwhelmed by the grand nature of the Huachucas. This was a great hike!

We met another Arizona Trail hiker. He was Bill Webster and he was  planning a long “section” hike of the Trail from Mexico up to the Superstition Mountains.

Perhaps my favorite section of this hike came late in the day in Sunnyside Canyon, well after we had descended from the high crest. Sunnyside was lovely, with water trickling down a creek shaded by pine, juniper, and sycamore trees - quiet, secluded, empty.

A view from the Crest Trail.  Parker Canyon Lake can be seen in the distance.

A view from the Crest Trail. Parker Canyon Lake can be seen in the distance.

Jim was waiting at the end of the Passage to drive us back to Parker Canyon Lake for another night of luxury car camping.

--Dave Baker

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Next - March 24th, 2008 - Cinnamon Hills

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