To say that we have hiked every day for the past 6 days might make it sound like we are on some sort of long distance trek or backpacking excursion. But our modus operandi for a day of hiking is that we get in the car in the morning, drive an hour or so, park at a trailhead, hike 6 or 7 miles to explore some canyon or mountain ridge and then have plenty of time left in the day for a relaxed dinner and evening at home. I’m happy if we are able to do that once or twice a week. I was in seventh heaven this week when we got to do it every single day.
Last January we spent several days in Sierra Vista, Arizona, as a winter getaway from the Albuquerque cold and enjoyed some hiking then. But this past year, as Lee continued researching the area, he pointed out that if we stayed closer to Benson, Arizona, we would be centrally located for an even wider range of hiking opportunities. We found a cute short term rental casita in St. David, where we have been staying for the week. We couldn’t have asked for better weather and with no other obligations to hold us back we have hiked every day, each day in a different area.
The first day was a 6.7 mile out and back on the Cochise Trail in the Dragoon Mountains.
The second day was a section of the Arizona Trail in the Patagonia Mountains. We had hiked south on a section of this trail last year. From Patagonia the north section starts off on forest road and then has an option for a side trail up Temporal Gulch. Most of our 8 and a half miles on this hike was on the forest road, since it was further than we had expected to the Temporal Gulch trailhead.
Several years ago we had spent a couple of days hiking at Chiricahua National Monument. There aren’t a lot of trails there, but it is an awe inspiring place with unusual rock formations. On our previous visit we hadn’t done the Natural Bridge Trail, a 5 mile out and back hike. It didn’t go through the area with the rocks that I had remembered but it was a pleasurable hike, nevertheless.
This was the hottest day of hiking and the longest, but, fortunately, not a lot of elevation gain. We were hiking with a friend and that made the hours on the trail pass quickly. We did 9.5 miles out and back in the Rincon Mountains. We started on the Hope Camp Trail which intersects the Arizona Trail on a section called the Quilter Trail. We went partway up that to keep on our Arizona Trail theme. The views were good and many of the slopes sprouted large fields of Saguaro Cacti, always a pleasure to see.
Although there was some steep uphill, I think this was my favorite hiking place. We were on a section of the Arizona Trail that is almost at the southern terminus. We drove to Montezuma Pass at Coronado National Monument and took the short hike from the parking lot to Coronado Peak before heading in the other direction to climb north into the Huachuca Mountains. Lots of elevation in a short number of miles, but awesome views over the San Pedro River Valley and into Mexico.
Today’s hike was up Brown Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains just to the west of Sierra Vista. We had hiked a trail close to this one last year that basically stayed on the lateral as it went between two canyons. There was less snow this year on the mountain so we figured we could go higher up into the canyon. It was pleasant forested hiking, but not many views.
Tomorrow we leave our St. David casita, but, happily, it is to continue on to another part of Arizona where we will explore new hiking destinations.