Saturday, April 23, 2016

Arizona National Trail—Passage 13 Scouting Trip (April 22, 2016)

Oracle, AZ

Passage 13 begins at the American Flag Ranch Trailhead while I wrote about in my last post on Passage 12.  I felt I needed a day of rest, so this would basically be a “driving” day.  Passage 13 trail below and I did not hike there.



I visited the Biosphere 2 while I was in the area (will blog separately on that) and also drove on to the north side of Mt. Lemmon, at the Peppersauce Campground.


There are suppose to be fossils at this location, but I was too tired from my hike to look for them … but believe the stack is where they are found.  That night I was visited by six javelinas around my van.  This valley is very interesting, with some very large trees.


There is also the Arizona Zipline company along the way but I have done zip lines in the wilds of the Teton Mountains, so this held no interest for me.


Going through the Peppersauce Campground you come to this Rite of Passage (part of Sycamore Canyon Academy) and the Salvation Army Camp O’ Woods facility.  In trying to learn more about this place up past the Campground I came upon a book by Ken Lamberton, Beyond Desert Walls: Essays from Prison.  There is some interesting history there. 

I guess I needed a break from the AZT and the Peppersauce Canyon was just the thing.  I did not see the caves but will return one day to explore the area in depth.  It is not an area you can visit during winter or heavy rains.


The road that drops down into the Canyon there is very other-worldly…. many Ocotillo cactus, and Agave Century Plants.  In a very short distance, you drop down into a lush forest of Cottonwood and Sycamore trees and a thick understory of other plants and grass.

Back to the highway, I checked out the signage on American Avenue, into the Oracle State Park, but did not hike to the trailhead.  The parking lot was boring and there is a fee for day use, so I left.  I carry a second guidebook with me, besides the AZT book and that is:  Gem Trails of Arizona.  As an avid “rockhounder” I guess I was experiencing rock-withdrawal and I got itchy feet to look for some of the rock in the area and I was in the mood to drive.


After exploring the Peppersauce Campground and canyon, and getting a little rock hounding in, I returned to the highway 77 and found the turnoff for Old Tiger Road and drove out to that Trailhead.  Nice wide area.  I did not hike but could see the trail down below from the parking lot.  Passage 14 begins at that Trailhead. Enlarge below photo to see trail following that ridgeline.


So, I guess I really didn’t hike any of Passage 13.  Darn.  But it is short and really didn’t look very interesting to me.

Last: Passage 12 – Oracle Ridge

Next:  Passage 14-15 – Black Hills, Tortilla Mountains

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Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.