Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Arizona National Trail—Passage 8 Scouting Trip (April 13, 2016)

Rincon Valley area

Passage 8 actually begins at Gabe Zimmerman Trailhead, and then goes to the Colossal Cave Mountain Park, and the La Posta Quemada Ranch.  Zimerman Trailhead is covered at the end of the Passage 7 post.

I did not go in Colossal Cave as I didn’t have the money to spare, with another week yet before payday.

But the La Posta Quemada Ranch and the two campground areas at Colossal Cave Mountain Park were very interesting.  I’ll like to return there sometime, maybe to horseback ride, but a 45 min ride was $30…



The Ranch looks like an interesting place, but I did not explore. Was neat looking up this hill and seeing it covered with Saguaro cactus.


I wasn’t sure where the AZT was in this area and was surprised to see a signpost right beside me.


Would be nice to come off the trail and find a bathroom, shade, etc..


Now that is a welcome site, shade and water.


This was a huge tree, so I had to do a selfie.


The roads are in very bad shape, even the paved roads.  It was hairy getting back in to the campgrounds there by van, but arriving there by trail to find toilets, water, trash cans, shade, tables… will probably seem pretty wonderful.

Hiking to the Cave itself from the campground is a 2 mile round trip detour… which I probably won’t do.  I’ll visit it by van one day.


Doesn’t look very promising to see much more of the trail itself via vehicular trailheads.


I drove in x9 Ranch Road and found the trail crossing, but there was no place to park so that I could hike it.  I should have taken time for a hike from the campground.  State Trust land signs… either I was driving through Trust lands, or it borders this road?.

I did find the trail crossing, and it is well-signed.  First time I have seen this sign.  There were a number of work trucks going to the gated housing community, that were going down this wash-board road pretty darned fast.



Even coming off the trail at the road, the signage was very good.


The AZT heading south from x9 Ranch Road.

I would not say this section is as pretty as #7 but there are some nice plants and more Saguaros here.


This was a road going off to the west and is marked State Trust Land, permit required.  It was a little rough looking anyway.



The washboard road ended at a gated community where I had to turn around.


I then drove the Camino Loma Alta road to Hope Camp and  to the National Park Service trailhead parking lot… the Loma Alta trailhead, but it is a three mile hike just to reach the AZT from there.   So, being noon, I decided to make breakfast and write this post.  Lots of mature hikers going up this trail for day hikes today.  I don’t see any “camp.”


Some of the warning signs are disconcerting, Africanized bees, Mountain Lions, etc.

According to the guide book, page 99, “It’s a tough slog up the steep terrain, dipping in and out of small drainages, and the views to the south improve with every foot of elevation you gain.”

Yah, I’m not going to see the tAZ rail here until I’m southbound in the Fall.  Also will have to make reservations to stay in a campground in Saguaro National Park as it is a 21.6 mile passage and no camping is allowed anywhere but campgrounds.

Studying the maps, I can’t see any other places where I can access the AZT by vehicle… so it’s on to study Passage 9 and from what I can tell, I can’t even get there at all in any reasonable fashion.  We will see.

Last:  Passage 7-Las Cienegas

Next: Passage 9-10-Rincon 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.