Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Arizona Trail Scouting Trips (Passages 1-3) (April 5-7, 2016)

These are mostly notes to myself, to track my progress and improvement.

Weather:  Pass: 1 – ?, Pass: 2 – hot, sunny.  Pass: 3 overcast and 83F at noon. Very comfortable.  Sleeping with door open at head of my bed.


April 5: Passage 1: 7am-11:30am. Rough.  Distance: trying Pedometer and it says one way is 1.42 miles which I don’t believe is right.  Cost is $20 and I may return it. Visitor Center said round-trip it was 3.7 miles but that does not seem to match the signs.

April 7: Passage 3: 11am-12:30pm.  Hiked out about one hour.  Looked at rocks.  Felt good stretching my sore legs. Did not use Pedometer, so don’t know how far I went.  Tried talking to SPOT on phone this morning to fix tracking and thought it was working, but it sent no signal out.  Turns out “tracking” was still not turned on.  So, I don’t know the distance.

Internet Signal Strength:

Montezuma Pass:  4G

On the way to Mexican border: sporatic

Passage 3: south of where AZT crosses Harshaw Rd, parking on right side of road with great camping spots and 4G signal.  I got a lot of work done here.  It was also the quietest night I have had so far.

Blog Posts: 

Passage 1:

Passage 2 and 3:

Passage 3 (cont.)

Mental Readiness:  I have my mind wrapped around the idea of doing the solo hike, but am fighting laziness in training.  I have to force myself to get out and go… but am really enjoying the wilderness when I do get out there.  I kinda resent running into other humans.

Physical Readiness:  A general feeling of wobbliness and being off balance, unsteady.  Tried using my new balance board inside the van and it is very doable.  I’ll begin with a timer for five minutes and gradually increase my time and learn other ways to use it… like on one foot????.

Legs:  Very sore after the 3.5 hr hike.  Sore very time I stood up. Skipped a day to rest them… then walked again for 2.5 hrs to loosen them up.  Felt good.

Shoulders:  Rt shoulder is sore, and the pinchy thing on my shoulder blade seems to be helped by massage with my Theracane.

Lungs:  A recent bout with COPD has me coughing some, and there is congestion in my right lung.  It seems better day by day.  My left nostril was bleeding a few days ago and seems to be healing now.

Feet: Pretty good, but cramp at night, have to keep socks on at night to avoid cramping.  I noticed when I walked downhill, I was flopping my feet down, letting them smack the ground.  I began paying more attention and controlling how I planted my feet, using my leg muscles more to control and strengthen them.

Using Magnesium Oil spray on sore muscles.

Equipment Notes:

Clothing:  My normal clothing was adequate.

Shoes: Old tennies,  not adequate.  Not enough tread, slipped several times going steeply downhill on scree. 

List of Equipment Needed

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Help me a little if you can by donating to my equipment fund for the Arizona Trail hike, in the Fall 2016.  I promise to pay it forward.  There is a PayPal donation button in the top right corner, but I realize people using phone may not see that so I am repeating the button below. You can see a list of gear I need at .

Contribute to Equipment for the Arizona Trail Hike.

Arizona National Trail–Passage 1 and 2 Scouting Trip (April 6, 2016)

Scouting and Research Trip.

Leaving the Coronado National Forest where I spent two nights, I head out in search of the next trail heads. It’s confusing when you are first learning about the Trail and some of what I wrote here was actually in Passage 1.  I will correct it below.

And I found water along the way.


Maybe I am weird but I am fascinated by wild animal scat and their practice of pooping on top of rocks, and here, on top of a cow plop.  There are seeds and berries in the scat.


Checked out some of the side roads for possible future dispersed camping.  Lots of good spots.  I was fascinated by the large Sycamore to the right of my van.


Kept heading toward Parker Canyon Lake.  This is where Passage 1 ends and 2 begins.


This was interesting, a large fenced in area, with barbed wire to keep people out.  Maybe a place for a helicopter to land???  Nothing in there but this sign.


Saw this very large bird???  A hawk???


Not much of anything else out there… then suddenly, this… Lone Mountain Ranch.


Turning off on Sunnyside Road, I’m off to look for the Trail Head.  There was a black PVC piping along the road.  This is actually still Passage 1.


I tried to follow the directions in the trail guide, but came to a stop in the next photo and decided to go no farther.


From the guide book, page 55: The bottom of Sunnyside Canyon often contains flowing water during snowmelt.


Walking to the bottom of the rough road, I found good water, very clean looking.


NO, ol’ SwankieWheels is not driving down that hill.  Strictly a 4-wd road.

OK, I can not find it.  Also no place to turn around, so I backed up the road about .2 of a mile and managed to turn around.  And there it was, Sunnyside Canyon Trailhead.  Very nice by the way.


Didn’t hike there.  Felt the need to sleep… and had a very long well-deserved nap.  It was so very quiet there.  Not another soul.  But finally I woke and decided to drive on.  Thought of pitching my tent there and trying it out for a night, but didn’t.


I had trouble finding the above trailhead… but when I got back out to the highway, there was the sign for 228, I think it’s because my mileage does not match up with the trail book as I have oversized tires on my van and my gauge has not been reset to allow for that.  So many things to consider.


A little farther and another trailhead at Scotia Canyon, still in Passage 1.  Lots of room.  I did not stay.  Pushed on to the lake.


Finally, the end of Passage 1 and beginning of Passage 2, at Parker Canyon Lake.



It’s a very nice Trailhead.


A pair of birds (?). What kind?  This is the best I could zoom on them. The one on right looked like it had a white head.




Seniors with pass, only $5 a night.


Store was closed.


Parker Canyon Lake… pretty nice, but store was closed.  Another friend of mine was there but I didn’t know it until after I had left.  I’ll have to come back on day and kayak.


Canelo Hills East… missed it somehow????


Canelo Hills East… here’s the sign but I did not see more signs or a turnoff.

From the guidebook, page 59:  Very few outdoor enthusiasts explore the hills north of Parker Canyon Lake.  Because they don’t command the respect of higher mountain ranges nearby, the Canelo Hills go relatively unnoticed.  But as with many of Arizona’s natural wonders, careful examination reveals incredible beauty.  The trail follows a rolling path up and down hills and crosses many arroyos.  Although this is not designated wilderness area, there is little evidence of humans along the trail.


Suddenly the land becomes flat, open range… cattle and cowboy country.  I always like the look and feel of that.


From there, I found a wide place on the right side of the road to pull off and spend the night.  It was not a trailhead, but lots of camping has taken place there and I had a good strong 4G signal.  And it was very quiet that night.  Turns out that was actually in Passage 3.

Last: Passage 1 - In the beginning… Next: Passage 3 - Canelo Hills West

Thank you for doing your usual Amazon shopping using my affiliate link.

Help me a little if you can by donating to my equipment fund for the Arizona Trail hike, in the Fall 2016.  I promise to pay it forward.  There is a PayPal donation button in the top right corner, but I realize people using phone may not see that so I am repeating the button below. You can see a list of gear I need at .

Contribute to Equipment for the Arizona Trail Hike.

Who is Swankie?

My photo
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.