Arizona Trail Passage 1 Backpack - April 11-13, 2014
Day 1

Added 6 April 2015


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Friday, 11 April 2014

Arizona Trail Passage 1: Huachuca Mountains - U.S.-Mexico border to Parker Canyon Lake

Arizona Trail Passage 1, Take 3 (or 4). After several failed attempts to hike this passage due to circumstances beyond our control, Jerry, Andrea ("Cheetah") and I finally started our three day trek along the very beginning of the Arizona Trail starting from the U.S.-Mexico border and ending at Parker Canyon Lake. View from Montezuma PassFire restrictions or actual forest fires had halted our previous attempts, so this year we decided to plan it earlier in the year before the fire season really kicked in. We made it this time, BARELY.View from Montezuma Pass

We left Tucson after lunch, driving in two cars so we could set up our own shuttle. I got to Parker Canyon Lake first, but didnít have to wait long for Jerry and Cheetah to arrive. Since we would be camping near the trailhead tonight, we left my car at the end of the passage and took Jerryís truck to Montezuma Pass, the closest place you can drive to the actual start of the Arizona Trail down at the border.


Signs at Montezuma PassThe trail down to the border from Montezuma PassWe put our boots on the passage today, but our goal wasnít very ambitious. Our plan was to merely hike the portion of the trail south of Montezuma Pass down to the border and back, thus avoiding having to hike those miles tomorrow. Donning our day packs in the late afternoon, we hiked down to the border and the beginning of the Arizona Trail. After taking some photos of us at the border, we hiked back up to the truck, then hiked up to the top of Coronado Peak, where legend has it Dale Shewalter reportedly concieved of the idea of the Arizona Trail. We watched the sun drop to the horizon from the birthplace of the AZT.


View from Montezuma Pass Jerry and Cheetah on the trail down to the border from Montezuma Pass Sign at the beginning of the Arizona Trail.


Brian, Andrea and Jerry at the United States boundary marker at the beginning of the Arizona Trail. United States boundary marker at the beginning of the Arizona Trail. Brian sneaking into the United States.  Sneaky.  Real sneaky!


Jerry and Cheetah on the trail down to the border from Montezuma Pass A cactus in bloom. Jerry and Cheetah on the trail down to the border from Montezuma Pass


Coronado Peak, where Dale Shewalter reportedly concieved of the idea of the Arizona Trail. View from Coronado Peak View from Coronado Peak

The breeze was cool, and we wanted to have at least a little bit of light for finding a place to camp, so we returned to the truck before it got dark and descended to the west to locate a couple of places that we scouted out from the peak. The sunset as we reached camp was stellar. The sky was on fire. We found a nice large, level fill pad that we thought may have been created by the Border Patrol for a camp and decided to call it home. After dinner in the dark around a small campfire, it wasnít long before we turned in for the evening. I didnít bother with a tent, a decision that I hoped the chilly breeze didnít make me regret.


Sunset from camp. Sunset from camp.


Sunset from camp. Sunset from camp.  Wow! The sky aflame.  It doesn't get better than that!

We hiked 1.5 miles (X 2) today.


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