Added 2 December 2016
Saturday, May 11, 2013, Arizona Trail Passage 4: Temporal Gulch - Patagonia to Gardner Canyon Road
Jerry and Andrea came up with what I thought was a fairly convoluted plan involving three vehicles for the trip in order to avoid carrying backpacks on this passage. We drove three vehicles to the end of the trail, and left my Prius there. I then rode with Shaun and taking the other two vehicles we drove halfway up Passage 4 to a campsite. We left Jerry's truck there with all of our camping gear. Then we all got in Shaun's truck and drove back down the road to the trailhead at the post office in Patagonia. We then day hiked up the road we had just driven (out and back) to camp where we left Jerry's truck. It was a lot of driving, but it was also nice not having to haul all of our gear and water. Even so, I would have gone with a simpler two-car shuttle and backpack option.
At was after nine o'clock by the time we started hiking, and it was a beautiful morning. While hiking out of town, I was a bit behind the group after looking at some birds and for some reason I was hiking on the shoulder of the road rather than on the sidewalk. In the act of doing this, I serendipitously scared up what I think was a Sonoran Whipsnake (Coluber bilineatus). I was reaching for my camera when it bolted into the grass, and by the time I realized it was getting away, it was too late for me to catch it.
Not long after leaving town and hitting the dirt road, we spotted a fairly large Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer) sunning itself on the road. It too bolted before I could get a picture of it, but I was at least able to find it in the grass by the side of the road. Even though our entire hike today was on roads, there wasn't much traffic so it wasn't bad. The road gets progressively worse, which helps reduce traffic as you go.
The scenery along the road is really pretty, variously containing riparian habitat and rolling oak woodland with some very large oak trees.
It was mid-afternoon when we got to camp and by then it was a little bit warm, so Jerry backed his truck up below a large oak tree and we relaxed in the shade. The two of us hung up the hammock that Shaun and Raquel had gotten them and I relaxed in it a bit.
The area around camp seemed to be really birdy, so a couple of hours before sunset I decided to hike up Temporal Gulch to do some birding and general exploring. It turned out that there were more birds in camp than up canyon, but it was still a really cool hike. I found a couple of Canyon Tree Frogs (Hyla arenicolor) in the stream, which was cool, and also found and caught an Eastern Patch-nosed snake (Salvadora grahamiae).
I stayed out longer than I had anticipated and by the time I got back to camp it was getting dark. To my surprise, everyone was getting ready to go to bed already! I quickly made dinner after having some issues with the new alcohol stove I made, then moved all of my stuff over to where the hammock was hung and stayed up for a bit reading and enjoying the night. My light attracted a bunch of bugs, which forced me into retreat and I decided to just go ahead and go to bed. I decided to try to sleep in the hammock, just to see if it was something I could handle for an entire night. I've always thought that a hammock would make a great backpacking sleeping platform that would get me of the ground, but since I'm a side and stomach sleeper, I was always concerned that I wouldn't be able to find enough sleeping positions to keep me comfortable all night long.
Sleeping in the hammock worked fine for an hour or two, but as my discomfort grew, I bailed on my plan and dug my tent out of the truck and set it up.