Trip Leader and
Bartlett and Bill Priedhorsky
On the second day, we took on the
7-mile Beth Woodin Scenic Vista trail, which climbs west to a
plateau about 600 feet above the wash. This was high enough enough
for views in every direction – the 7000 foot Galiuro Mountains in
the northeast, saguaro landscapes dropping into the San Pedro River
Valley to the west, and Mount Lemmon beyond. The trail switchbacks
up from the corrals, follows a wash upstream, then contours under
toothlike summits before turning back to Hot Springs Wash. The crags
look straightforwardly accessible to cross-country scramblers, worth
a visit on a return trip.
Heading up the Beth
Woodin Scenic Vista trail.
The crags behind still await our exploration.
View from the Beth
Woodin trail to the 7000-foot Galiuro Mountains to the northeast,
inside the Galiuro Wilderness area of the Coronado National Forest.
On the third day
we went cross-country, up Double R Canyon, across a ridge, then down
Bass Canyon. While the streamways are beautiful, they are an
interlocking thicket of vegetation and progress is challenging. The
dry uplands are an easier go, with a little care for thorny things.
The rocky outcrops on summits and slopes are a volcanic conglomerate
that is reminiscent of canyon country sandstone, but rougher. Had we
been in Utah, the slickrock gullies would have held water in
pockets, but these were parched. The Muleshoe map is dotted with
springs, but surprise water seems unlikely, because any place damp
becomes a green oasis visible from afar. Our little cross-country
hike was a revelation – though only two major hikes are advertised,
dozens are possible with a little creativity, either based from
headquarters, or 4-wheeling a few miles north to get a start at
Wildcat Peak, upper Double R Canyon, or Swamp Springs Canyon.
We saw numerous
birds, including big hawks and buzzards, but the only large mammals
were coatimundis, a member of the raccoon family. Little flowers
were everywhere if one looked with care.
of the raccoon family, inhabit the riparian areas. Sometimes, when
they move through underbrush, only their upright tails show where
We counted at least 9 in this group along Hot Springs Wash.
located at the historic Hooker Hot Springs, a piece of real estate
with nine recorded murders by and of residents. Backcountry Arizona
was apparently the place to hang out if places like Tombstone were
too civilized for comfort. Nowadays, the springs consist of two
6-foot diameter stock tanks, flowing with 106° spring water. Use is
restricted to casita guests. The springs were a fine place to view
moonrise and rest from a day of hiking. Although the casitas were
filled, we never had to share our evening soak.
potential visitors can be found at the Nature Conservancy
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