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Muleshoe Ranch, Arizona - page 2

April 3-7, 2012

Trip Leader and Author: Bill Priedhorsky

Participants: Melissa 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.

Coatimundis, members of the raccoon family, inhabit the riparian areas. Sometimes, when they move through underbrush, only their upright tails show where they are.
We counted at least 9 in this group along Hot Springs Wash.

Headquarters is 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.

Information for potential visitors can be found at the Nature Conservancy website.

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