A Place to Rest
~Sunday, February 6, 2022~
A desert hike sounded appealing since I woke up feeling much better today. However, we didn’t time this little outing very well. It turned out that our campground/garden loop was having a small afternoon outdoor concert of “oldies but goodies”, ‘ya know, tunes that would suit this 50+ RV community. In fact, the first song we heard from the 3-man band was “Bus Stop, Bus Stop” by the Hollie’s and were THEY good! Regretfully, we had to turn down one woman’s invitation to stay as she said, “You guys are missing some great music!” But we had to get on the trail to make it back in time before sunset. Hopefully, another concert is in store for next weekend.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Jeff and Sadie had done a segment of the Prospector Loop Trail in Tucson Mountain Park a few days before, but had to cut their hike short due to the rough terrain. So today would be a rest day at the campsite for our pups while we ventured out. And how convenient that the trail begins right from our campground. We ran into several mountain bikers and fellow hikers but would say this was a very quiet trail overall. One hiker tipped us off to an old abandoned mine about 100 yards off the trail, which sounded intriguing but depended on if we had a cushion of time to see it on our way back. What we did see were the beautiful Tucson Mountains and rocky hillsides studded with endless amounts of Saguaro cactus, all of varying sizes; some were just beginning to grow “arms” which occur when the Saguaro is about 50 years old.
Signage was minimal in the beginning; small rocks with handwriting on them to guide the way, eventually stepping up to faded signs with arrows. A few times we got off course thinking that “wash areas” were trails (you could tell other hikers thought the same thing by the various footprints). It didn’t take long to correct ourselves. After about 30 minutes of winding trails, the terrain got rockier so we really had to watch our sure-footedness. But the trail was “easy” in terms of how level it was, allowing a fast pace. Eventually, the North Trail connects to the Prospector Trail until you are drawn to a stone hut in the distance at the Gates Pass Scenic Overlook,
also accessible by car. It appears most travelers prefer this method. This is just one of numerous small
shelter structures in the area, revitalized by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) where they’ve added picnic tables, concrete floors, fireplaces, and benches that would be a nice place to enjoy a glass of bubbly while watching the sunset, that is if you don’t mind the distraction of graffiti on the 4 walls surrounding you. It was here that I really struggled, not just with the modern day hieroglyphics
we were met with. But the 600-foot climb to the shelter was a bit too much for me today since I didn’t have 100% of my gusto, leaving me to stop several times on the way up. The unparalleled sweeping views were a spectacular diversion. The “hut” was the perfect place for a 10-minute rest. I thought I’d have an appetite for the breakfast burritos I made, especially since all I had was a Cliff Bar up to that point. But nothing was appealing. At least my hubby found them delicious. Hydration, however, wasn’t lacking. After our brief stay, it was time to head down if we wanted to beat the sunset.
By the time we made it back, I was toast (probably should have waited one more day to do that long of a trail). 9 miles!! Another wonderful Sonoran experience worth the price of overdoing it.