Once upon a time, in the land of frozen waters lived an introspective nature lover by the name of Fin. Fin, as he aged and tired of the land of Sheeples, determined it was time to set off on an epic journey. His friend, MrGreen, had kindled the inkling of his current wanderlust with a planned backcountry trip to the wilds of Glacier National Park earlier in the year, and the grandeur that existed along every step incited a yearning with Fin to see what other wonders existed outside the land of Sheeples and its icy grip. Fin, recently disavowed from responsibilities and recovering from a succession of personal tragedies, loaded his car and started driving; his direction, unknown; his destination, to be determined.
Somewhere along his rambles through the dreamy lands of Kentucky, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and Colorado, his old friend MrGreen once again contacted Fin with another grand scheme. MrGreen had been studying maps, and since he too had recently been deprived of a consistent source of income, suggested the possibility of another joint hiking venture. “The Great Google Earth that exists in the aether tells me to travel to the fabled city of Tucson,” MrGreen exclaimed, “and I was ordained to request the combination of forces to traverse the hills among the Giants of Seguaro.”
Fin's interest, already piqued at the company of another traveler, soared at the descriptions of elevations to conquer, climate variations to endure and the richness of flavor that accompanies the trail food MrGreen supplies at every trip. So expectantly, Fin returned to the land of Sheeples to gather his friend and make the journey to the Spring at the Foot of a Black Mountain.
After many hours of travel, they fortified themselves in the land of Cannibal and visited with the mighty steeds Arlo and Spike, resting and steeling themselves for the journey through the Great Blah, the seemingly endless hills of sand and rock lying like the litter in a cat box between the land of Cannibal and the Seguaro Giants.
The travel, arduous in its blandness and length, was made without mishap, and the venturers arrived under cover of darkness to the outskirts of the immense succulents.
As the day broke over the arid landscape, Fin and MrGreen ascended through the towering giants to gaze over their domain from the lofty heights of the Rincon Mountain District.
Ascending 3000 feet in 7.5 miles, they found refuge among the junipers in the aptly named Juniper Basin,
and made camp with their havens of fabric and netting, swaying gently in the breezes of the verdant basin as they watched the dying embers of the sun set over the landscape, once imagined as barren desert but now realized as diverse and wild, springing with life wherever the cool touch of water settled amongst the varying terrain cut through the rocky elevations of the mountain range. As the last light of the sun disappeared behind the jagged vista,
the orb of night rose over the expectant forest, bathing the grounds in its fullness, casting a pale glow and lighting the earth with the reflections of the light that was, and would be.
The trek up the range was not without its perils; Fin suffered from the formation of vesicles along his heels on the maiden climb,
while MrGreen experienced the effects of the thinning atmosphere. Both suffered from the jabbing points of the Agave as they travailed through the winding mountain paths. On the second day of their quest, they crested one peak and descended its heights only to stare another apex fraught with varying steps of indeterminate widths and heights, ice and the reaching points of the agave, and a gross miscalculation by the map-holder of the distance needed to ascend the trail to their next base; the luxuriant Manning Camp, which was known as an outpost for the stewards of the forest of which the succulent behemoths resided.
The stewards were absent upon Fin and MrGreen’s arrival, but the camp sparkled in comfort, tender in its mercies toward the footworn wayfarers with its ample tinder, reliable watersource and the bevy of large pines from which to suspend their bunks of ripstop. Fin and MrGreen made this their base camp for the next 3 nights, traveling to the heights of Spud Rock, Micah Mountain and Reef Rock during the sojourn at the Camp of Manning. They rested one day to allow their hamstrings to stop quivering and their lungs to acclimate to the thinner air, as well as to allow Fin’s exuding wheals to drain and mend.
On the day of rest, the travelers did not. They gathered their gear and descended the mountain, traversing 6000 feet of elevation and 18.5 miles, the majority through the arid path through Douglas Springs to the Loma Verde trailhead. Upon exiting this section of their quest and after a fortuitous embrace of local day-hikers knowledge, the duo decided to alight upon the land of balancing rocks known as Chiricahua.
An easy wrap up to the strain of the backcountry, Chiricahua offered up its history, amazing views and the comfort of a vehicle bivouac from site number 11, the best site in the campground for its views and trees.
Diurnal sojourns into the heart of the park provided a glimpse of the beauty of its towering tableau. The first evening was spent in camp with the wind moving counterclockwise through the valley, lifting and falling, over and over in cycles, singing mysteries through the abundant sculpted formations on the hills of the valley. Campfires in a standing grate non-withstanding, it was a magical, majestic setting on which to contemplate the return to the frozen North.
Summary: Seguaro was awesome! The varying terrain, the elevation changes, the views, the camps – can’t say enough good things about this park. Chiricahua does not have the backcountry opportunities of Seguaro, but was a beautiful place and I would highly recommend to families or those not looking for challenging hiking, but still wanting to camp and hike among some amazing scenery.
Link to the full set of pics: