Day 8: Mulberry Canyon to I-10 (nearly)

Rincon Mountains Above the Arizona Trail

I woke up this morning to see a bunny rabbit bouncing around the imaginary perimeter of my campsite. I felt very refreshed after a good night’s rest and was ready to have a mellow day.

I started off down the trail after packing up camp, following it down and ultimately out of the grassland hills and into the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area. It was through here that I began to notice lots of new bird sounds, some like a tiny waterfall, others like a tiny engine revving. Father down, the desert was alive and in great bloom! There were more cactus along the trail. Wildflowers filled in as many gaps in vegetation as possible. There was a sweet sandy smell that permeated the air. Flies, bees, butterflies, and all kinds of flittering and buzzing critters were hard at work getting in as much labor as possible before the heat takes hold. Prickly pear cactus and ocotillo covered the hillsides in a bright desert green, with the ocotillo providing a splash of red to break up the color.

The hills themselves started to flatten out as the miles added up. To most, the area wouldn’t be considered very inspiring, and in the midday sun, it’d be hard to prove otherwise. Still, the trail seemed harmless, easy-going, and in general, wonderfully pleasant. Birds chirped all around and a welcome breeze blew away any hot air. It was really very nurturing.

I soon came upon Twin Tanks where I stopped for a lengthy amount of time getting lots more water and checking in with family. It was here that I ran into two high school kids in a Polaris. One was an Eagle Scout and very interested in the Arizona Trail, the other, quiet.

Sonoran Desert Hiking Trail

As the grass was beginning to become more sparse, I rounded a corner and a tremendous view unfolded of the Rincon Mountains straight ahead, as well as the Santa Catalina Mountains beyond, with Tucson at the base. Progress along the trail could be felt in this view.

Farther along my way, a couple of cyclists caught up with me, and they turned out to be the same two I had seen the previous evening. Rudy and Jay chatted with me for a bit and were even kind enough to supply me with some much needed water. They were out for a few days cycling from Tucson and were headed to Colossal Cave for the night. The water was a huge help, so I can’t thank them enough for their generosity.

It was soon after I became ready to call it a day, but I wanted to be a bit closer to I-10 to make the next day a bit easier. After a bit of complaining from my legs, I found a place a couple of miles south of the interstate, which should allow me to get my next mail drop tomorrow afternoon at Colossal Cave Mountain Park. It couldn’t come a moment too soon either. My body just hit the point where it’s now craving a few binge-eating meals.

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