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AZT – Mount Wrightson Trailhead to Gardner Canyon

The Arizona Trail crossing a creek in Gardner Canyon, Coronado National Forest, Arizona

Day 8

As Twix, Salsa, Olive Oyl and I were packing up to head out for the morning, Sheriff Woody and Bill Murray (don’t get too excited – both just trail names) strolled by and waited for us to finish up so we could all head out together. Awaiting us was a steep 2000 foot climb toward the base of Mount Wrightson, the highest peak in the Santa Rita Mountains.

The trail followed the same dirt road that brought us out of Patagonia and quite a distance up until reaching another trailhead where it forked off into an actual trail, eventually climaxing at a saddle at just over 6500 feet.

I was hiking alone at that point, but in between the two groups of Sheriff Woody and Bill Murray and Twix, Olive Oyl, and Salsa. At the saddle I caught up with the former and unloaded for lunch and also checked on a blister which wasn’t doing great. I left my sock off and started on a large lunch, chatting with the others and welcoming up the group behind me when they arrived.

After a good meal and rest,  we started our descent down the mountains. It was easy going as the ponderosa pine gave way to oaks and juniper. The trail rarely ascended, so we all made good time to Gardner Canyon. The trail forks and crosses a creek, which was still flowing well, shortly before the end of the passage where we found a great campsite that even had a swing!

We each set up our own camps and gathered around an unlit firepit to eat dinner. As the skies grew darker and the coolness set in, some went to bed, and others like myself stayed up for the night sky.

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All content © Copyright Mike Cavaroc, Free Roaming Hiker & Free Roaming Photography