A perfect spring day in a wet canyon deep in the Gila National Forest. We four-wheeled to the trailhead and then hiked into dreamy Allie Canyon, which meanders through lush meadows and Ponderosa pine forest across the Piños Altos Range.
So she did it! Our dear friend Ann H, who introduced us to Four Wheel campers, finally bought her own rig, a 2013 Taco with a Fleet flatbed. Ann came home with Turtle Truck just a few days before friends Jeff and Julia invited us to join them for three days in Aravaipa Canyon. It was the perfect first joint outing, and our first backpacking trip in more than a year!
It's now two months since we made the move to Silver City, and while we spend most of our time working on our new home (aka "The Bungle-oh", we've still managed to squeeze in a few local hikes, expertly guided by our old friend and new neighbor, Ann H.
Since we moved to Silver City, we've been hoping for a proper snowstorm. This is what we found when we opened our door about 7:00 am on Tuesday, January 26.
I don't know if we really planned on renovating a 1945 bungalow, but here we are. Since moving here in early December, we have worked nearly full-time on unpacking, organizing and, ultimately, renovating our new home in Silver City.
We spent the summer camping and hiking all over central New Mexico and northern Arizona. From the Mogollon Rim to the White Mountains, the Manzano Mountains, El Malpais, San Franciscos and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, we spent weeks exploring areas we'd only briefly visited in the past. It was good, it was TOO good! And it gave us a taste for something more!
In 2011, the Horseshoe II fire tore through the upper Chirichuas. But now nine years have passed, and we decided it was time to return to the Chiricahua Crest Trail to scout the area for a future trip.
As the terrible awful summer of 2020 wears on, we are spending as much time as possible far from Tucson. After a few days along the Rim with our ham radio camping buddy, we wandered north to Sunset Crater and the Grand Canyon.
The trail follows parts of a military road blazed in the 1870s from Fort Apache, near Whiteriver on the White Mountain Apache Reservation, to Fort Whipple in Prescott. It became one of the first major roads in Arizona, and for decades served as a supply and communications route.
In the summer of 2020, Arizona was hit by a triple whammy: a deadly pandemic, catastrophic wildfires and a near-total failure of the monsoon coupled with sustained record-breaking heat. We stayed home just long enough to clean up, fix up and restock and then headed north once again, with no particular destination in mind.
A few days before our long-planned trip to the Pecos Wilderness, we learned that New Mexico was requiring a 14-day quarantine for out-of-state visitors. On a whim, we redirected to the back side of the San Francisco Mountains, and found not only relief from the heat, but far more possibilities camping and hiking options than we ever imagined.
By mid-June, the Bighorn fire had morphed into a monster of over 100,000 acres, and seemed hell-bent on consuming the entire Santa Catalina range. We decided to go ahead with our plans to head up to the Mogollon Rim for Ham Radio Field Day, if for no other reason than to get out of the smoke.
With careful planning, we might still be able to realize our dream of spending most of the summer on the road far from the heat of Tucson. And while the cats are not exactly thrilled with our travel plans, they are learning to adjust.
A couple of days of unseasonably cool weather provided a great opportunity to take a short trip with the new rig to a place we'd originally planned to visit in March.
Several streams plunge from the lip of the Mogollon Rim to the floor of the desert — the Verde, East and West Clear Creek, Horton Creek, Fossil Creek — but Haigler Creek first wanders tantalizingly west through the Tonto National Forest before joining with Tonto Creek in the Hellsgate Wilderness. This is a lightly populated area with very limited access.