Friday, September 5, 2014

Don't Throw Off My Groove!

For our adventure last Saturday, (8/30/14) we went for a hike and planted my letterboxes. Here are a few pictures of the trail we hiked, with no good hints whatsoever of where the boxes are hidden. :)

We hiked 5.8 miles round trip on Bog Springs trail in Madera Canyon. We love the hikes in this area because the trails are more well-graded and easier to walk on than trails in the Catalina Mountains. This trail ended up being much more steep than I had in mind and we got more of a workout than we had planned, but overall it was a great hike and a gorgeous day!

We had walked about a quarter mile on this trail earlier this year just to grab a box, and what I remembered then was lots of shade and a relatively level trail. When I heard the name "Bog Springs Trail", I pictured a trail that stayed relatively level and led you to a stream or a waterfall. That wasn't how it turned out, but we were pleased to find that there was a lot of running water and even a waterfall thanks to the monsoons!

As you can see, it's also very green here, and it stayed that way throughout the whole hike. Parts of it were more exposed like this and the sun was beating down on us, but when we were walking uphill it thankfully was mostly in the shade! Madera Canyon is of course a part of the Coronado National Forest and the Santa Rita Mountains, including Mt. Wrightson. We got some great views of the mountain throughout the hike.

Since the letterbox series I was planting today was all about the Emperor's New Groove, we quoted lines from the movie constantly while hiking. "Oh look, there's a 'scary tree (growing into a boulder?)!' I'm afraid!" ;)

We found a waterfall! This was the only one we found, but we aren't positive on what it is called. We spent a lot of time relaxing here.

Another scary tree? No, just taking another break - it was a steep slope for the majority of the hike up! We were hiking on a loop trail, and when studying our map to decide which way to go first, we noticed the other way had lots of switchbacks. For some reason, we really didn't want to hike up switchbacks, but the final call was made when a group of very slow hikers decided to go that way, and we didn't want to be playing "leap frog" with them while we were hiking and hiding boxes as we went. It was steeper than we had in mind, but I think neither of us regretted doing it this way.

Another break. The most exciting part for me was when I was alone, writing down clues to get to one box I had just hidden, when suddenly I heard this loud buzzing sound. Was it a bee? A large bird? I turned slowly and saw a hummingbird literally 6 inches away from me!! I was wearing a very brightly colored pink shirt and standing very still, which is probably why it got so close to me. It flew away when I looked, but came back several times before deciding to be afraid and leave for good. Curtis missed out on this part because he ran ahead to grab a Geocache. :)

Kent Springs, just past the halfway mark. Hurray! No more steep climbing!!

Once we reached the highest we would get on the trail, it stayed at that level for quite a while before beginning to descend again. As we were hiking along a steep, narrow ridge, the trees cleared up allowing us to see the mountains and valleys that surrounded us. 

Mt. Wrightson back there, watching over us! (Above picture, I turned around to take this picture facing South)

Mines in the distance - see the white and blue spots in the valley? This is facing East, I believe

To the West were the Western Santa Rita Mountains! My computer pieced this together though I didn't mean to take a panorama here. Oh well, I'll take what I can get. :)

The descent was also steep, except on more narrow ridges with less shade covering us, which made me thankful we had gone the other way. Overall, the trail was very quiet and we hardly came across any other hikers (which is ideal when hiding boxes!) It was hot, but never too much to handle. I feel pretty good about the hiding places and hope that the boxes last a while, long enough for lots of boxers to enjoy finding them at least!

Oh yeah, we ended the day with getting an ice cream cake from Baskin Robins…because we had a coupon! That means you HAVE to get one, right?! :) It was actually my first ice cream cake, and it was delicious. Mint chocolate chip…just for you, Michael Scott. ;)

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