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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Day 58 - Madera Canyon & Elephant Head Hike

Today I was out to find Madera Canyon for hiking.  Back when I went on s Meetup hike I met a man from Green Valley who told me about hiking Madera Canyon.

I had a hard time finding it, but when o went to Nogalas and on to and Bisbee I saw a brown sign for Madera Recreation Area on I19.

Today I will find it!

Google Maps would have found it if I knew how to spell it, but I knew the general location as there is only one mountain range just south of Green Valley.

I had checked out the hikes in this area on AllTrails and I thought that I would like to hike around Elephant Head off in the distance.  It is the most prominent feature of the mountain range.

First I will check out the canyon and because I hold the senior pass there is no cost for me today.

The canyon is heavily wooded as it rises well up out of the desert.  It was a steady climb from Green Valley to the top of the canyon that ends in a turnaround.  Along the way there is a lodge, B&B, camping and gift shop.  The picture above is one of the quaint places to see.

Here is another.


This is the B&B.

The map I got there does not show the trail I want to go on that would be off the bottom right corner.  I did see a sign as I came in off in that direction.

When you look at the dark black line this is the park road.  The teardrop at the end is the largest trailhead and it was half full when I drove through this am.  These trails that start there must be the most popular.  I don't want a strenuous hike today and would like open views so I don't stay here to hike.

There off in the distance is my objective.

I check AllTrails and the hike for Elephant Head actually starts off that end of the mountain range (western end), so I decide to follow the signed trail that goes in that direction as an investigation.

I go back to the first trailhead and I walk towards Elephant Head.  The trail starts off as a road.

I scare up 4 deer.  One by one they cross the road.

I find another dispersed camping area.

Yes it is a nice dispersed area where you can stay up to 14 days at no cost provided your $5 usage fee is waved as you have s pass.

Here is one site with a car and tent.  Looks nice.  You just have to drive over a wash with about 2" of water running right now.

My objective is a long way away.  I'm not planning on climbing it just to get to it will be a good hike.

It's a good trail for hiking, going down hill out and some flowers along the way,

I like the way the cactus branches bend at the same angle as the mountain face.

I hear a loud noise in the thicket near the brook.  I turn quickly to see a wild boar that looked like it had tusks.  It was a bit bigger than the one I got the photo of the other day.

This is a different desert plant than what j have seen.  Check out the very small flowers.

There are lots of barrel cactus here.

Don't know the name but I liked the symmetry of it.

Flowers near the brook.

One of two gates you go through with cattle guards.  Lock the gate behind you each way.

I make it to a ridge at the base of the Elephant Head.

I decided to turn around as I have been hiking for over 3 miles and over 1.5 hours and I have heal blisters on the bottom of both feet.  This is a first.  

They are different socks today and I used the thin poly underneath and wool on top like my other hikes.  Now this is not a rubbing of the back of the heal it is the base of the heal.  It felt like sand rubbing my heal and although I did stop and take out some a couple of times it got a all blister on both heals.  I carry bandages so I have them on but the damage is done and I've got 3 moreover to go to get back.

On the way back I met a woman hiking by herself going out.  We struck up a conversation and she lives in Green Valley in the winter (6 months) and then heads home to what she describes is a wonderful house with s beautiful view in Ontario.

She had not been on this trail either and was checking it out and as she had a guest coming over it was time for her to head back to her car so we walked and talked together.  It is so nice to meet people with such diverse backgrounds.

She had driven in over the water down the road through the dispersed camping and graciously offered and I accepted the ride back to my car. 

The hike round trip today out to the base of Elephant Head was 6.5 miles and 771 foot elevation gain.  I walked 6 of the 6.5 miles.

With a stop at McDonalds for unsweetened iced tea in Green Vally and a stop at Walmart for groceries I landed back at a parking spot for the night.

Before I close on this day I have a customer service issue with the McDonalds I went to.  It's small like a cafe with drive through.  I nearly always go in from last year driving my 9.5 foot Class B camper that doesn't fit through drive throughs.

I also go in and often meet and talk to people.  Oh the CS issue.  They are taking orders and one by one they lay the skips on the counter 1, 2, 3, ....8 nothing is being filled and all I ordered was an iced tea (no customer fountain area) and I am slip # 5.

They did not give me my order until the ones in front of me got their's first.  8 minutes folks and not one person behind the counter including the manager could figure to fill my order to have one less customer wait.  I did meet a COX maintenance woman I. Her early 30's and she had time to tell me about her job.  She likes working in Green Valley as utilities are underground.  Older communities like Tucson she is often in a 25 foot ladder that I could tell was not her first choice.

Ok that's it for today.  Happy Pi Day to my sister Pat who loves math and teaches it.  I know she plans to do something special.



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