Saturday, February 21, 2015

Arizona National Scenic Trail ~ Part 12 ~ Saguaro National Park to Interstate 10 near Vail, Arizona

Since camping in Saguaro National Park requires a permit, the goal was to hike through the park and over the mountain in one days time to Rincon Valley just outside the park.

New species of flowers and shrubs were again blooming for our inspection.

Awesome views of the desert basins were beyond compare.

And once we reached the ranger station at Manning Camp, it was all down hill to Rincon Valley.

I loved the forests up high, but they offered no real viewpoints of interest.

The greatest views in the park are from the Saguaro and Ocotillo habitat zone. 

Rincon Mountain would be seen for days to come even as we neared the Mexican border.

We were to stay at the lower elevations undulating up and down hills and ridge-lines until we would reach the Santa Rita Mountains to the south of us.

We made it into Rincon Valley and out of the National Park as the sun was setting.  

We walked a couple of miles into the dark so that we would have more time to spend at La Posta Quemada Ranch near the Colossal Cave. There was virtually no traffic in the morning, and so we ended up hiking four of the five miles down to Vail, AZ where a Walgreen's store would be used for our resupply.  However, as we approached our destination, the manager of Colossal Cave identified us as thru hikers and immediately picked us up to help us in our resupply efforts. 

This kind gentleman then offered us a free Mexican meal from a local eatery and promptly returned us to the Arizona Trail.  We then talked for an hour or more until we once more walked into the night.

However, this time we were not the only ones traveling through the dark. A whole series of mountain bikers were descending the hill on the trail with some of the brightest headlamps one could ever imagine. Our next and final resupply was soon to be in Patagonia, AZ in a few days time.

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