Passage 1C – Huachuca Mountains – Sunnyside Canyon to Bear Spring – Annual Maintenance Event 2019

We had 7 hearty souls who showed up for the Huachuca Mountains – Annual AZT Maintenance Event – Passage 1C to escape the heat for the weekend at the Miller Peak Wilderness in the Huachuca Mountains, one of the scenic Sky Islands of southern Arizona. This is the land of manzanita, oak, juniper, firs and pines with sweeping views across the San Rafael Valley and into Mexico.

Folks arrived by high clearance vehicles to Sunnyside Trailhead Friday evening. We camped there and prepared for the 7.5 mile hike in the next day.

After coffee, quick breakfast, gear check, and safety meeting, we started the hike on the gentle slope of Sunnyside canyon and then the 2500′ climb and 1000′ descent to Bear Spring, about a half mile off trail, to camp. On our way in, most of our time was spent hiking but we did manage to evaluate the whole Passage and clean up a half dozen or so deadfall and cut back Oak on the Bear Spring connector trail to the AZT.

The spring was flowing nicely and temperatures were in the 50-80 degree range so we were quite comfortable in our tents, hammocks, or on top of our pads, cowboy style. 

On our hike out Sunday, we continued brushing and kicking rocks off trail. We spent our first “rest” stop at Bear Saddle moving debris to clarify the route through the saddle past the signs. The seven of us continued on to our first big challenge of the day and the real crux of the project, to remove a large downed Fir, which had fallen parallel to and on top of the trail. It was about 2 hours of work to remove the top 30′ or so, clear the path, and rehab the social trail around the site.

Everybody got in on the action and it was a job well done. Thanks crew!!

We worked our way to the highpoint of the day and lunch, clearing another half dozen or so small logs and a couple big hangers, we were able to slide downslope, off trail.

After lunch, we worked our way down the switchbacks (23 in total) and back to Sunnyside Canyon. The entire trail corridor is well cleared all the way! Enjoy!

We finished the day with chips, salsa, guacamole, and cold drinks back at the car and the 2 hour drive back to Tucson. Everyone worked hard but with big grins all weekend. We’re already looking forward to the next time.

Thanks ATA Volunteers – we couldn’t do it without you!