Over the last few weekends as I’ve rumbled along the Mogollon Rim road, the sign for the Arizona Trail was prominently displayed.
The epic 800 mile trail that runs from Mexico to the Utah border has been increasingly holding my fascination as of late, leading to a formation of a new goal over the next ten years of trying to complete this trail a section at a time. Today I decide to hike the Colonel Devin section which you can access from the Mogollon Rim road. I head South….
It’s a steep decline to start, and as I slowly make my way over scree I see that the trail splits, and to my right I can hike along the rim of this canyon toward the RR tunnel.
It gives me a wonderful view of the Autumn colors that are starting to show. As I take in the scenery, I glance down at the Colonel Devin trail and see something on the path. I look closer, straining my eyes because I can’t believe what I’m seeing…..
A bobcat? The four legged creature could be a coyote, but the long strands of fur on pointy ears make me think my first guess is correct. Wild Arizona nevers seems to disappoint me, as well as keep me alert. I continue along my trail to see if I can find this RR tunnel.
The trail disappears, swallowed up by the forest undergrowth, but I can hear people above me. I navigate the mountain and soon find the tunnel entrance with a couple of girls having breakfast at the opening. I ask them how far you can go into the tunnel, and they let me know that it’s blocked off about 30 feet from the entrance. I venture in anyway, and the sudden coolness inside is a welcome reprieve.
After a spell, I head down and back over to the main canyon to try and re-connect with Colonel Devin. A mile or so later has me back on the main trail, no bobcat in sight. A small stream is gurgling in the Fall sun, birds humming happily in the forest trees. It’s magic here today.
I make it to the Washington Park trailhead, find a bridge to get some lunch in, and contemplate going further down or whether I should start my return back up the mountain. My little friends let me know that for today the best choice is to head back to the truck.
They’ve never let me down before, and so back up the mountain I go.