|Hiking||12.00 Miles|| || |
|1,282 ft AEG|| || || |
Had to see for myself. First, the road in is almost not recognizable to me--on either side is burned pretty badly and now you can see the road beneath you as you drive in/out where before you were in the trees. It actually is a little better at the turnoff and to the Crest Trail parking. Then is it bad again. Rustler park is nothing more than huge black burned trees. The ferns were amazing though, so green against the big black sticks. At the first little saddle there were lots of Wild Iris, some white/albino? ones too. Lots of lupine. Some trees down on the trail but not bad. The old burn areas are mostly cleared off, the brush burned as did lots of the snags so the views are ridiculous. The trail is now going to be a hot one, very little shade. Lots of raspberry bushes coming along and many, many little Aspen. At times the burn is very bad, then not so bad, then other areas seem untouched. Some of the down trees are live ones, sad to see.
Met some Narco Packers about a mile from Anita Park. Five guys with five big packs. I was a little tense but it went ok; I did give them some food. Everything that could be reflective was taped or painted, even the water jugs painted black. The leader or the guy I talked to was wearing some sort of light body armor and they had painted their faces too. What is that, can't they give these guys smuggling 101 instructions to get the hell off the trail when they are resting, and out of sight? I told them they should do that. It was amusing when the leader told me to be careful of a "big bear" they saw about a mile back. Gee, bears or smugglers??? What is a girl to do?? Just remember when you meet someone who might give you a hard time---my rule---show no fear but also no aggression, be confident but have plan B in mind if it doesn't go well.
I didn't have a destination but decided to go to Chiricahua Peak to give them time to move on.
Anita Park is another bad burn site. What a mess it will be when these trees comes down. I think I didn't see a live tree in that area. The spring is looking good, full and nice clean spring box, thank you to the trail angels ( Summergo and others)
Chiricahua peak was a little boring with not much views as usual. Coming back ran into a large group of hikers, who also had run into the Narco Packers and warned me. They passed me. I was in picture mode. Heading back to car looked around and saw one of the Narco guys a ways back---what the heck?? I didn't get any real bad vibes from them but didn't want them tailing me either. The big hiking group was taking a break not far from Rustler park, and as I passed them told them the Narco guys seemed to be headed this way. One of the hiking group said I should hike fast to my car to get away. I thought "F" that, no one runs me out my places.
So all's well that ends well and I got back home. Very dirty from hiking in the burn area. Got some interesting pictures and need to go through them. Will return hopefully later with a collapsible bucket for the raspberry season.