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Up and over
This is part of the Arizona Trail that passes over the eastern slops of the Santa Rita Mountains and touches the corner of the Mount Wrightson Wilderness Area. The AZT goes through the town of Patagonia and up first ave. next to the high school. First Ave. turns into Forrest Service Rd 72 and gets you to the official trailhead and large parking area 6 miles up the road. We parked here and headed up Temporal Canyon along a 4x4 road that anyone with some guts and a 4x4 could navigate without too much of a problem. I, however, would have to leave my wife at home. Temporal Gulch starts with savannah grasslands and gains some elevation into the scrub oak ecosystem. This area is littered with old mines that were active during the late 1800s when there was a gold rush in this area. Mostly rush and not much gold.
After about 4 miles the Temporal Canyon trail takes off to the left and the Walker Canyon trail Continues uphill for about a thousand-foot climb over the hill and down into Walker Canyon. The 4x4 road gets narrower and scarier after the Temporal Gulch trailhead and ends at Upper Walker tank that is a cement dam across the creek. It is a pretty reliable source of water. The Walker Canyon Trail officially begins here and you cross into Mount Wrightson Wilderness.
The trail is well marked with plastic trail markers and immediately after crossing the creek in front of the dam it heads off to the right and switchbacks through the oaks and ponderosa pines. The southern exposure keeps the snow off the trail as it continues to climb another thousand feet. Josephine Peak is to the west and make sure to turn around because you can see the Huachuca's and well into Mexico. Just when your quads are about to give out the trail flattens out and you have crested the highest part of the trail. A fence and a sign that says trail closed marks the end of the Walker Basin Trail. The trail goes for another two miles to the Gardner Canyon Trail #143, but the forest service closed it after a fire a few years ago. (Not that I would ever disobey a Forest Service Sign) If you would choose to navigate the trail you might find that it was navigable but overgrown with lots of down trees and some severe erosion that requires boulder hopping to cross. It parallels the slope and ends at the Gardner Canyon Trail. The Arizona Trail goes north down the Chinaman Trail #137 to Tunnel Springs and Gardner Canyon.
We choose to make a right and descend the Chinaman to tunnel springs and then on to Gardner canyon continuing our adventure and following this section of the AZT. It is on the northern slope and had 3 to 6 inches of snow.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.