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mini location map2012-09-14
15 by photographer avatarsirena
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Box Camp Trail #22Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 14 2012
Hiking9.60 Miles 4,350 AEG
Hiking9.60 Miles   5 Hrs   30 Mns   2.13 mph
4,350 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break
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So good to be back in the Catalinas! I was so busy working on the river this summer that I didn't have time (or quite frankly the energy) to hike when I was home between trips. Every time I came back, it seemed the mountains got greener and more lush. You know the place you live is attractive when you miss it while in the Grand Canyon. The temperatures have cooled down a bit, and I was ready for a hike. Ponderosas to Prickly Pears, my favorite kind.

My dad is visiting from Chicago, he is always happy to shuttle me around for various adventures. He dropped me off at the Box Camp trailhead at 8,050' at 7:30. The wind was whipping around and it was chilly enough to need a fleece. There was running water in the pine-shaded creek- one of my favorite parts of the trail and one of the more level parts amidst all the downhill. The ferns have just started to turn brown, a sign that the season is finally changing. The thickest wildflowers were on the upper parts of the trail, but there were flowers of some kind blooming all along the way. The trail pops out of the trees onto a ridge and the killer views of the Sabino Basin all the way to Cathedral Rock begin. Thimble Peak is a constant companion.

The trail descends along the top of the ridge among manzanita, oak, and the occasional madrone tree. There are a couple of spots that would make a fantastic dry camp. The gusting winds kept the temperatures down. I stopped at some pools below Apache Spring to take a break and soak my feet in the refreshing water. There was a large pool below the spring and flow in the stream below.

Ever descending, the trail winds in and out of a field of rock formations rising from a hillside of green grasses. The trail was often completely obscured by small yellow flowers and grasses, it made me a little scared of snakes. Thankfully, the only snake in the grass that I found was harmless. The trail swung around the nose of the ridge to face the multi-tiered waterfalls in Palisades Canyon. I have been completely smitten with the pictures of Palisades Canyon posted a couple of years ago (especially this one: and now I was seeing them from afar. Looks like such an incredible set of rappels!

I saw the East Fork down below, beckoning me with shade and water. A swim was mandatory when I hit the creek to stay comfortable for the remainder out to Sabino Canyon. The hike out to the tram was warm, but went quickly. I like how you can look back up on the ridge that the Box Camp Trail descends. I caught the tram and was happily surprised to see my dad on it. He'd been in the park after dropping me off and took the tram up to meet me. A great way to end a wonderful hike.
Sphinx Moth
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Apache Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Nice pool at the spring and flow below
"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view."
-Edward Abbey
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