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mini location map2014-12-05
5 by photographer avatarBenTelly
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Slavin Gulch Trail #332Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 05 2014
Hiking7.40 Miles 1,854 AEG
Hiking7.40 Miles
1,854 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I was surprised to see so many people camping on forest service land near the Slavin Gulch trailhead until I remembered it was hunting season. Grateful for a reversible hoody with hunter orange liner I followed the excellent directions posted for the Slavin Gulch trailhead and headed off into the Dragoons on a pleasant overcast winter morning. The trail is easy to follow as it gently climbs through the wide landscape of Slavin Gulch toward the sheer walls of the canyon. The majority of the trail is in good condition, with minor flood damage through the sections where the trail parallels the wash and in the upper box where erosional damage has carved a deep trench along the path. At the top of the first box canyon the trail widens out and for the old two-track mining road is recognizable (however, nature is reclaiming one of the tracks).

It is an understatement to say that this is a pleasant time of year to wander through the hills and ranges of southeast Arizona. The coolness of the mornings, the moisture in the ground, filtered sunlight casting long shadows, the novelty of actually wanting to avoid the shade in preference of the sun and not the other way around -- all this seems to keep me in the moment, grateful for the change of seasons and the nostalgia that always accompanies the waning of the light.

Mining history, while important for understanding the American West, is not really my thing. I can appreciate mining artifacts for what they are... a reminder of the impermanence of things, the vulnerability of economies, and the persistence of nature. I'm grateful today for the Abril mine because its dilapidated road now serves as footpath into this fantastic mountain range. The Abril mine, however, was not my destination or even really an attraction. The monumental granite towers and pinnacles of the Dragoons dwarf the significance of this fleeting human obsession.

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