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Chiricahua Figure 8 Loop, AZ
mini location map2015-09-19
30 by photographer avatarSarae
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Chiricahua Figure 8 Loop, AZ 
Chiricahua Figure 8 Loop, AZ
Backpack13.31 Miles 4,000 AEG
Backpack13.31 Miles2 Days         
4,000 ft AEG
1st trip
Tyler and I decided to spend the last weekend of summer exploring some trails in the Chiricahua Mts that we haven't been on before and checking out the condition of an old favorite destination, Anita Park.

We drove down to Sycamore Campground on Friday evening and were treated to a very colorful sunset. Sycamore was pretty busy, the only site left was right next to the bathroom, but beggars can't be choosers, so we set up camp and ended up having a surprisingly peaceful night of sleep. The sound of the creek running next to the campsite probably helped out with that.

Saturday morning, we got ourselves organized and then headed up to the Mormon Canyon TH. We parked the Jeep and started up the trail. The morning was very muggy and we were soon laboring up the steep trail and feeling grateful that there were at least clouds to shade us. The trail was overgrown with grasses in many places, but not that difficult to follow. We made it about halfway up the canyon before those clouds started lowering and a mist joined us on the trail. We were still in good spirits, so up and up we continued. We only found a few downed trees across the trail, not too bad at all. By the time we got to the top, it was late morning, and a soft, constant rain was falling. We decided to continue up towards the junction with one of the legs of the Crest Trail (#270B). We stopped for lunch, putting up our tarp to shelter from the rain and the wind that was picking up. At this point I suppose we could have decided to head back down, because there were no indications that the rain would let up, but since there was no thunder or lightning, we decided to continue and hope for a break in the weather in the afternoon. It's a short hike from our lunch junction to Junction Saddle, where a few trails intersect. We headed off to check out Anita Park, fill up our water, and see if there were any safe places to hang after the fire. The sign for Anita Park is basically just a post right now, and the start of the trail is covered by knee high grasses. As we came over the small rise and viewed Anita Park, it didn't look good for hangers. We continued down to the spring, passing one promising group of trees, and filled up our water supply. The Anita Spring looked pretty nice with a stone reinforced pool and good flow. We hiked back up the steep trail to check out the one spot it looked like we could hang. As we were surveying the rain got a bit heavier, and so we decided to commit, even though it was a pretty windy spot. We quickly set up the tarp and snacked and dried off a bit waiting for the rain to let up so we could finish setting up our hammocks. We had no such luck, so we got our rain gear back on and hastily set up our hammocks in between shivering. Thank goodness we have a giant tarp and that hammocks are so comfy, because it ended up raining for the rest of the evening. We called it a night at around 7pm and woke up the first time at midnight to a totally clear sky and fantastic star gazing. The wind had also completely died down, so the rest of our night's sleep was very quiet and comfortable.

Sunday morning, in the beautiful sunny weather, we had a decision to make. I had originally wanted to do a loop past Monte Vista peak and down Morse Canyon, but because we were a bit worn out from the day before, we decided to shorten things up a bit and complete a figure 8 loop by going around Chiricahua Peak and ending with heading down Mormon Ridge Trail. We packed up and headed out pretty quickly and started our hike out. We decided to wait to fill up our water so we would have an excuse to check out Headquarters Spring. The hike from Anita Park to Ojo Agua Fria trail was really, really pleasant. There are flowers ALL OVER along the crest. Most are a yellow flower that look like they are in the daisy family, but other colors are scatter around, too. They all appear to be loving the extra light that is available because the trees are gone. We made our side trip to Headquarters Spring, which had a few cairns to show the way. The spring box is a metal tub and the water looks pretty good with a small bit of flow. After getting back to the junction it was a short walk to Aspen Saddle, where we picked up another leg of the Crest Trail (#270D). The beginning of this trail contours through an area cleared of trees and some of the tread was pretty loose. As soon as we got back into un-burnt trees, the trail was solid and enjoyable. We switch-backed down to Chiricahua Saddle and then back over to the junction with Mormon Ridge Trail. We ate our lunch looking out over Mormon Canyon and then made our way easily to the Mormon Canyon/Mormon Ridge junction. The Mormon Ridge trail is obscured by fallen trees here, but we bypassed the mess and found it without too much trouble. The trail condition was pretty good after about 1/4 mile. There are quite a few shrubs and grasses that you have to push through, but the footing was pretty steady and the switchbacks made it a relaxing hike to the trailhead. The Mormon Ridge TH on Turkey Creek Rd is about .75 miles from the Mormon Canyon TH so we had to hike up the road to finally get back to the Jeep.

It was great to get back to the Chiricahuas. The damage from Horseshoe 2 fire was clearly devastating, but the area is still very beautiful and we didn't find it too difficult to navigate with our gps and good trail descriptions in hand.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
Tons of yellow, daisy-like flowers.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Anita Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
The pool below the spring is clean and looks good.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Headquarters Spring - Chiricahua Quart per minute Quart per minute
Metal tub is full and pretty clean.
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. ~John Muir
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