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Upper Cienega Creek, AZ
mini location map2020-03-14
23 by photographer avatarmarkthurman53
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Upper Cienega Creek, AZ 
Upper Cienega Creek, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 14 2020
markthurman53
Hiking10.83 Miles 355 AEG
Hiking10.83 Miles   4 Hrs   4 Mns   3.04 mph
355 ft AEG      30 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
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Went on another local hike yesterday again along another section of Cienega Creek. This time I was a little further up stream south of Interstate 10 up to Las Cienegas. This is not a real interesting section of Cienega Creek but I had to do it because it's there. The desert flowers were out in full but the mesquite trees still haven't started their spring growth. I saw at least 3 dead cows, probably died within the last year, not sure what is going on there. Two of them look like mountain lion kills but can't be sure. I was thinking that it was good for me that I'm skinny because the mountain lions probably will think I'm not worth the effort. At least that's what I keep telling myself. After hiking in 5 miles I turned around and returned the way I came. I made it to a section called the Las Cienegas Narrows. Next week my daughter and I will do the section in Las Cienegas and hike to the Narrows from the other end. This section of Cienega Creek should be more interesting because it will be living up to its name.

Great day for hiking. There was no water along this section of the creek, pretty much a sandy rocky creek. On the flood plains of the creek there were thousands of yellow flowers, like ground cover. I believe these are Gordon's Bladderpod. Very impressive and added brilliant color to the rather bland color of the surroundings. Did see a couple Poppies, maybe 2 and a couple lupine.

I took the Marsh Station Road off Interstate 10 and headed south which immediately headed west. I kept driving along this two track until I came to the spur track of the Union Pacific, You may have to stop there because it is Union Pacific property. I headed down into Cienega creek from there. I was armed with my State Trust Land permit but not really sure that is required, in fact not sure what is required to hike this area (this area is not part of the Cienega Creek Natural Preserve). The creek appears to cross private property at times, maybe state trust ranching land. Later in the day after the hike I checked out the Little Empire Ranch Road off of I- 10 as an access point but gates are locked. There was a sign there that said for access call Pima County Natural Resources 520-724-5000. I don't plan on hiking this area again (maybe a 2 mile section closer to I 10) so I probably won't check this out but if you have a hankerin to do this area I advise you call for information. The Narrow can be accessed through the Empire Ranch along hwy 83, Sonoita Highway.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
Gordon's Bladderpod, Ground cover flower. Flood plains of the wash
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