With this hike in Saguaro National Park West I will have completed my goal to hike all the official trails of the park and a few unofficial. It is actually ironic that I lived in Tucson almost my whole life and only hiked one trail in this park and that was back in 1970. This hike starts out on West Belmont Road on the far Northeast side of the park and travels along the Vertical Cliffs Trail, Abington Trail and Animal Wash Trail. I took a side trip to the Yuma Mine and also tried out a route between the Picture Rocks Wash Trail and the Vertical Cliffs Trail. The highlight of the hike of coarse was the Yuma Mine, lots of history covering 140 years. The mine was left as it was when it shut down in the 1980's and the subsequent clean up of the gold mining cyanide and eventual turn over to the park in early 2000's. The wood building below the mine are gone but the wood structure that leads into the main mine is still there. Spent about an hour looking around this area. From the mine I continued on along an old road that leads to the Picture Rocks Wash Trail. I returned to the Vertical Cliffs Trail and continued on the loop to the Abington and Animal Wash trails. At the junction with the Vertical Cliffs and Abington Trail there is an Aermotor wind mill that I found out is still operating when the wind picked up. Not sure if it is pumping water I didn't think to look that close. I continued west on the Abington Trail for .2 miles to the Junction with the Gila Monster Trail. I didn't know these trails in the far Northeast side of the park existed until a few weeks ago when I was hiking the Gila Monster Trail I saw the sign for the Abington Trail. Many of the park maps do not list any of these trails I'm doing today, Especially the Yuma Mine since it is not an official trail. The hike back along the Abington and Animal wash Trails was uneventful with your usual lower desert scenery. This trail is best done early in the morning or evening when the sun does it's thing enhancing the color of the scenery. Now that Iv'e finished Saguaro National Park West I will have to plan my next area, I am eyeing the Galiuros and of coarse the Superstitions.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.