Friday, February 21, 2014

Hiking to the Victoria Mine: A Hike Through the Sonora Desert

I saw a place called Organ Pipe Cactus National Park and I decided I needed to go there and hike.  It was time for some Mama Alone Time.

This was the trail I chose, trail head marker pictured above.  I figured it wouldn't be too strenuous. 

Of course I'd never hiked through the actual desert before.

Of course I didn't really bring enough water.

Of course I hiked out too fast.

Of course I got a little lost.

But I didn't really mind any of those things.

I got out without even seeing any mountains lions, which was a win for me.  Plus I got to chill at an abandoned mine, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Everything started out amazingly, really.  I had cell coverage, so I was texting with Michael and my friend, Summer, and sending them pictures of my excursion.  There's my shadow in the afternoon sun.

I signed the trail log and was feeling pretty good.

About forty-five minutes in I sent this pic to Summer and Michael:

Yeah I didn't wear sunscreen either.  I couldn't find ours (we hadn't really needed it... it's January for crying out loud...), and I thought I could buy some at the visitor's center, but they had none, only expensive floppy hats.  So I'm a little flushed.  

Okay I'm baking.

But I'm feeling pretty epic, and remembering all those cartoons I watched as a kid with people seeing mirages in the desert, and I'm conserving my water.

(I did bring an extra container of water that I left in the car, figuring I'd use my whole canteen on the hike - this was a wise decision.)

I met an older woman on the way out and asked her how much farther, and she said the end was coming up soon.  I thought this wagon wheel might have signaled the end of the path, but it was confusing.  A sign pointed toward Victoria Mine farther down the trail.  I kept going. 

This was the wrong decision.

I hiked about fifteen minutes farther down the trail before deciding I had probably missed the mine back at the wagon wheel.

Plus I saw this, which was a little disconcerting:

Pretty sure this bike owner's body is farther down the trail somewhere... or in the belly of a mountain lion I was lucky to avoid.

I turned around, saw how I'd made my mistake, and took a break at the mining area's General Store.

This is one of the mine shafts.

Entrance to the General Store.

Leftover debris - sardine cans, nuts and bolts, broken glass...

A rusty old bathtub...

And me.  I sat on a board between two rocks and had some of my water.  I sent this picture to Michael and my mom who both thought something was wrong.  Nothing was wrong.  I was actually really happy in this picture.

The hike out, as always, went much faster than the hike in.  I signed out of the log book, noting that I had made the trek in almost an hour less than the next fastest hiker.  Maybe I overdid it, but it felt good to be the fastest at something. 

I blasted Imagine Dragons all the way back to the campground and gnoshed on an oatmeal raisin Cliff Bar.  It tasted like victory.

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