Monday, December 29, 2014

Garden Canyon Huachuca Mountains December 24, 2014

                       Lower picnic area

Location: To access Garden Canyon visitors need to drive onto the Fort Huachuca Military Reservation. At the guard gate entrance you will have to present photo identification. The security officers were nice and presented concise and accurate directions to the canyon. Remember you are on a military installation so don't pull off at random areas and walk around.

Presently the Garden Canyon Road is closed at the lower picnic area because large portions of it were damaged this past October when the tropical storms came up from Mexico. A timetable has not been set for fixing the road because of budget constraints. I parked at the lower picnic area and hiked the road. Immediately after leaving the lower picnic area the  road  passes by two playgrounds which are deserted and being reclaimed by vegetation. A mile passed the upper picnic area is the trail head for Scheelite Canyon. I have never hiked the Scheelite Canyon Trail and have read on other blogs that the trail is overgrown and hard to follow in places. Garden Canyon is well-known in Southern Arizona because of its plant and animal diversity. Birders come from all over to see endemic species such as the  Mexican jay, Elegant trogon, and the Sulphur redstart. On this hike I saw many White-tailed deer and a number of different species of hawks. Four to five miles up the road are two rock art sites which are on the National Register of Historic Places. The Garden Canyon Rock Art Site, four miles from the trail head, is on the right. Historians believe this site was a place of religious significant for the Apache Native Americans. The October storms washed out the bridge across Garden Creek but the short trail to the pictographs is hikeable. A half- mile from the Garden Canyon site is the Rappel Cliffs Rockshelter Site. Historians believe this site predates the Garden Canyon site because of the presence of simple geometric elements ie, dots, lines, anthromoprths (human figures) created from red and black pigments that are not Apache in origin. Total mileage for the day was eight to nine with 1400 feet of elevation gain.

                               The washed out Garden Canyon Road

              Upper Garden Canyon

                       Interesting light on pines

                     Garden Canyon Rock Art Site

                   Rappel Rockshelter Site

                              Petroglyphs at Rappel Rock

                          Rappel Rock

                     Rappel Rockshelter Site

                 Waterfall in Garden Creek

                           Upper Garden Canyon