One of the reasons we have been excited about a move back to America is the opportunity to take our kids backpacking; something hard to come by in the same way overseas. So, with new backpacks for the kids, we started out! Bryan took Zoe out a few weekends ago on a fun overnight trip into the Rincon’s near Saguaro National Park, and she loved it. This week we followed up with nearly a week of fun in southern Arizona, and a highlight backpack down the Cave Creek Trail in the Chiricahua Forest.
We started out camping at the BLM site Las Ciengas. It was a wonderful open prairie spot with a great view and beautiful stargazing. We built a fire and had a relaxing evening.
The next day, we drove to Tombstone, as the kids have not been before. We had to explain a bit of the history, but really we found the tour at the Good Enough silver mine quite more informative than all we knew about gunfights.
Surprisingly, there was a parade starting just as we arrived and we all had fun watching people dressed in 1800s garb. The kids especially loved the candy catching.
From there we drove to Douglas on the Mexican border and then north again around the east side of the Chiricahua mountains to the Cave Creek Canyon area – a forest service recreation area. It’s apparently a famous birding hot spot, but for us it was the basecamp we needed for a fun weekend. We were lucky to find a spot in the Sunny Flat campground.
Our backpacking trip started the next day. The kids helped pack their own bags with a full camelback, a sleeping pad, sleeping bag, little pillow, and their clothes. Zoe also wanted to carry some food, so she got to stash away our lunch.
The hike in the canyon was nice and easy; pretty and shady along the creek below huge red rock cliffs. We stopped whenever there were interesting things to see, rocks to throw in the river, or snacks to eat. Bryan had an overnight goal in mind at a trail junction about 2 miles in, but when we arrived it was apparent that a flash flood a couple years ago had wiped the area out. So, we turned around and headed back to a better spot Zoe had scoped out on the walk up.
The site was perfect: a sandy patch behind a boulder near a little waterfall. We spent the evening tossing rocks in, until Avi hit his foot. Dinner was some dehydrated potatoes and flavored tuna packs. We read a bit as it got dark and slept well with the sound of the waterfall in the background.
Our hike out was uneventful, and we even got to visit a little cave with some petroglyphs.
The next day we took a short hike to the visitor center, and the kids decided to make it more interesting by hiking back via the river…in the river! There was school work to be done, plus a little fire making!
Today we returned home and picked up the cats from their mini vacation, too.