High Creek

April 22-24, 2020

We're finding out that there are lots of ways to enjoy the outdoors and still keep plenty of space between us and the hoards of people flocking to popular hiking and camping areas during the nationwide quarantine. The RV is just a driveway ornament for now, but the Taco Grande is our ticket to public lands where terrible roads discourage all but the most determined visitors, especially in mid-week. It's about nine years since we last drove High Creek Road, on our way to hike to Sunset Peak with our friend Jim F. We returned with Dave C and Rogil S for our first camping trip in seven weeks.

Galiuro view

I noted a "nice camping spot" on our previous trip, but the area was far more lush and lovely than I remembered.

camping area

Just across from a grassy meadow a the base of jumbled basalt cliffs are some delicious camping spots in a forest of Mexican blue oak, piñon and manzanita.

a nearby summit

Back in Tucson it was the first day of +90° weather, but we barely topped 80 degrees here in the Galiuros. By late afternoon, the air was delightfully cool.

Hiking uphill

We scrambled up the gnarly slopes for a broader view of our surroundings.

Doubting Mariposa Lily

Along the way we came across some gorgeous wildflowers, including these exotic Doubting Mariposa Lilies.

Scottish thistel and bee

There were huge swaths of Scottish Thistle and Penstemon, probably on the site of a previous brushfire.

view from above

From a rocky knoll we had a good view of some of the local wildlife.

sunset panorama

Scroll for a sunset panorama

mystery 3G signal

And, incredibly, we also had three bars of reliable internet! Time to check in on the cats and call some folks we haven't talked to in a while.

camping in the Galiuro Mountains

Glorious morning after a cool and breezy night. It was hard to tear ourselves away from the campsite.

wildflowers in camp

Dave and Rogil set out before dawn on a 16-mile round trip hike to Holdout Spring. We got up slowly, sat around drinking coffee and cocoa and admiring the view, and didn't hit the trail until 9:30.


We found the trail very much changed since our last hike. I think it had just been cleared when we hiked the High Creek Trail with Jim F in 2011. Now it's badly overgrown, and a bit discouraging between the heat, the steady climb and the paucity of distant views.

Indian Paintbruch

Penstemon and Indian Paintbrush.


We turned around short of the junction with the East Divide Trail, and lounged in camp for the hottest part of the day.

tuff pinnacles

We realized that we were more interested in bushwhacking up some of the open slopes near camp than in hiking an overgrown forest trail. Here's the view south from the pinnacles of tuff to the east of High Creek.

hikers on the ridge

Friday morning arrived, and we still couldn't tear ourselves away. We brush-bashed across the wash and up the side of a steep canyon for a view from a rugged basalt knob.

claret cup cactus

An impressive mound of claret cup cactus.


Our distant close friends. So much fun hanging out, even if we had to keep our distance! Virtual hugs to you both!