Pointless Waymarks

Ramblings, Questionable Geographics, Photographic Half-truths

Papago Well Trailhead and FR4402 to Papago Spring - 2/10/2020

Created by Charles Miles on 2/26/2020. Updated on 5/2/2021.

Cloudy skies, a distant shadowed ridgeline and desert hillsides in the foreground.
A cloudy sky over the Rincon Mountains - Rincon Peak is barely visible, center right. Charles Miles. 2/10/2020.

East of Tucson the road across Arizona State Trust Land from Pistol Hill Road out to the Papago Well Trailhead is quite nice, a raceway compared to many old ranch or mining roads. I assume the first half of the road serves several private residences that sit adjacent to the Rincon Mountain Wilderness, perhaps the source of some extra maintenance and care over the years...

The last half of the road is distinctly rougher - a hassle if all you want to do is get there, an encouraging sign if you are looking for a quiet day a little off the beaten path.

An open corral gate leads out onto Forest Service land on an old dirt road.
Old corral at the Papago Well Trailhead and the border of Forest Service and Arizona State Trust Land. Charles Miles. 2/10/2020.

The Papago Well Trailhead is just a few pull-thrus cut into the desert near an old corral on the southwest apron of the Rincon Mountains - plenty of parking for us and the zero other people here today... It would be legal to drive thru the corral and continue on Coronado National Forest land to the spring - the Rincon Mountain Wilderness surrounds but doesn't cover this area - but the poor road condition, good views, emptiness and lovely landscape suggests that walking is a better choice.

Blackfly Larvae cling to white rock filtering for food under clear water.
Blackfly larvae in a small canyon in the Rincon Mountains. Charles Miles. 2/10/2020.
A small purple flower in bloom.
Blue Dicks flowering along FR4402. Charles Miles. 2/10/2020.

It is a fairly short hike out to Posta Quemada Canyon and the Papago Spring area. We find a large rusted metal tank framing nearby ridges and peaks in strangely ornate windows, a cement tank dated June 1933, flowing water in the canyon and a groaning windmill above a wide dark hole of questionable depth.

You could take the road farther - over into Shaw Canyon - but today is just a casual photo stroll so we turn around and have the good luck to enjoy a few rain drops on the way back.

Brush in the foreground, a strangely rusted window in an old water tank and a unnamed peak in the Rincons visible thru the rusted.
A rusting water tank in the Papago Spring area. Charles Miles. 2/10/2020.
A pipe descends thru a deck of boards partially covering a dark hole below the windmill at Papago Spring.
At the base of the windmill at Papago Spring. Charles Miles. 2/10/2020.

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