The view from the Hamburg Trail overlook following a snowstorm. Photo by Jonathan Patt.

Written by Lexi Miller, Wild Stew Field Crew Member

This past week the Wild Stew Field Crew returned to the Miller Peak Wilderness for one final hitch in the area. After being greeted by turkeys, javelina, and deer on the short drive into Ramsey Canyon, the crew hiked into our original backcountry camp location as skies darkened and the wind began to pick up. Soon enough after setting up camp the snow began to fall, blanketing the pointy, green desert plants in a beautiful contrast of white fluff. Though it was cold, the snow was thoroughly enjoyed and made for beautiful views from the overlook on the trail.

Our work this week differed from the past three hitches in the Huachucas, this time taking more of a focus on implementing drains and removing past failed water bars and other structures that were no longer assisting with water runoff along the trail. This made for exciting work and all were happy to be back digging in the dirt, swinging picks, and smashing rocks once again. All told, we built nearly 40 drains and cleared the trail for 1.5 miles above the Wilderness boundary.

After coming back to camp and discovering a ringtail had come into several tents and destroyed two sleeping pads, a tent, and multiple food bags (in bear hangs), the crew decided to move camp down to Miller Canyon Road, where we were still close to the worksite but able to sleep in peace without little critters. As a result, the crew was able to meet up with those who were camping nearby for a trailwork training and enjoy Brian’s lovely (and very generous) cooking.

Sequence of construction of a rock and crush step to aid getting through a trenched portion of trail. Photos by Jonathan Patt.

As the week went on the sun came out and the days became quite spectacular in weather, drawing many hikers to the area. It was much appreciated to be able to see people enjoying the trails and knowing the work would hopefully make for safer hiking in the future. 

Before/after of drain construction and narrowing of the Hamburg Trail. Photos by Jonathan Patt.

After a lovely hitch, the crew headed back to Tucson a little early to participate in a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training together. This opportunity to create a better, safer space for all was wonderful and we hope to continue to engage in meaningful conversation and training in the future!