Arizona I-15 Strip Desert Run

Arizona I-15 Strip Desert Run

Interstate 15 between St. George Utah and Mesquite Nevada has a 30 mile strip of Arizona, a part of the state isolated from the rest of AZ.  Exit 18 in the middle of the Virgin River Gorge is pure rugged mountainous desert.  A great place for an adventure on both sides where a geologist’s and desert biologist’s dreams can be found.  Unique place.  I chose the north side as I had done it many years ago and I knew there was a slot canyon up a large arroyo which can be accessed by bushwhacking from the exit road a few hundred yards back up I-15.  The large arroyo is apparent as flash floods over the years have gouged out a big rocky stream bed.  A barbed wire fence must be negotiated as whomever built it to keep the free range cattle off the highway did a  hell of a job anchoring it to the ground and made it hard to get over or under.  It took me traversing the fence for awhile before I found a spot I could be Steve McQeen from the Great Escape and go underneath it on my back.  Not without its perils!  The desert is full of plants and animals that can stick, stab or bite.  I avoided the barbs but put my hand on a cactus I did not see.  Ouch.

Sabino Canyon and Phoneline trail

Outside of Tucson at the base of the Santa Catalina mountains is Sabino Canyon.  Ran it in the 1980s and returned this spring.  On, what I thought would be a quiet Sunday morning, the parking lot was packed at 8 am!  Most everyone goes to the waterfall on an easier trail so I asked the incredibly helpful volunteers which trail would be the gnarliest.  Phone line!  And they were correct!  Rugged and magnificent!