Beauty of Seven Falls

Friday, February 10, 2012

Parker Canyon Lake in the Coronado National Forest

Okay gang, I came prepared this week. I bought new hiking boots w/ thick cushiony socks, a backpack,and a 2 liter camelback. I felt like a real hiker. I mean, at least I fit in. lol

This week's hike was Parker Canyon Lake which is located about 100 miles southeast of Tucson, AZ. in the Coronado National Forest. It is actually very close (about 6 or 7miles) from the Mexican border. We had to go through a Border Guard station on the way back!

From just about any point along the shore, Parker Canyon Lake doesn't look very big. Take off on the lakeshore trail around the lake, though, and you'll find it's a lot bigger than you may think. It has a number of side canyons, inlets and coves that stretch back from the main body of the lake, creating a surprising amount of shoreline.

We arrived at 10:00 a.m. to partially cloudy skies and moderately warm temperature, about 60 degrees and light breezes. The walk is approximately 5 miles and most hikers consider it to be easy to moderate. We were a pretty large group - 16 of us - and we started out feeling pretty confident of an easy, pleasant walk.

Not only was I snapping pics - I was singing!
The trail around the lake is a fairly level dirt pathway that, for the most part, stays within a few yards of the water. There are a couple of places, however, where the route climbs rather steeply over high rocky bluffs and the trail becomes a slightly exposed, narrow passage 50 or 60 feet above the lake's surface. This for me, a newbie to hiking and very uncomfortable with heights, was VERY SCARY. I took the picture below standing on one of these bluffs. You can tell how high up we were.

On one of the high trails around the lake

We were having a wonderful morning. We were singing, trying to identify different shrubs and trees such as juniper, pinon pine, scrub oak, manzanita, and even spotted a large white egret. A beautiful morning! Halfway around the lake we stopped to eat our lunch (mine was PB&J) we had brought along. As we sat under a large cypress tree the wind picked up. Okay, we realized we were up around 5400 feet, you expect wind now and then.

The rain and wind move in
Well, very quickly the clouds really rolled in and we started getting a little rain. By the time we finished our sandwiches it was starting to get pretty miserable. We still had over an hour to make it back to the starting point - the parking lot, and it turned so windy and cold and rainy it was hard to believe it was the same day let alone the same morning. Anyway, we made it stopped raining and by the time we made it to our next stop – Kief-Joshua Vineyards for wine tasting we had pretty much dried out.

The weather takes a turn for the worse

Dizzy Gillespie

Who knew we had all these wineries right here in southern Arizona? Anyway, needless to say we dried out and got all warm and furry at the winery. We were met in the parking lot by the biggest bloodhound I have ever seen in my life. His name is Dizzy Gillespie and he greeted each one of us individually ( I even got cold, wet nose on my nose) and then he marked one of the lady's cars by lifting his leg and .....

Kief-Joshua Vineyards is a small family business with 20 acres in Elgin, Arizona and 40 acres in Kansas Settlement, Arizona. We visited the Elgin winery and the beautiful tasting room was very cozy and is situated right in the middle of what is known as "winery row." The Sonoita Wine Tour boasts of ten different tasting rooms and was selected by USA Today as one of the top ten wine trails in the United States. Again, who knew?
All in all it was a good day.  :-)

Some of the hikers enjoy samples


  1. We may have been wet from hiking in the rain 30 minutes before the wine tasting, but it had more than one person singing "how dry I am" on the drive home. lol

  2. Funny! I'm really liking this blog, you've got the knack! I'm excited to see where this trail goes!

    1. Happy trails to you, until we meet again....

      Always happy trails when you are following the right leader!