This Week’s Hike: Molino Basin


We won’t know whether or not we’re making a very big move for another month. That’s four weeks of not being able to plan, not being able to have anything solid, of drifting – but it is still four weeks of life. I need to take advantage of that, of every moment we have left in this gorgeous desert.

Hence my new weekly goal: going for a new hike in the Sonoran Desert each week. And not just that, but bringing my camera along.

I love taking pictures, but aside from a few here and there for friends, I just… haven’t been. So this is a three-fold goal of getting out of the house, exploring new places, and practicing my photography skillz.

This week I picked Molino Basin and a portion of the Arizona Trail. I should clarify that my goal isn’t to hike these to completion, but to hike until I’m halfway through my camelpak – which holds 3 liters of water – and turn around. So I won’t usually make it more than a few hours. Still – it was a gorgeous hike.

Photos below!

The initial, very easy portion of the trail right after crossing the road.


After a few minutes, the trail crosses the creek and begins to climb. If you look closely, you can see waterbugs zipping about in the creek. I paused to watch them for a minute.

Prickly pear cactus.

The flowers from an agave. They were everywhere – it must be the second spring.

If you look real close, you can see the creek way down below as well as a cute little meadow. There has to be some way to get to that meadow.

My hiking footwear of choice is still Vibrams. I love the way I can grip and feel rocks and they’re super lightweight and dry out quick if I get them wet. I can’t wear proper hiking boots after our Hadrian’s Wall trip – my ankles just say no.

Lots of grasses – I’m high enough up to be in a scrubland, but still get the occasional cactus.

I also hike in a skirt. 🙂

Again, if you look reeeaal close, you can probably see the deer that stopped to stare at me. I stared back.

I reach the top of the ridge/mountain and discover… a gate?? I honestly have no idea what this is doing here, but I go through.

And: omg. The other side. This. This is why I love hiking in the desert. On a clear day you can just see forever.

I go down a bit, then realize my water is half gone and decide to head back up. Only then do I notice how steep my descent had been.

View from the top of the ridge, looking back the way I’d come. Not a cloud in sight. Good thing I put on a lot of sunscreen.

The leafcutter ants are particularly active on my way back. They’re large but pretty harmless, provided you’re not a plant.

Back at the bottom of the basin, more and more cacti and their blooms.

Hike deets: Overall, a very easy hike with plenty of views and opportunities to sit on rocks and chill. The trail climbs, but there was never any scrabbling and it never climbed for long. It continues down and connects to the Agua Caliente trail for a very long day hike, if you’re so inclined.

Very exposed, so wear sunscreen, a hat, and bring plenty of water.

That’s it for this week!

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