Take A Hike

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Unless you're looking for a snowshoe adventure, hiking this week means heading south.

In fact, this weekend is the perfect time for a two-day backpack trip to warmer climes.

Consider heading 30 miles south of Tucson to the Florida Canyon Trail.

Florida Canyon is located within the Mount Wrightson Wilderness among some incredible scenery.

This is a difficult hike -- the kind of adventure that only someone who would drive five hours to get to a trailhead would enjoy.

The Florida Canyon Trail includes 3,600 feet of elevation gain that leads to incredible views and well-earned seclusion. Having your camping gear along assures that you can spend time enjoying the canyon, plant life and diverse bird population before heading back to the civilization.

To get there, drive south on 1-19 from Tucson for 40 miles, taking the Continental exit (exit 63). Follow Forest Service Road 62 for seven miles. Turn right onto Forest Service Road 62A and follow it three miles to a parking area and the Florida Canyon trailhead.

The campsite is a steep and strenuous 2.1 miles from the trailhead, with more than 2,000 feet of elevation gain. Drop your gear at the camp and head to the saddle with the bare essentials -- plenty of water, food and map. You'll feel light as a feather for the next 2.4 mile climb.

For a complete description of this hike and other hikes in the Mount Wrightson Wilderness, pick up a copy of "50 hikes in Arizona" by Martin Tessmer.

Remember, to watch the weather forecasts. Even southern areas of the state can be hit with winter weather as this past weekend's snow in Scottsdale shows.

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