It was a beautiful day for the inaugural hiking combo—a tour of the Historic Colossal Cave in Vail, Arizona, and a hike in the Colossal Cave Mountain Park along with the Arizona Trail.

Colossal Cave’s human history reaches back as far as the Hohokam circa 900-1300 AD, then rediscovered by new residents of the Wild West in the late 1800s. Just as awareness of the Cave began to grow, disaster struck: The Great Depression. Ironically this economic catastrophe triggered the Park’s growth. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was created to provide jobs to the unemployed in public works projects. Early development of the Park was done by the CCC. Their initial efforts included building the Park roads along with lighting and walkways in the Cave. The stone building that is now home to the Café and Cave Shop was also built by the CCC. Today, Colossal Cave Mountain Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The hike following the cave tour was interesting in a different way. It offered views of the Santa Rita, Whetstone and Empire Mountains. We passed a beautiful, crested saguaro and a large, very decorated “Fairy Tree”!

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