The Emperor’s New Groove is a hilarious family movie that has brought joy and laughter to our home since the year 2000. It’s not necessary to see the movie in order to find these boxes, but it would sure make your life better. You can even watch it on Netflix!
The movie is set in South America, so guess where we’re going? South! From Tucson, go South on Interstate 19 and take exit 63, following the signs to Madera Canyon. Once off the interstate, turn left on Continental Road, and after 1.1 miles turn right on White House Canyon Road. This road will take you right to Madera Canyon, once you enter the National Forest, park in the trailhead lot for Bog Springs Trail. There is a $5 fee for the day, or $20 for a year-long pass.
Madera Canyon is a beautiful place to hike, camp, or play Exotic Bird Bingo. The boxes are spread out along the Kent Springs/Bog Springs loop trail. It will be 5.8 miles round trip, with 1720 feet of elevation gain. This hike is moderately strenuous, so make sure you have plenty of water and maybe some food before you begin. The stamps are spread out as evenly as we could make them along the trail, there is only one logbook for the series, and it can be found in the last box. If you want to leave any hitchhikers, the last box is the best place to do that.
Always rehide well and be discreet around other hikers. Be on the lookout for jaguars, snakes and quicksand – it’s not safe for a poor, directionally challenged llama to be out here on his own!
Box #1: Title Sequence
Begin your hike on Bog Springs trail. It’s about .9 miles to the beginning of the loop. There will be several unmarked trails coming from the Bog Springs campground, but always stick to the right, there will also be one signed intersection leading to the lodge, continue straight there. When you reach the sign at the beginning of the loop, look to your right. To the Southwest, you will see a 4 trunked alligator juniper, 13 steps off the trail. Once you reach the juniper, continue 10 steps SW to the peak of the “hill”. There is a trapezoid-shaped boulder – you will find the small, round, camouflage container under the SE side of the boulder, which is next to another juniper. Please be discreet and hide well – the intersection seemed to be the busiest part of the whole trail the day we planted!
Box #2: Kuzcotopia
Return to the trail. You are going to be going around the loop counter-clockwise, so take a right at the fork onto Kent Springs Trail. The trail will be going up gradually, then eventually go downhill, across a seasonal spring (it had water in it the day we hiked the trail!) and then back uphill. Keep your eye out for a tree growing into a giant boulder on your right side, about 20 steps off the trail. This comes before a left turn in the trail. Go to the boulder, then turn right and walk along the side of the boulder to where a pile of rocks sit between it and a moderate sized boulder. Under a SPOR to the right of the pile of large rocks is what you’re looking for – but you’ll have to look closely, because this stamp is hidden inside of a hide-a-key rock!
Box #3: Yzma
Return to trail, the trail will continue on uphill. It will soon meet up with a spring – maybe not a flowing spring throughout the year, but today it was, and we enjoyed seeing small waterfalls as well. After crossing the stream/creek bed, the trail will veer to the left. Look straight ahead at an oak tree and its dead brother. Behind that, there will be a boulder. Look under the corner of the boulder closest to the living tree – this time, you’re looking for a camo bag. Please reseal tightly!
Box #4: Kronk
I hope you’re not all funned-out yet, because the end of the uphill section is coming! Back on the trail, continue uphill, and enjoy the great view of the mines to your left. Pass by Sylvester Spring, continue uphill. You’ll pass another creek bed, then go steeply uphill. The path will veer to the right, with a Ponderosa pine to your right and a large boulder on your left. When you are standing next to the boulder, walk right off trail 5 steps. There will be 2 trees on your right and boulders to your left. On the opposite side of the 2nd tree, there are 2 rocks with a gap between them. In the gap, under pine needles, bark, and rocks is the next bag holding a stamp.
Box #5: Pacha
Continue on the trail, making your way uphill some more. You’ll walk along another stream until the trail turns right and meets Bog Springs trail and the Kent Spring. We’re now past the halfway point, and there are no more steep uphill sections! Yay!! On Bog Springs trail, pass over 2 small creek beds next to each other, and then start walking along a ridge. The trail will veer to the right, with a giant boulder and a great view on the left side of the trail. Pacha claims that when the sun hits his boulder just right, the boulder sings. Walk 15 steps off trail to the South side of the boulder. Between 2 sets of trees, there is a SPOR in a crevice under the boulder, and that is where you will find the next bag!
Box #6: The Emperor’s New Groove
Back on trail, follow the ridge, and enjoy the views! The trail will be relatively flat for a while. When it becomes noticeably steeper (but before it begins switch-backing) you will see a patch of yucca underneath an alligator juniper tree on the left. Continue just a bit further down the trail, and soon to the right is another juniper tree, and behind that a rocky outcrop. Look for the hedgehog cactus – the small round container is hidden in a crevice below and to the right of the cactus.
Box #7: Squeakers
Continuing on your hike, the trail will descend more and then start switchbacking down a steep ridge. After many switchbacks, the trail will straighten to a steep narrow path heading North. After a bit you will notice a change in foliage, the trail will be more shaded than before. Continue just a bit further to a hairpin in the trail that goes to the left. At the point of the hairpin, look for a tree shaped like a Y 15 steps off the trail – go to that tree. From there, go 10 steps to your left to a boulder and tree. The bag is hidden between the rock and tree under a SPOR.
Box #8: Yzma’s New Groove
Continue on the trail. You will pass a fork in the road with the trail that leads to the bog springs. Stay on the main trail. Continue walking down the ridge, it will start heading West for the most part. With the Western Santa Rita mountains ahead, look for a lichen-covered square rock jutting into the left side of the trail. When you are next to it, go about 5 steps to the left up the side of the trail to a moderate sized alligator juniper behind a yucca. From above, the wicked shall receive their just reward, but from under a SPOR, a letterboxer will receive their reward hidden in a bag!
Box #9: Kuzco
One more! Back on the trail, make your way to the sign at the beginning of the loop. Once you are at the fork in the road with Kent Springs Trail, look straight ahead of you to a big pile of boulders. (West off of the trail.) Walk to the boulders, and enjoy the view of Mt. Wrightson. From here, go 50 steps farther West to another smaller rock pile, with a prickly pear in the center. Under the West side of the West-most boulder, you will find the box under a SPOR.
I hope you enjoyed the stamps and the hike. Please let me know if any of these stamps need attention.