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Arizona Trail Progress

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Offline Keepa

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Arizona Trail Progress
« on: March 28, 2019, 08:08:42 PM »
Thursday, March 28, 2019 -- Patagonia, Arizona

I started my hike of the AZT on at 8:30 AM on Saturday, March 23. On Tuesday, March 26 I arrived in Patagonia, finishing the first three passages, 52 miles, in 4 days, one half day ahead of schedule.

The AZT begins on passage 1, Huachuca Mountains, at the border of Mexico. To reach the southern terminus you must hike down 1.5 miles on the AZT, starting at Montezuma Pass. On my way down I met a couple who were doing the first two passages only. Half way back up I met Klaus, from Michigan, as he was coming down. He is hiking the entire trail. He is about 62 years old.

The views into Mexico while hiking to the border are magnificent. I reached the border in about 40 minutes. I spent a few minutes with the couple there, we photographed each other then I started to hike up.

I spend about 20 minutes at Montezuma Pass, then resumed the hike.

The AZT starts out with a bang! There is a 3000 foot climb over 8 miles from the border to Bathtub Spring, a reliable spring with a pipe that flows into a bathtub. The climb was murder. I stopped around 12:30 and made lunch with my wood burning stove. As I was gathering wood I had a feeling that perhaps a wood burning stove was not the best idea. More on that later. I spend about 40 minutes on lunch break.

I pushed on, and around 3 PM Klaus caught up with me and we continued on. We reached Bathtub Spring at 4:50. There was a lady camped there. We chatted with here and she informed us that she had sprained her ankle. I asked her if she needed an ACE bandage, she said she had that and was alright.

I filtered 3 liters of water from Bathtub Spring and then continued on, with Klaus, our destination being 1.5 miles away, called Bear Saddle, where we would camp for the night.

In retrospect it was not a good site. It was extremely windy, with gusts up to 20 miles per hour, and the ground was not flat and a bit rocky. I am using the Guthook's app and I should have checked the comments left by other hikers, because only .6 miles up there was a nice and flat area shielded from the winds.

Bear Saddle is also a well-known site for illegal immigrants.

I setup my ZPacks Plexamid V tent on slight incline, the best spot I could find. Then I started dinner. I gathered wood and had the fire going in about ten minutes.  As Klaus and I were cooking our dinners we were visited by two border agents, who were patrolling the area. They were in uniform and armed with machine guns. They were very nice, and one of them was very curious about the AZT and impressed that we were doing it. Their base is 5 miles down the mountain. I thought to myself what a terrific job! You get to hike in the Miller Peak Wilderness and get paid for it.

We both ate our dinners and then went to sleep, but it was not good sleep. The wind was fierce and it was cold. I had all the clothes that I had brought with me on and it was barely warm enough. And the wind got stronger. Around 4 AM it was gusting at nearly 30 miles per hour.

Sunday, March 24

I woke up around 6:30. Klaus was already up and packed. He said he had a miserable night and did not sleep well. So he woke up early and packed. He left at 6:45.

I started to gather wood to cook breakfast. I was a little tricky starting the fire because the dead wood was slightly damp from the morning dew. I got it going, but I began to regret choosing the wood option.

I ate breakfast and hit the trail around 7:45.

It was mostly downhill to the end of the first passage. There was snow on the northern slopes, and a good 1.5 mile portion of the trail was under snow.

There was plenty of water as it has been a wet year.

I made it to the end of passage 1 at 4 PM. It is one mile from Parker Canyon Lake. I started passage 2, continuing on to Parker Canyon Creek, 2 miles ahead, where there are beautiful campsites next to the Creek. I setup camp there.

I filtered 2 liters of water, while doing that I noticed a pinhole leak in my Katadyn BeFree. It was only noticeable if I squeezed when filtering, which would cause a thin spout of water to come out. I would have to swap this out. It seemed alright for the time being.

I gathered wood and cooked dinner, then popped a melatonin and went to sleep at 8. I slept very well for about 6 hours and then it got very cold. I couldn't understand why, because the forecast was for a low of 40. I stuck my hand out of my tent around 2 AM and felt it was warmer outside than in the tent. Then I noticed the condensation in the tent. It was very bad. Even the top of my quilt was moist. No wonder it was colder inside the tent!

The Plexamid has only one mesh door, and it was not adequately ventilating the tent. This was not good!

Monday, March 25

I couldn't sleep very well for the rest of the night because of the dampness in the tent. I woke up at 7, cooked breakfast, all the while dreading the chore of gathering wood, then hit the trail at 8:15.

The second passage of the AZT, Canelo Hills East, is a series of hills stretching for 14 miles. There are no steep climbs, just small ascents and descents for the entire passage.

At about 9:30 I ran into two bicyclists from South Africa, who were just packing up. We chatted for a couple of minutes and they informed me they were riding to Patagonia. I told them that you will soon pass me. But that never happened.

At 11:30 I met this very nice couple from New Hampshire, 70 years old, who were hiking a loop in this passage. Their names are -- I kid you not -- Tom Sawyer and Diane Sawyer. We chatted for about ten minutes. They told me they had thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail 3 years ago. Wow!

As I hiked over the Canelo Hills I asked myself why am I doing this? Why do people spend months walking? What purpose does it serve? Whom does it help? Does it feed the hungry? Does it find the next vaccine? It seemed to me to be a very selfish activity. Have the people who do these long hikes lost their purpose in life and are just trying to fill the void? I know that in the past two years I have lost interest in most things that I used to do, including dancing and teaching dancing, and activism for my people (Assyrians), which I was so heavily involved in. Isn't the purpose in life to help others? Which means to love others, love them unconditionally. Isn't it about love? So what good does thru-hiking do?

I continued on. Around 4 PM I stopped for a snack and water at a junction with another trail, and lo and behold Tom and Diane came up that trail. We chatted again and Diane told me they had run across the South Africans, and that one of them had wiped out and badly scraped his left arm, which was bandaged from wrist to shoulder.

We set out together to the trail head of the second/third passage and I arrived at 5:30 to an area .2 miles from the trail head, about 10 minutes before them. There were many pools of water in the creek next to the trail, and many flat areas for camping. I filtered 3 liters and continued to the trail head, where there are two camp sites.

I tried to pitch my tent but the ground was hard and I could not put my stakes fully into the ground. I broke the tip of one them. I was tired and I thought about going ahead a little to find a better spot but then I checked myself. Only .2 miles behind me was water and many campsites, whereas before me was unknown. And it was late. So I walked back .2 miles and found a great site with soft ground. I was so tired I didn't want to bother looking for firewood, so I had a cold dinner.

But it was a miserable night because of the condensation in the tent. It was the worst so far. The Plexamid V was proving to be a failure. I woke up around 6:30 to find some dripping from the ceiling of the tent. The top of my quilt was very moist. So I quickly packed up, walked .2 miles up to the trail head and cooked breakfast there. At 7:45 I started on passage 3, Canelo Hills West.

Tuesday, March 26

The third passage is mostly downhill, but still challenging in places, and there is a 150 foot rub-salt-into-the wound climb right before the final descent to the trail head. It is 16.4 miles long. Never-the-less, I finished it by 5:30, and I was in Patagonia!

Along the way I met one female cyclist who came up from behind me early on in the passage.

The final two miles are a road walk to Patagonia. As I was walking into town a cyclist passed me, and about a mile later I saw a barbecue food truck in the middle of nowhere. The cyclist was there drinking Gatorade, and I bought a Gatorade and a Lemmon-lime popsicle. The truck was selling food to all the miners driving up and down Hershaw road. The owners were from Nogales (on the Arizona side).

I checked into the Stage Stop Inn hotel in Patagonia, and started my laundry before anything else. I put everything item of clothing into the washing machine. I was walking back and forth to the laundry room with only a bath towel wrapped around my waist. I showered, put the clothes in the dryer, then called my cousin in Phoenix and had him ship me my ZPacks Duplex tent, my other BeFree filter, and a wicking sports shirt.

After my clothes dried I got dressed and went to the Wagon Wheel restaurant for a terrific hamburger.

On the facebook page for the AZT class of 2019 group I posted my progress, and the lady with the sprained ankle at Bathtub Spring replied and said she had made it safely down.

Equipment Review:

ZPacks Arc Haul backpack: stellar! Not once did I feel anything on my shoulders in four days of hiking.

OpSack odor bag: junk. The zipper on both of the bags I was carrying separated cleanly from the bag (one one side) on day one, as if it had been cut with a razor. Also, on both bags the zippers developed a bump which prevented them from sealing tightly.

ZPacks Plexamid V tent: disaster. It held up to the winds on the first night but the condensation on nights 2 and 3 was intolerable. I hope I can return it, it cost $549. I have never had condensation in my ZPacks Duplex tent, because it has mesh doors on both sides and ventilates very well.

Ti Tri Caldera stove with wood burning option: It worked, but I got tired of taking the time to find wood for the fire, the soot got annoying, and I smelled like Smokey the Bear caught with his pants down (i.e., a forest fire). I did bring my alcohol stove with me just in case, so I sent the wood burning portions back. Now I will use alcohol for the rest of the hike.

Rota Locura trekking poles: At 9.7 ounces for the pair they are terrific, feather light. The straps got annoying so I removed them and sent them back. You can buy them with or without straps. Tip, if you are not sure, get them with the straps and remove the straps.

Enlightened Equipment Ultralight Evolution 30 degree quilt: great, despite the condensation in the tent.

I stayed in Patagonia one day longer than planned because the replacement gear my cousin sent would not arrive until Thursday.

On Friday the 29th I will hit the trail again.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 02:13:55 PM by Keepa »

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2019, 08:23:37 PM »
Sounds like a typical start to a long hike, full of the usual shakedown issues.  Hang in there and you will soon be dialed in.

Thanks so much for taking the time to keep us up to date.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2019, 06:03:49 AM by mule ears »
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Offline Keepa

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2019, 08:49:45 PM »
I had planned to do the gear shakedown in Big Bend over spring break, but I injured my back.

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Online alan in shreveport

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2019, 09:25:32 PM »
Enjoying your report, sorry about the equipment failures. I had a similar experience with condensation on a one night trip in Arkansas a few years back, miserable way to spend the night. Looking forward to your pictures.

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2019, 12:45:42 PM »
As elhombre once said to me, "if it was easy, everybody would be doing it."  You're out there on the point of the spear, Keepa.  Keep it up. Thanks for the honest musings, especially the "why I am I doing this" thoughts. In my experience, long hikes are not just about miles; they're about deep whys and who-am-I's.  That's probably part of the point.

As Mule Ears said, thanks for taking the time to update us. We're all with you in spirit.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Keepa

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2019, 12:59:24 PM »
Tuesday, April 2nd, Tucson Arizona

Immediately after I posted my last report I called my best friend, a person whom I met first day of high school, a person whom I was best man for, godfather of his eldest son, godfather of his aunt's daughter. He told me he has been diagnosed with stage 2 prostate cancer. It was a shocking blow. We talked at length and I tried to comfort him, but in the end there was nothing that I could do, it was in the hands of God and the doctors. At least the prognosis looked good, the cancer seemed to be localized and the odds were good that surgery would completely remove it.

Even though there was nothing that I could really do I felt very guilty for not being with him.

I had received the replacement gear that my cousin had sent, so I busied myself with unboxing it. The Zpacks Duplex was fine. But as I was cleaning the Katadyn BeFree filter, which was brand new, I noticed that it also had a pinhole leak!

This was not the makings of an auspicious beginning.

Friday, March 29th

I woke up at 6:30, showered and then went to have breakfast at Meeting Grounds. There I met two hikers, Naomi and Mike, who are on the trail. I ate my breakfast and packed up and hit the trail at 8. It was a nice cool morning as I started down the 7 Mile stretch of Temporal Gulch road to the trailhead.

Around mile 4 I came up to a sign that said the road was closed and there was a detour for the Arizona Trail going off to the right. Apparently there was some mining activity and heavy machinery being used and no one was allowed to go on the road. I seriously debated whether I should ignore the sign and just proceed on the road, but I decided to take the detour. It was pretty nice with some great views but it added two miles to the length of the trail.

I finally came back to the road again and shortly after that as I was crossing a creek I met a southbound hiker who is sitting there having lunch. I decided to take a lunch break as it was about 12:30. We had a nice chat. He was from Moab, Utah.

At about 1:15 I set out again and very shortly after that began the two thousand foot climb of Mount Wrightson. My destination was Bear Spring, on the other side, where there was supposedly a nice place to camp. But when I arrived I saw a very small space which I did not feel comfortable camping in so I decided to continue to Tunnel Spring, 3.6 miles ahead. I knew there would be good campsites there because Tunnel Spring is right on a road.

I arrived at the spring at about 7:15 with almost no light left. So the first thing I did was set up my tent and then filter some water, then I made dinner and went to sleep.

The official mileage from Patagonia to Tunnel Spring is 18.8 miles, but the detour added 2 miles to that so I wound up doing 20.8 miles for the day.

Saturday, March 30th

I woke up at 7,  filtered water from Tunnel Spring, which flows into a metal tank, made breakfast and hit the trail around 8:15.

My Zpacks duplex tent was stellar, there was no condensation whatsoever in it.

It was mostly downhill for the next 14 miles, the highlight being Kentucky camp 7 miles  down the trail. Kentucky camp used to be run by a mining company, and it has been restored by the Coronado National Forest and the cabins can be rented. I arrived there at 11:30 and sat on the porch and relaxed for a few minutes. While I was relaxing a hiker came up, his trail name being Houston, and we chatted. I told him my trail name, Keepa, and he said he had been following my water reports in the Guthook app.

15 minutes later his hiking buddy, trail name Moose, arrived. They said they had ignored the detour on Temporal Gulch road and proceeded ahead, but were not allowed to proceed where the mining activity was, so they bushwhacked around it. I think I should have done the same thing.

At Kentucky cab there's tap water, and a kitchen with a refrigerator and a microwave. I used the microwave to cook my lunch, chipotle mac and cheese. While eating my lunch Naomi and Mike arrived.

I planned to spend only an hour at Kentucky camp. But it was so relaxing there that I wound up spending two hours. Houston and Moose did the same.

I hit the trail again at 1:30, and Houston and Moose followed me about 5 minutes later. About three miles later they caught up with me at the trail junction with the road and we continued on together for about a half a mile. Then I stopped for a couple of minutes and they proceeded ahead and I never saw them again. They were hiking very fast. Because they told me they had left Patagonia at 1 on Friday so they were 5 hours behind me but they had caught up with me the next day.

The next water source was about five miles away, so I carried 2 liters with me from Kentucky Camp. It was pretty easy going this part of the trail and I reached the water source, which required walking about 2,000 feet to a creek bed and supposedly going to a spring that feeds into a tank. But I did not have to go that far because the creek had flowing water and I got my water from there. I came back up to the trail and sat down and tried to figure out where would be a good camping spot ahead on the trail,  because this part of the trail had been very rocky and camping spots were hard to find.

There was a nice camping spot right where I was sitting and I debated whether I should camp here but it was only 4:45 and there was two hours of daylight left. As I was checking the maps Naomi and Mike arrived and we discussed the camping situation. I decided to go ahead for about another hour in the hopes of finding a good camp spot. But there was none to be found until we hit a road about an hour later, two miles down the trail, where I saw a mobile home parked in a nice flat spot where I could pitch my tent right next to it. So I told Naomi and Mike that I would stop here for the night. it was 6 PM. They went ahead and I never saw them again.

I asked the people in the mobile home if I could pitch my tent right next to their car and they were very nice and said sure, and we had a long chat. They were going to Tunnel Spring the next day. I gave them the water reports and they were very glad that there was so much water out there.

The ground on that spot was very hard, and I broke one of my carbon tent stakes trying to put it in. So I asked the guy if he had hammer and he said he had a mallet, and then I asked him if he had a steel steak and he said no but he had a screwdriver and I said that would work. So I used the mallet and screwdriver to pound a hole into the ground into which I put my carbon stakes.

I made a note to myself that as soon as I got to Tucson I would buy one steal stake so I could use it for this very same purpose.

I had done 14.7 miles for day.

Sunday, March 31st

I had a good sleep; it was warmer than the previous nights because I was at a lower elevation. I woke up at 6:45, packed everything, made breakfast and chatted with the couple. I hit the trail at 8.

For the next two miles I could not see any place to camp, and I wondered where Naomi and Mike had camped.

It was mostly downhill as it had been since coming over Mt. Wrightson, as the AZT was descending into the desert.

I was in passage 6.

My next destination was a water tank six miles away.

My feet were hurting. The Kean shoes I was wearing had soft soles and I could feel every rock digging into the bottoms of my feet. This had been going on since I started the hike. I resolved to buy new shoes on the third day but it had to be done in Tucson. I couldn't mail order them because shoes are very tricky to fit.

I arrived at the water tank, it was silty and it almost killed my BeFree. I filtered 3 liters because the next dependable water, Twin Tanks, was 8 miles away. I was carrying one gallon of water. But it was cool and windy, so it wasn't so bad.

The trail continued its overall descent to the desert but there were many small drainages, so there was a lot of small climbs.

I ran across a couple of flowing Creeks on the way to Twin Tanks, I made a report in Guthook and continued.

The hike to Twin Tanks was nondescript. I could see the tanks, which are stock tanks, from about a half mile away.  I saw an SUV drive and park next to the tank. I suspected it was a trail angel.

When I arrived the truck was still there, it was a guy and his wife, and he turned out to be the steward for passage 3. He was caching water for a couple of his friends who were arriving in a couple of days.

They offered me bottled water, which I gladly accepted, glad to avoid having to filter water from the cow tank.

And there were a bunch of cows at the tank, and prairie pies almost everywhere! I had to choose my campsite carefully to avoid the meadow muffins.

I made dinner around 6:15 and went to sleep at 8. The cows were bellowing and cooing all night, which actually was nice, and the place smelled like a farm.

I had done 15.7 miles for the day.

Monday, April 1st

I got a good night's sleep. I woke up around 5:45, made a hot breakfast, with mint chocolate cocoa, and hit the trail at 7:08.

My destination was Colossal Cave Mountain Park, where I had resupply box waiting for me. But I never made it

It was an easy hike, with a constant and barely noticeable downgrade, almost like it was an engineered aqueduct grade.

I would hit the famous AZT I-10 underpass in 10.8 miles.

I started strong but around mile 7 I started fading, mainly because of my feet.

I pushed on, finally reaching the underpass at 12:30. It was fun and cool in there.

The end of passage 7 was 1.5 miles away, at the Gabe Zimmerman trailhead. I reached that at 1:15 and called it quits. I had done 12.4 miles.

I was wiped out. I hitchhiked to Tucson, got a room for two nights and immediately soaked my body and aching feet in the bathtub for 30 minutes. Then I ordered a 12 inch pizza and a Greek salad and devoured them.

I did laundry, then went to bed at 8 and slept for 12 solid hours.

The next day I went to REI and exchanged the BeFree, bought new shoes (Oboz) with very solid soles, bought tent stakes and chilled for the rest of the day.

I would resume hiking on April 3rd.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 02:15:11 PM by Keepa »

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2019, 02:31:53 PM »
Keepa again thanks for keeping us updated.  Yet more shakedown issues but maybe you have it now.  I feel for you with the Keen's,  I had a pair that ended my long Hayduke section hike after 150 miles because I ended up with a big blister on the ball of my foot, which I have never had an issue with before.

Best of luck on the next section.
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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2019, 06:23:16 PM »
I could wax poetic, but Iíll cut to the chase instead:

Solo is a bitch.

Youíll face a thousand reasonable reasons to quit. All will be persuasive and a few of them may even be valid.


I feel for you with the Keen's, I had a pair that ended my long Hayduke section hike after 150 miles because I ended up with a big blister on the ball of my foot, which I have never had an issue with before.


I feel for you, too, Keepa. The feet defeat the feat more often than not. Iím sending you good vibes to keep on keepiní on, Keepa.



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Offline Keepa

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2019, 07:32:12 PM »
Thank you Mile Ears and House Made of Dawn. Quick update: after switching to Oboz shoes my feet problems went away. Just goes to show that every piece of gear has to be right to achieve success.

Oboz shoes company is based ln Bozeman, Montana. The shoes are great.

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2019, 07:36:21 PM »
Iíve worn Oboz Bridgers for seven years.  Rock on, Keepa.


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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2019, 09:40:32 PM »
Really enjoying the progress reports, Keepa.  Oboz suits me pretty well also.  Not much cushion to them though.
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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2019, 11:30:56 PM »
Wednesday, April 3rd

My permit for camping at Manning camp in Saguaro National park was for April 5. I had two days to hike passage 8, which is 13.9 miles.

I arranged a ride to the Gabe Zimmerman trailhead with a trail angel, Gregory Rogan, who is very nice. I told him we needed to stop and buy HEET for my alcohol stove and he bought it for me and refused to be reimbursed. The ride was also free. It turned out we are both musicians, he in Americana, as he described it, while I am a classical composer (you may hear my music at boogiedrop.com).

We arrived at the trailhead at 9:30. I lounged around for 30 minutes, took care of job #2 at a porta-potty, then hit the trail at a leisurely pace at 10.

My destination was Colossal Cave Mountain Park, 7 miles away, where I had a resupply box waiting.

Passage 8 of the AZT goes through the Davison Canyon recreation area, a beautiful area to hike and camp in. This was turning out to be my favorite passage of the AZT so far.

I saw a Gila Monster, got good video of it. It's the second time I have seen one, the first was at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument a few years ago.

I made it to Colossal Cave at 1:30, had two Lemmon-lime Gatorades, a hamburger and guacamole and chips.

I then claimed my resupply box and realized I had packed too much food. But it did give the option if skipping my next resupply stop, something that I would consider when I got to that point.

I sat at the visitor's center until 4:30, paid for a campsite, then hiked to the Las Selvilla picnic area and campground, which had a water spigot, and which the AZT passes through.

There I met an AZT hiker, Steady Edy, who turned out to be from Chicago, and an Australian husband and wife, Charlie and Joy,  who were biking the AZT.

A local who lives close to the campground had met Charlie and Joy earlier and had left trail magic at their picnic table, chips and avocados, beer and carbonated drinks. We shared that over dinner.

All the main meals in my resupply box were from Packit Gourmet of Austin, Texas. I have never had freeze dried food that tastes so good. I highly recommend it. I had shepherd beef pie and mashed potatoes for dinner. It was terrific. I followed that with an Early Gray sweetened with honey crystals (my luxury item).

I hit the sack around 8.

Thursday, April 4th

I woke up at 6:30, leisurely packed up everything except my tent, then started breakfast: scrambled eggs with pork sausage. I was apprehensive because every freeze dried scrambled eggs I have tried has been terrible. But Packit Gourmet delivered again. It was delicious. I followed that with hot chocolate cocoa and a cranberry cookie.

I lounged around until 9:30, having only 7 miles to cover for the day. Then I hit the trail a minute after SteadyEdy did. He was going to camp at Grass Shack campground tonight then go over Mica Mountain tomorrow.

My destination was indefinite, a camping spot about 7 or 8 miles down the trail. I was still in passage 8 and it continued to be beautiful.

I reached Rincon Greek about 1 PM and stopped for a lunch break, I had covered 6.5 miles. I had another terrific meal from Packit Gourmet, filtered 2 liters of water then continued.

I crossed into Saguaro National Park about a tenth of a mile later, then reached Hope Camp (where camping is NOT allowed) about a mile later. It is right next to the trail. I decided to camp here. It was about 2 PM, and I had covered 7.3 miles.

At about 2:30 a couple of hikers arrived. They were foreigners. We chatted for a couple of minutes. They did not know that they needed a permit to Camp up at Manning camp and complained that nobody told them about it, even though it is clearly stated on the Arizona trail website. So they said they were going to hike 2 miles further down to the creek, camp there, and then the next morning go up and down the mountain in one day. I thought this ill-advised, since it is 20 miles to go up and down with a 10,000 feet elevation change. I did not say anything though and they went on their way. In retrospect, I should have advised them just to camp at Manning camp without a permit, since in all probability there would be no ranger there to check on you.

Tomorrow would be the 12.6 mile trek to Manning camp, with a 4806 feet climb.

Friday, April 5th

I woke up at 6:15, had a hearty breakfast and then hit the trail at 7:30.

The first two miles to the creek, which marks the wilderness boundary of Saguaro National Park, were relatively flat. I reached the creek in 40 minutes, filtered 2 liters of water there and then began the climb, my destination being Grass Shack campground, 6 miles ahead and 2000 feet up.

I set out from the creek at 8:45. It was a cool day, upper 60s with a nice wind. Not bad for a strenuous climb.

And strenuous it was. The switchbacks were short, which means they were steep. I lumbered on, snapping photos and videos along the way, as the views were terrific.

I made it to Grass Shack at 1:30. There was a hiker camped there. I went to the bear box and used that as a table to make lunch, another delicious meal from Packit Gourmet.

After eating lunch I laid on the ground, used my backpack as a pillow, and took a power nap.

25 minutes later I woke up and I noticed that the other hiker was lying beside her tent. I waved at her and she waved back and she came over and we chatted a little. She was a local who came up to Grass Shack to film and take pictures of a waterfall that she discovered nearby another time she was doing this hike. I told her I'm going up to Manning camp, and the climb was going to kill me. She said it's not so bad, but I was dubious.

At 2:30 I set out for Manning camp. The initial half mile from grass Shack was a little tough but then the grades became gentler and the switchbacks were much longer and the trail itself was nice and relatively rock-free. I picked up my second wind and I felt very good as I climbed up.

It was 4.6 miles and 2650 feet to Manning Camp.

Even though it was a cool day I was drenched with sweat as I climbed up and my hiking shirt was completely wet. I was getting a little chilly because of the wind, so I put on my windbreaker. I would have to change my clothes immediately upon arriving at camp.

When I reached Chimenea Creek, about .4 miles from camp, it began to hail a little for about 45 seconds. That concerned me and I hoped that it wouldn't be like that for the rest of the night.

The temperature had also dropped. I knew I had to change my clothes, and I knew exactly where I would do it, in the out-house, which would be a little warmer than the outside.

I reached Manning camp at about 5:45. I saw a ranger building complete with propane tanks, it was fairly large. So I decided to go see if it was open but no such luck, it was locked. I saw above the door a thermometer which read 58 degrees.

So I made for the outhouse, and I was right, it was warmer in there by about 5 degrees. I got out of my wet shirt and my hiking pants and put on my wicking shirt and wool shirt, which I normally sleep in, and put on my Merino wool long johns and my silk long johns.

There were three locals from Tucson camping there for the night, we chatted a little. I told them in my opinion the ranger building should be kept open in case of emergency. One guy asked me what kind of emergency? I said hypothermia. He said very callously "that's your problem." I said in Norway they usually keep these kinds of buildings open just in case of emergencies. He said we are not in Norway. I did not pursue it any further.

I remember reading in the book Beneath the Window, by Homer Wilson's daughter, that all of the people who lived in that area at the time used to keep their homes open for any stranger to come in and use, because it was such a harsh environment it could have meant the difference between life and death.

My campsite had a bear box next to it, a huge fireplace with a metal grate, and even a rocking wooden bench. I set up my tent quickly and then cooked dinner right next to the fireplace. I then placed everything into the bear box and went to sleep.

At around 1 in the morning it rained for about 5 minutes.

Saturday, April 6th

I woke up at 6 but didn't leave the warmth of my quilt until 6:30. Then I got up and made breakfast.

I left my tent standing because I wanted it to dry. The sun finally came over the mountain around 7. The sunlight was reaching my campsite but there were trees and it wasn't fully hitting my tent. So around 7:45 I struck my tent and went downhill about a hundred feet to a large exposed rock outcrop and lay the tent there in full sunlight, and also my shirt.

At about 8:20 I packed everything up and hit the trail. I still had an 800 foot climb to get to the highest point of Mica mountain but after that everything would be downhill.

It was a steep and rocky descent, with sections of the trail that were overgrown. There were three or four water sources flowing as I descended and I reported them in the Guthook app. My destination was Tanque Verde canyon, 6.2 miles down, where there was a strong Creek flowing and where I would have lunch.

I made it to the creek by 1:30. I had a quick lunch, filtered 2 liters. It was overcast over Mica Mountain and over where I was sitting at the creek. I felt a few drops and I prayed that it would not rain.

The worst part of the descent was behind me now, as shortly after Tanque Verde canyon the trail became flat and smooth for about 2 miles. I was in a very beautiful, grassy meadow.

It was 5 miles to the Redington road trailhead and nine miles to my next reliable water source.

I found two more water source between Tanque Verde canyon and Redington road, one of them only a quarter mile from the road. I was pretty tired, so I filled up at the source close to Redington road and decided to hike two more miles and dry camp about 2 miles from the next water source.

I hit the sack at 8.

Sunday, April 7th

I hit the trail at 8. The Gordon Hirabsyashi trailhead was only 11 miles away. There I would hitch hike on Catalina highway into Tucson for a zero day.

I stopped at The Lake but the water was not appealing so I went on ahead because the next water source, Agua Caliente Drainage, was only 2 miles away.

I was in passage 10 of the Arizona Trail and it was pretty easy going, except for a couple of short climbs. I made it to the Gordon Hirabayashi trailhead by 1:30.

I hitch hiked into Tucson where I did my usual routine of renting a room and doing my laundry.

The Oboz shoes were terrific. My feet problems went away completely.

On another note, the Wysi Wipes I am carrying for toilet paper are an amazing success. I have one month's supply at only 3.5 oz. Also, they are made of cellulose and are therefore biodegradable, so you can bury them with your feces.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 02:16:50 PM by Keepa »

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Offline House Made of Dawn

  • www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2YJduDyFA4
  • Golden Eagle
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  • Backpacking since '78, Big Bend since '95.
Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2019, 12:13:18 AM »
Woohoo!

Packit Gourmet is awesome! Score one for the little guy.

Thanks for the heads-up on Wysi Wipes. Iíll try them next time.

Keep on, keepiní on!


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"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline elhombre

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2019, 08:55:30 AM »
I had never heard of Wysi wipes either, so I looked them up.  They are no different from regular TP when it comes to composting.  Their web site says their product is made of pulp fiber.  Pulp fiber is cellulose.  Pretty much all TP is cellulose.  They just take the paper and squish it down in to a wooden nickle so you save space.  Their web site even boasts that you can reuse the towel.  That tells me it is pretty tough when it comes to construction.  I don't think anyone of us will try to reuse TP.  Meaning ordinary TP will most likely break down more quickly because it's construction is certainly not robust enough to use twice.  Sadly, Wysi wipes are not a solution to burying your trash TP. 

For a minute there, I was excited thinking I wouldn't have to carry out my used TP, but it still looks like hauling out one's used poopy paper is still part of the price of admission when backpacking LNT.

Keep Rocking it  Keepa!
For 2 years the Fake News Media, Obama's FBI, CIA & DOJ, and Swamp dwelling Politicians COLLUDED, Illegally Spied,and LIED to America about POTUS in order to overturn an election

All the while demanding censorship and removal of opposition Conservative "hate speech" voices.  Globalists Hate Freedom

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Offline House Made of Dawn

  • www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2YJduDyFA4
  • Golden Eagle
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  • 2932
  • Backpacking since '78, Big Bend since '95.
Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2019, 09:30:51 AM »
Yeah, packing out used TP isnít a dealbreaker for me, but it comes awfully close for my wife and kids. Needless to say, Iím always the designated trash-packer in our family.

And, no, even I donít try to reuse TP. 


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"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

 


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