Thursday, March 19, 2020

Arizona Trail/ Oracle to Kearney

Day 20:

American Flag Trailhead to Mountain Tank
AZT mile 219

2282 ascended
2990 descended

Saina, who is filling in for Marnie, at the Oracle Chalet drove us to the trailhead at 7:30 AM which was an early start for us.  Our plan is to start walking 20 mile days from Oracle as the terrain is more rolling and the water sources further apart.  It worked at well.  

We were very happy to see FOG right when we got to the trailhead.  He is very fast and should have been way ahead of us, but he took some time off due to a sore ankle.  We had a lot of fun hiking with him.  He’s very interesting and lived a pretty exotic life.  Seven miles into our hike his girlfriend met us in her van and she too is a sweetheart and we really enjoyed their company. 

We left Fog to enjoy his lunch and hiked on knowing he would eventually catch us and he did at sunset. He’s an ultralight hiker and cowboy camps.  His backpack looks smaller than my grandson’s school bags.  He has led an exotic well traveled life.  He likes to say he’s cleaned toilets in all the world’s most beautiful places, but in reality he has led a life as an accomplished fishing guide. 

It was a beautiful day.  A bit hot, when the wind died down, but all in all wonderful.  Big views and lots of flowers.  Somehow my photos do not show the scope of the colors or multitudes if flowers.  Hopefully I can do a better job tomorrow.  It is wonderful being outdoors all day and feeling like you are part of the natural world.  There is something very grounding about it. 

Our water source tonight is a big tank.  You climb a ladder and scoop it out.  After filtering it tastes great and is very clear. Tomorrow our water sources sound a bit more rare and a lot less clear.  All of this information is on our Guthook App. We hope to hike another 20 miles, so I better go to sleep.  

Day 21:

Mountain View Tank to Stock Pond
AZT mile 241.4

23 miles hiked
2156 up
2484 down

 The desert is awash in a whole palette of color.  Each rock, cactus and flower seems like it part of an elaborate plan in someone’s landscaped desert garden, but it’s not. It’s just natural, Gods garden and boy is it good.  

Hiking the lowlands again and it was mostly easy.   Midday and midway I hit a proverbial brick wall.  I slowed way down and my legs felt heavy, my head and back hurt.  We took a break and dried our gear and I ate.  It helped and we went on and hiked 13 more miles!  Midday I never would have believed that I could walk that much more, but I did.  

Saw lots of bunnies and birds today as well.  Jack rabbits and cottontails, roadrunners, ravens, meadowlarks, buzzards, cactus wrens and others.  The desert is very much alive and so was the big rattle snake that shook its tail at us as we passed.  

We’ve had our phones mostly in air plane mode to conserve the battery and when we turned them on we had many messages.  It seemed like civilization was going crazy over the covid-19, and we wondered there was something we should be doing.  After a few well placed phone calls we decided to enjoy where we are.  What will be will be.  

Water sources are few and far between and the water caches have been mostly empty for us as we are right behind a big group of hikers.  Here is a photo of our midday source from a big tank.  It’s only a little yellow.  I just pretend it’s lemonade.  

Day 22:

Stock Pond to Kearny
AZT mile 262.7

21.3 miles hiked
1783 up
3526 down

Yesterday was my favorite day hiking, so it’s nice ending on a high note.  

Morning dawned clear, but we knew a storm was coming so we dried our gear out before taking off.  We had flat easy hiking on Jeep roads for the first half of our day.  Just as we were leaving a wash and hitting some single track trail the heavens boomed with thunder and the sky split open and poured down rain upon us.  We unfurled our umbrellas and hiked up and up and up battling the winds and rain with our umbrellas like a shield.  It was the best.  I was invigorated and alive and felt in communion with nature.  We were along a ridge for awhile and we could see the Superstition Mountains shrouded in mist and were so excited that we would be entering them next. 

The trail zig zagged and rolled up and down and it felt like we were on Mr. Toads wild ride as we walked quickly toward the bridge in Kearny where our hiking friend was waiting to give us a ride.  Pizza followed and a hot shower. 

 This is probably our last post.  We are thinking of postponing our hike due to the corona virus.  We are feeling irresponsible continuing our hike and are also concerned that the panic in society might make getting home difficult.  Our hiking buddy Fog is getting off trail and is giving us a ride back to our car as I write this.  We may go car camping for a few days and see how things progress.  

Some new flowers today.