Saturday, March 21, 2015

AZT Day 14-Rincon Valley

Miles 128.8 to 111.7
Arizona Trail Passage 8
17.1 miles

Woke up to the scent of skunk.  Never saw him, but apparently Jan said there was lots of critter noises last night, including the snorting of javelina.  I didn't hear.  I can sleep through pretty much anything in my hammock, a skill I've developed over the years because I decided that my sleep is too important for my ability to hike.  No sense in worrying over stuff I can't control, in this case the animals who are out and about.  What could I do anyway?  Jan and I joke that we have our umbrellas for defense.  The first few nights on the Arizona Trail, I did have trouble falling asleep but now I've convinced myself this trail is safe, so I haven't have trouble falling asleep.

We cruised the first seven miles from Rincon Creek. Flat and easy tread made it possible to look around while hiking for once. Jackrabbits raced around in the cactus. Mountains surrounded us in all directions as we crossed over to our next set of hills.
Yucca blossoms.
More wildflowers.
Got to meet Sweettooth, a northbound AZT hiker who I'd emailed with before the hike (see his blog on Free Roaming Photography).  One thing I like about going south is getting to meet all the thru hikers, but we do miss out because we don't have much time to talk when we pass people on the trail. Hope to run into you again someday, Sweettooth!

At La Selvilla Picnic Area, we rinsed our socks at a spigot, while bees circled around the cast off wash water. After so long in the trail, I may be dirty all over but keeping feet clean is a priority.
Hanging my clean laundry from my pack to dry.
Set in a canyon bottom with big old trees, the stone picnic area was built by the CCC.  It would have made a sweet spot to camp had the timing been different.

Arrived at La Posta Quemada Ranch in the heat of the day. After picking up our resupply box, we sorted food on the veranda as we charged our electronics. I wandered around the visitors center reading displays about Collosal Cave, fossil vampire bats, and local CCC history. The little library was full of nature guides so I finally got to read about all the incredible things we've seen. The ranch would have made another excellent place to stay, but I was itching to get back on the trail again. Jan and I decided we'd just do 5 more leisurely miles and camp by the next creek.
Relaxing at the La Postal Quemada Ranch.
The afternoon was heating up as sun beat down on us. I hike holding my umbrella in one hand and use one trekking pole under such circumstances for optimal sun protection, facing the umbrella towards the sun. However, Jan needs two poles to hike and the hands-free umbrella rigging doesn't work for hiking southbound when the sun is in our faces. So Jan was getting overheated.
Umbrella side-protection.
Thankfully, we arrived at Cienga Creek, a magical oasis of huge cottonwoods. We soaked our feet in the cool water and relaxed in the shade, and talked about setting up camp. Only once we got settled, trains started roaring by, blaring their horns, shaking our bones. Dang trains! No way would we get any sleep here. Time to head out!
Getting water at Cienga Creek.
But the blaring of civilization followed us up the trail. We crossed under I-10 roaring with trucks and traffic. The sound seemed to go on and on. Planes and jets passed by loudly too. Finally we got over a rise where it was quiet, or at least not as horribly loud. When I looked out my heart sank when I saw the flat expanse of cactus, palo verde and ocotillo. Nothing to hang from, not even a gully. Can you hike a little longer, Jan?   I don't know she says.
Jan hiking under I-10.
They were long miles in this heat but there was no where for Jan to camp either with the rocks and cactus. She trudged on.  Finally, there was our paradise for the night-- two little mesquite trees perfectly spaced and a flat spot for Jan. Sure there were cowpies everywhere and the bang of gun shots going off in the valley... But that was better than trains or the interstate.  We've redefined what is enough to make us happy out here.
I can't believe my hammock fits in this little spot.
Being away from the roar of civilization, with a front row seat for the sunset-- what more could you want in life?  We set up camp and watched the sky. The gun shots finally stopped.  There was a faint sound of traffic in the distance and the echo of trains rolling by, just enough to remind us of what we were NOT missing.  Instead we had everchanging colors in the sky. 
Hanging over cowpies and cactus.
What an evening to savor!  Bright stars and this big sky. Now my hammock is being swarmed by lacewings. What the heck are they doing out here--there must be several dozen all climbing over my hammock netting.  A few mountain bikers just road by on the AZT in the dark and we see their headlamps crossing up the hillside. Quite an active place, which makes me even more glad that I can curl up in my hammock and tune it all out for the night.
Front row seats for the sunset show.


  1. LoL I had a mental pic of you and Jan as Sean Connery in Indiana Jones the last crusades flapping umbrellas and making caw caw sounds. :D

    1. Our umbrellas provided us with many hours of entertainment. Oh the stories we created. We were indeed warrior women!