Friday, March 27, 2015

AZT Day 18-Santa Ritas

Miles 90.2 to 78.8 (Kentucky Camp)
Arizona Trail Passage 5
11.4 miles

After the rain last night, we stuffed soaking shelters into wet packs and headed out before sunrise. It was so cold that by the time we hit the trail, my toes were already frozen numb from cold, dressed in all my clothes including down puffy rain pants. Once again, not what I expected for Arizona.  But then again, we should be used to that by now- the Arizona Trail continues to be ever-changing and diverse, and nothing like our preconceived notions.
Back to using the umbrellas for sun-protection.
Our legs felt heavy as mud stuck to our shoes. But oaks and the tall grass glistened with water droplets, and the air smelled alive.
Mud-crusted shoes and rainpants.
The rolling hills got steeper, the oak trees more gnarled and massive.  Farwalker knows these hills, having lived here so long and done endurance horse racing here. She names the mountains all around us, points out old mines and wells. The area comes alive as she tells story after story.
Crusin' through the rolling hills.
Water sources in Passages 5, 6, and 7 are from cattle tanks, so not as good as some of the other places we've been been where there are streams.  We compared density and color of algae in the stock tanks. At mile 88.1 the faucet in the corral was on-nice we didn't have to drink some of the other options.
It's already lemonade-colored. Yuck!
This algae has an interesting color.
Ah, clearish water.
Kentucky Camp is a historic site with rental cabin, nice caretaker, water faucet, pit toilets, and informative displays. We relaxed in Adirondack chairs on the covered wrap around porch and watched the rain fall while the sun shone.
Kentucky Camp.
While we chatted with the caretaker and two northbound hikers, Farwalker's husband arrived with pizza and beer---he's such a jewel!
Pizza from Farwalker's husband.
Then we set up camp in the meadow out past the gate. The sky was full of color at sunset, then the stars came out.
My hammock and Jan's tarptent.
I can't get over how wonderful this day has been. I love hiking with Farwalker and Jan, and love to be out here absorbing it all. Such a contrast to a few days ago when I was so antsy and itching to do more miles and frustrated with all the stopping and breaks. I really thought I wouldn't be able to go this pace, which is much slower and fewer miles than what I normally do.  I thought that it was going to drive me crazy. But something snapped in my brain and I'm feeling less antsy.  Maybe also it is that I take time in the mornings to cruise on a few uphills to get my heart rate up and endorphins flowing. Or maybe it was the zero day when I saw my parents and grandparents and everything they are dealing with and it brought it into perspective how short life is and what things are important. Whatever it was, I'm glad I made the mental shift so that I am able to be so happy hiking with my two friends out here.  I know I learn more by being around them. It wasn't easy to get to this place, but I'm so glad I finally got here.  I wonder if it will last?


  1. Nothing lasts. Enjoy each moment.

    1. That's so true! Really important to keep this in mind all the time.

  2. Lemonade colored stock tank water..... Yikes!

    1. The next water source was thankfully better so we ended up dumping it that time. But the pothole water we had earlier in the trip was actually darker colored even than this. Wish I'd gotten a better photo of that one....

  3. The ebbs and flows of the trail seems to match our desires for more or less miles, breaks, beauty, ascents and descents. Your grannie is right, nothing is the same, life is not stagnant . . . one of our lessons is to adapt and most importantly learn to turn lemons into lemonade!