Arizona Trail Passage 9
Made it all the way through Saguaro National Park, a gorgeous stretch of trail, climbing up into oak and then pine conifer forests above 8,000 feet with creeks running everywhere.
|Climbing with the sunrise.|
|Pine forests above 8000 feet.|
|WOW! A douglas fir cone!|
Today ended up being Ladies Day on the Arizona Trail-all the Arizona Trail backpackers we met were female. Met Sandpiper who had spent a sleepless night in terrible winds at Manning Camp. Then ran into Twix, Salsa, and Olive Oyl. Yay for the ladies of the Arizona Trail!
Had lunch with Jan at Grass Shack Campground. We had a permit for the night there but it was too early to stop so we decided to hike on past the border of the park to camp. Note to future AZT hikers that Grass Shack would have been much more sheltered and a better campsite than exposed Manning Camp- it's not always this windy, but better not to take a chance.
As we dropped down all the way to 3000 feet, we passed through many different landscapes. Down by the saguaro cactus, the sunflowers carpeted the desert floor.
|A wildflower garden along the trail.|
|Jan in Saguaro National Park.|
This section of trail was in great shape with good switchbacks. Stonework on the trail made for good footing and tread-obviously a lot of work went into constructing this part of the trail which made it a pleasure to hike. However, signage was very confusing. Signs didn't say which way the Arizona Trail went at junctions. I was glad I had GPS tracts and maps on my iPhone (via the Gaia app). Also, signs were oriented for northbound hikers, further confusing routefinding. Jan and I both independently missed the turn at Quilter Trail and instead started heading down to Madrone Ranger Station. When we backtracked we realized that we'd missed the turn off because the sign was off the trail facing the other way. Once again, we were glad to have the GPS tracks of the trail on our phones, as well as sense enough to keep double checking our position.
The afternoon heated up and we found a sliver of shade along the still flowing creek/drainage (at waypoint 9-015). We took off shoes and walked barefoot on the rocks. A slice of paradise!
|Mimulus along the creek.|
|Jan sets up her tent while I relax in my hammock.|
|Another great hang. Another great day.|