Friday, March 27, 2015

AZT Day 19-Mt. Wrightson

Miles 78.8 (Kentucky Camp) to 64.3 (Temporal Gulch knob)
Arizona Trail Passage 5 and 4
14.5 miles

What an amazing and varied day!  I can't believe so much happened and we went to so many cool places.

Jan and Farwalker's gear got soaking wet from camping in the meadow last night.  Once it warmed up, we spread out our gear to dry in the sun.
Drying out sleeping bags and tents.
As gear was drying, backpackers with several dogs came up the trail.  One dog walked over my down top quilt TWICE (it was well-off the trail and carefully spread out on my ground sheet).  As I was scrambling to put on my shoes to go rescue my quilt, another dog came over and started digging near my pack and sitpad, throwing dirt over them.  I stood there horrified and tongue-tied, clutching my quilt while Jan and Farwalker talked to the couple.  I couldn't believe they weren't doing anything to prevent their dogs from running around and getting our gear dirty.  Its so hard to keep things cleanish out here, and I know I can be really protective of my quilt because I sewed it myself out of really thin material and it's one of my favorite possessions.  It made me feel so uncomfortable that they didn't even seem to notice that their dogs were doing anything inappropriate.  I never know what to do in these situations because I don't want to be rude or offend them when there are so few other hikers out here.

Fortunately, the rest of the day got better, and just kept getting better.  We passed ruins of an 8 mile long water system that used to carry water for a mining operation. The trail went by interpretive signs, but Farwalker showed us some additional cool features down an unmarked side trail.  Interesting to contemplate the engineering that went into moving all this water over such a long distance so many years ago.
Santa Rita Mining and Water Company Pipeline
This trail is so varied and we never know what will be around the next bend.  Whenever we approach water, there is a game of endless speculation about what sort of paradise oasis we will find.  Will there be rootbeer floats like on the PCT?  Not hardly...  But I've been fantasizing about finding a rope swing since we started.  And guess what?!?!
Other magical finds awaited us too.  The day heated up and we went swimming in the deep pools in Gardner Canyon creek!  That's right!  We got to go SWIMMING on the Arizona Trail!  I know I say this everyday, but I can't believe this trail!
Getting ready for a swim.
Through Casa Blanca, the canyon rocks were massive and we passed through a jumble of boulders.
Jan goes through the rock passage.
After filling up on water at Bear Spring, we climbed into the beautiful Mt. Wrightson Wilderness.  As you know, I love climbing and I cruised ahead on the switchbacks, legs moving, body feeling so alive and powerful. So flooded with the euphoria of being in the mountains, smelling the ponderosa pines, and that wonderful feeling of "this is why we do it this" that is so hard to explain but so easy to find in these mountaintops.
Entering the forest.
So many trees today!  I love trees!  OMG tree today was tree heaven!  I think I must have taken a hundred photos of trees.  Happy happy!
Trees as barbed wire fences.
Trees and water!
Farwalker loves trees too!
We crossed over the saddle and then descended on our way back down again.
Down, down, down.
Down the dirt road.
We stopped to camp on high knob with incredible views.   And I tucked my hammock into a more sheltered spot off the ridge where Jan and Farwalker set up.
Farwalker says let's stop here, the sunset will be awesome.  And it was!
Shadows crept across the valley.  Then stars came out. Then the sliver moon and owls.  Finally the wind died down and I slept soundly after such a happy day.
Watching the light change to pink on the far mountaintops.


  1. I'm glad your day got better, I love dogs but if not well trained they tend to scare off the wild life. Love the pic of you on tree swing :D

    1. I agree it's not the dogs themselves, it's totally how they are trained.

      The tree swing was such a blast!

  2. Wow, what a beautiful section! Love it!

    Bummer about the dogs! I would have said something, you aren't being rude, you are informing the hikers they are being rude and bad dog owners.

    1. Yah, next time I will try harder to speak up. Never know if it will help or not, but guess it's best to try.

    2. Maybe they'll read this blog post and gain a better appreciation.