Saturday, March 28, 2015

AZT Day 22-To Parker Canyon

Miles 38.8 to 24.2 (Parker Canyon)
Arizona Trail Passage 2
14.6 miles

Woke up refreshed and energized.  The sound sleep I got in my hammock last night made up for my lack of sleep in the hotel.  Guess it makes sense that my hammock now feels like I'm in my "own bed" since I've spent more nights in it over the past year than anywhere else.
Strong old trees.
Got all fired up on the morning climb, passing lots of incredible trees.  Hard to slow down.  Fortunately I could go out in front of Jan and Farwalker and do my own pace and wait at junctions or high points.  My legs feel like they are going to explode with energy unless I hike hike hike, like my legs are some sort of wild untamed animal that need to run up these mountains.
Scared by barbed wire fencing, but still kickin'.
Rolling terrain all day.  Dropped down into canyons with pools of water including Middle Canyon and Pauline Canyon.  The oaks are turning color and Farwalker says they'll drop their leaves soon as the buds burst and new grown springs forth.  She calls this "spring-fall."
Remarkable diversity of galls these past few days.  I slow down to check out all the fuzzy galls here, and see the spider webs glistening in the dew (with cool trapdoor or funnel webs?)
Galls with trap-door spider web in background.
Ohh look how cute this one is!  I want to keep it as a pet! Photo by Jan.
Gained a ridge with views into canyons in both directions.  Amazing feeling to be able to see so far. Behind us is Mt. Wrightson where we were a few days ago.  Farwalker points out more landmarks-- Los Cabezas in the distance and the high San Rafael valley.

We camped in Parker Canyon amid big spreading oaks, near a stream with great flow.  Even with this gorgeous campsite, it's hard to stop hiking at the end of the day. My legs and body feel so strong and I long to keep hiking til dark like I do when I hike solo. I miss what it feels like to be tired and sore at the end of the day. I didn't anticipate that it would feel this difficult to do shorter miles.
Evening light on Parker Canyon creek near our campsite.
But I'm so happy that at this campsite there is a stream.   I watch as a water beetle (perhaps a whirligig beetle?) catches a fly and the other beetles chase it around trying to steal its prey.  Better than TV!  Then I try for a long time to catch the water boatmen (unsuccessfully).  Next, I turn over rocks and watch the spiders.
Spiders suspended above the stream.
I relax about the miles.  I wouldn't get to watch stream critters for hours, or take all these photographs, if I were doing more miles.  I'd be hiking and then drop off exhausted at the end of each day.  On this trip, I have all this energy to run around and explore.  So that makes me appreciative to be here with Jan and Farwalker and doing this hike this way.
Hanging from real actual tall trees for a change!
I can't believe there are only 24 miles to Mexico. I love waking up every morning outside and getting to hike all day through such beautiful and varied landscapes. I don't want this trip to end!


  1. Wonderful hang! Love your old strong trees photo and Jan's photo made me chuckle. Great writing :D

    1. Jan's got some great photos-- was just looking through them I can't wait for her to post more of them on her blog.

  2. I struggle with the same dilemma, but each trip is its own trip. I tell myself I can hike more at other times--the benefits of company are nice too. There are years and years left to hike!

    1. Thanks Mary! It is quite a dilemma, and I'm glad I'm not alone in this struggling to find the balance. That's exactly what I did- kept reminding myself that I will be able to go solo later on, that this trip was not about doing miles.

  3. Eww, some creepy spiders!

    The spider a few posts back in the water, I'm guessing it was some kind of fishing/fish eating spider? We had those in Florida, they were wacky!

    1. The spiders were incredible! I didn't expect to see so many under the rocks near the streams. Didn't know what they were, but will look up fishing spiders. I kept wanting to find salamanders under the rocks, since that's what I find in Georgia, but never did see one, just tons of hiding spiders.

  4. Thank you for introducing me to galls!

    1. Thanks for pointing that fuzzy one out!