I’m back home, back home to the un-holy furnace that is Phoenix, I have been section (also known as) Passage hiking by the powers to be with the Arizona trail founders
So far I have been unable to get a shuttle to or from the trail heads, so I just park at the trail head hike a piece of the section camp overnight then hike back.
This last piece I have done was from FR 751 South bound from the Blue Ridge Trail head 5 miles and then retrace my steps back to my truck.
5 Miles doesn’t seem like much, the issue is water, the most I am willing to carry so far is 4 liters of water it’s pretty heavy stuff! once I get better at finding springs it will increase my mileage.
Friday 2013.07.06 3ish PM I parked my truck and start my hike, immediately I notice my head throbbing and I say to myself what the hell is this, should I be hiking today? I try to remember if I have taken my morning dosage of BP meds. I can’t remember, grrrrr I think damn this could mess up my hike, I stop in the shade if a gnarly old juniper tree take few deep breaths and the throbbing goes away, it must just be excitement.
I rested up in the shade
I hike on, I feel good except for a little back pain the first few miles are mostly flat and I am moving at a good pace, then as I knew it since I check google earth, I drop into the canyon that holds the West end of
Blue Ridge reservoir which is dry this time of year.
Area Map shows the terrain here
The hike into the canyon, okay well maybe it’s more of a ravine but to me it’s plenty steep is going well I am palming the top of my trekking poles and going creepy crawly slow, the soil is firm and moist, traction is great, I smile and thank God it hasn’t rained hard today, then in the same breath I mutter that I sure could use some water puddles instead of carrying my water. (note I have a 1 micron water filter that is only 3 oz)
All along the way down I am seeing a hikers footprints and they are using every rock and stump to scrap off the sticky clay mud, it must have been a battle, every rock and stump looked like this
from the direction of the scrapes they were hiking up
The going is slow, my knees are groaning and making crazy noises and I tell them to stop complaining and that my lower back thanks them for cushioning the weight of my 12 lb pack
I am taking lots of breaks (maybe too many) and drinking plenty of water (maybe too much) and finally the bottom is barely in sight, which is fantastic because it’s almost time for my 5:30pm meds so once I get to the bottom it’s big break time: pee, sanitize, snack, rest, meds & hydrate (in that order).
gravely rock Blue Ridge in sight
Just as I crossed the gravelly bottom and started to climb the other side 3 young teenagers (the only people I saw or spoke with) the whole time I was hiking came running down the side I just came down yelling some kind of victory yell and seemed started to see me, thank God I said to myself I least they didn’t know I was there and didn’t make a YouTube video of my urination. whew!
and hopefully they didn’t see me cache 1.5 liters of
water here, I was going to need it.
I am just not going to lie, I am fat and way out of shape, the climb up the other side while not a as tall but maybe a little steeper really kicked my butt! I was very thankful that I was slow because as I crested I saw a small harem of cow elk grazing about 30 yards away, no time for a camera, they saw or heard or wait that’s it they smelled me, yep I was a sweaty smelly mess and they were gone.
Up at the top I had to go through a gate, one that was built by Boy Scout Troop 175 in 1998
I noticed as I took the photos that it was around 6:48pm and if I was correct it was going to get dark soon and I only had maybe enough water to make some Ramen or Quinoa (pronounced Keen Wa) or hike another 2 miles and try to find Battleground Tank and filter some water, I decided to stash my pack and find some water, after hiking in the dark to where it should be I just couldn’t find it, I returned to my pack having drank the water I would have used for dinner. My dinner was 2 Luna bars (for women made by women) what was my wife trying to feed me??? they were very good.
Time to pitch my new Cuben fiber 52″x106″ tarp, and hang a bug bivy under it, in the dark. I was so dead tired that it took ten times longer to pitch the tarp than it should have and I realised the bivy didn’t fit under it and being I didn’t see much bugs just went with the tarp.
It didn’t rain but it sure did threaten with lightning but no boomers and I think I fell asleep, maybe but I am awake now, some kind of small furry creature was under the tarp with me, I said “what the hell was that” a little louder than I needed to as it ran up my arm over me and out under the back end of the tarp.
the tarp was pitched half diamond.
Half Diamond or Pyramid shape (not my photo)
I almost thought I was dreaming, maybe it was just a dream, nawww it happened.
I did doze off a bunch of times but as I soon realized the Cuben fiber stuff sack diffuser night light I was using was drawing some kind of beetle about same size as Junebug to the light just the sound of it strafing the tarp and bumping into it would wake me up, it would crash into the light hit the ground then do the same thing over and over and over. I turned the light off. damn it’s dark!
Blue Cuben stuffed into White Cuben stuff sack
White photon nightlight
I couldn’t sleep very well and tossed and turned all night and into the early morning hours, then started to break camp after a breakfast of Luna bars around 3am, hiked back to where I thought the tank I was looking for yesterday should be, no luck so with no water my only choice was to start back early, at least I had water stashed.
Back into the ravine, it was fairly quick going with my headlamp, once I got to the bottom and retrieved my water I had a snack and 20 min rest break added some G2 gatorade powder to some of the water I started back out to my truck.
Here are some photos on the way out.
I made it back to my truck drinking all my water in the process, good thing I had 2 bottles of gatorade waiting, bad thing is that I spilt half a bottle on my shirt trying to find my mouth, guess I was a little thirsty.
after a quick shirt and socks change I was on my way home.