John Muir Trail

John Muir Trail August 13th 2013 to September 5th 2013 June Storment, Judy Eidson, Connie Simmons, Nancy Vail (which had to bail the day before the trip)

John Muir Trail

John Muir Trail

We plan and replanned for this trip, it was all worth the time, as the hike went as planned.
It took 10 hrs to drive from Phoenix to Mammoth Lakes, Ca – 600 miles. Lenny Krantz a friend that shuttle our jeep down to Whitney Portal gave us a world wind tour of their beautiful ski town.
First we decided on the amount of days we needed to hike. We didn’t feel any need to set amount of days, we are all retired, we exited out on the 21st day. We decided when a storm rolled in we would stop early. We did camp right outside of Red

2013-08-19 08.32.56Meadows(near Devil’s Post Pile) so the next day we would have a full day to do laundry, resupply & have a good meal, we did take zero day at Muir Ranch. This ranch was a delight, as you enter there is a backpackers bell that you ring to have friendly staff greet you. There was a cowboy training a colt, happy dogs ready to go with the mule packers & 2 close to 80 year olds cowgirls that could tell you stories that made you smile!

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If you have reservations you can use the private hot springs, wringer washing machine,IMG_0297 (2014_05_28 03_50_08 UTC)

& have a great breakfast, sack lunch & supper. Our supply locations would be Red Meadows , Muir Ranch and to carry 11 days worth of food! Yes it all fit into the bear canisters, anything that had a scent in their toiletry bag needed to go into the bear canister also. We did have an option to exit out at Kearsarge Pass, or get a pack animal, we decided against both. With very carefully planning it was successful!
I felt the meal planning was the most time-consuming. My game plan was to get the right fats, carbs and protein in. I dehydrated a lot of fruit, protein, brought dried salami tortillas, pita, flat bread, hard cheese, polenta couscous, trail mix protein drinks, Probars just to name a few. it all paid off!
I didn’t train probably hard enough but I had no issues nor the other girls, we only got stronger each day and when we took breaks we would soak our feet which helped me to take the swelling out of my swollen, sweaty feet. We did do is shake down in Colorado the month before for 4 days with all of our gear, clothing and try to mimic our trip. Again I felt that was helpful.
We had no problems with critters, mosquitoes or bears but we tried to do everything right. I did consider not taking bear canisters since we were told that there would be bear boxes along the way, we were so glad we did not go that route as it was not feasible. The canisters to consider are Garcia, Bearvault, and Bearikade. Many suppliers rent lightweight equipment. One that we check out was they are very attentive to your needs and deliver promptly, they also have a store out of Tempe, Az.
There are nine passes you cross,2013-08-27 14.31.40

2013-08-29 13.23.30it’s like doing the Grand Canyon each day if not twice a day but the views are breathtaking and worth every step. Some of the passes were very windy and cold2013-09-01 17.52.51

we never really knew what the weather was going to be but we lucked out as there was only one day that was a real rainy, the rest was perfect weather2013-08-30 15.29.08

( except guitar Lake which I will talk about later) there were 2 fires going on in the area, one being the Rim Fire which was a bit nerve-racking since we didn’t have a lot of details.  2013-09-02 09.24.51

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We did get up very early so we could either get over the pass early enough or stop early in the day to make a nice campsite we had no reason to do 20 mile days the most we did was 17 miles and the least 7 miles.
Some of my favorite places were Seldon Pass, Sallie Keys, Rae lakes, Upper Vidette Meadows, Forester Pass, and the best of all Mount Whitney!
We did take a satellite phone with us due to the fact that we had 2 elderly parents that we wanted to make sure we can get notified if any issues, there are only a couple phone cell site along this route of 200 miles that you can make a call. We went with a Scottsdale company called PHI satellite phone, number is 877 977 6303.
( not cheap)
Before summiting Mount Whitney we stayed at Guitar Lake, it really did look like a guitar

2013-09-04 06.49.32there was three small storms that rolled through while we were there between wind, rumbling threating clouds, rain and some small hail. IMG_0515 (2014_05_28 03_50_08 UTC)

2013-09-03 17.30.06There is no place to potty, all granite. You will receive wag bag (yep also known as a potty bag or a bag with kinda like clumping cat liter) at the ranger station when you pass through – they are a must! We started out at 5:30 a.m. the next morning with our trail family Gordon & Annie. You get to a Y before you either going up to Mount Whitney or head down to Whitney Portal,2013-09-04 09.13.34

2013-09-04 09.49.07we reach the Y approximately 8:00am. The side trip to Mount Whitney is only 1 1/2 miles,

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it is a bit sketchy and a little rock scrambling but it is well worth it if you are not afraid of heights, it was time to put on a puff jacket at 14,505 ft. The summit was more beautiful and dramatic than ever expected, you have 360 degree views.

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2013-09-04 10.00.11It was dedicated 9-5-1905 83 years ago the day we were there, and the hut was built-in 1909 which has a book that you can sign in. As I looked around and took deep breaths of all we experienced in 3 weeks, once again I said to myself – It’s not the destination it was the journey that got me there that made the trip! There is nothing like being on a hikers high!

Knife Edge On Mt. Whitney Trail

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Unfortunately, it is near this area that the trail narrows to a knife edge in a few places making it especially dangerous. People have been blown off the trail. Some have probably fallen from sheer fatigue or died from hypothermia.
This trail claims at least one person ea year. September 1, 2013, the body of Yukio Kato, a 60-year old man from Torrance, CA, fell approximately 200 feet over a cliff

from the Mount Whitney Trail to his death. The incident happened approximately 1 mile from Mount Whitney at 13,500 feet.

There is one short section of guard posts with cables along the 99 switchbacks. There is a problem with ice buildup on this section and a very steep drop off along the fence.

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Trails Camp you can get your water and continuing to hike out to Whitney Portal, which is where Lenny had shuttled our jeep to. Almost on all long trips its hard for me to leave the wilderness, it’s like a tug of war. We decided to spend one more night at a beautiful Post Camp with a waterfalls, pine tree’s, willows and reminisce the whole trip before we exited out. Guitar lake the wind was so strong that we ended up having one pole break so our last night out was made with duct tape to hold the tent together. Once you reach the parking lot at Whitney Portal you get to dump your wag bags, oh Yea! IMG_0556 (2014_05_28 03_50_08 UTC)Plus a cafe that had the best pancake that overlapped 2-10 inch plates that feed 5 of us!
People we met along the way that became our trail family ,Gordon and Annie DuBois that was father and daughter, DR Connie Ayers, Ron his wife had to exit due to altitude sickness his friend Bob of 74 yr that joined him for the rest of the trail. I was so proud of him as he kept saying I can’t wait to tell my family & friends they will never believe I did this! John & Donann that had to exit out at Bishop do to knee issues. Polite Pete a guide for High Sierra from Prescott, Az, & Don “still looking”& John Ladd. Five of us had a great celebration at the Totem Cafe in Lone Pine,    2013-08-17 14.49.28

a movie mega area. The Long Long Trailer was filmed on the road we just came down, & many more in the town of Lone Pine with the background of Mt Whitney in the background.

Numbers that may be helpful – permits 209 372 0740 or late arrival you need to notify the National Park services 209 372 0308 to hold your permit.
Tuolumne Meadows lodge elevation 8,600 phone number 801 559 4892 dinner reservations are required 209 372 8413,
At Tuolumne Meadows lodge there are tent cabins out of canvas with beds and a small stove they will furnish a wool blanket ,soap and a towel you will have a community shower / bathroom nearby.
Vermillion Valley Resort backpacker friendly which can also be used as a supply point. They have tent cabins, Motel, laundry, showers in a store that has a good selection to choose from (we never stayed or visited this location) supply location with cabins & Hot Springs.
Bus Yarts 877 989 2787
High sierra shuttle – 800 9221930
Red Meadows a supply location with campgrounds, Motel , cabins Mule Shoe cafe 800 292 7758
Packers Pine Creek, www.pinecreekps@AOL.Com

2013-09-05 15.05.15Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Peralta Master Map/ Largest Saguaro in AZ

Peralta Master Map/ Largest Saguaro in AZ

Nancy, Jane & Judy  19 miles loop 40’s to 70’s

We were to do Dogie & Sycamore Canyon but do to the cold front that was bringing in snow, wind & rain we changed our plans to Superstitions. Jane came down from Flagstaff, we had never met but knew a mutual friend & had conversations over the phone. Since she was tired of the cold & wind this was ideal for her. Jane was trying out her new Gossamer backpack, Nancy with her new Exped Synmat UL7, & I my new schnozzel bag that works with the mat. Each of us loved our new purchase & the comfort outweighed the cost. Water started to show up near Whiskey Springs, & pots here & there to La Barge Trough. It was a perfect time of the year for the cactus to be in full bloom, beautiful! Once we got to our camp Nancy found out that she wore one old Keen & one new Keen boot, thank goodness it was for the right feet! We ooed & ah’d over Jane’s extremely light weight BP. She had a Big Sky 2 person tent, mat, sleeping bag etc & all fit very nicely. I got to demonstrate how my schnozzel bag was a compression bag for my clothes & also filled up our mats with ease. It had predicted rain thru the evening so we nestled our tents in the brush/trees & tied them off as they were predicting high winds with 60% chance of rain, & it did hit, but we all stayed dry. Nancy & I had made Ray Jardine’s quilt last year for our trip to Hermit Canyon so with the new matt, my new Reactor from Sea & Summit stayed extra warm. (now we need to make Ray’s bomber hat). Sat morning we had heavy clouds a good day to do our day trip to find the Peralta Master Map. (the story behind Peralta Master Map is detailing the location of 18 gold mines but others believe they are Indian Petroglyphs) The volunteer ranger at the trailhead advised us don’t look at the springs & do exactly what the book tells us, which to my surprised after looking for them 3 other times & was able to locate them. Nancy & Jane had hiked over to the Charliebois Spring & came across 3 hikers that advised the location of another set of Pet’s back by Bull Pass, so made note for the next time. Bruce was the owner of , Cameron (wore a fun kilt) the owner of the cutest goat named Winston, he had carried in 13#’s & was in training, then Mike, & 2 dogs. They had come back after 3 yrs of caching some goodies & wanted to see if they were still there, so departed our ways & went to show the girls my findings. My day was complete, by the time we got back to camp it had pelted ice & rain & was time to find some wood for our campfire. The rain moved on & we were in a paradise of cardinals. The 3 guys was making their way back to their camp when they stopped off to give us one of their caches, yea who would ever think we would be gifted with happy hour! That night was a little cooler as Nancy did not sleep as warm, I was cozy maybe do to the reactor, Jane was fine in her tent. The clouds had lifted & was predicting a warmer day. It was fun swapping dehydrated recipe (such as dehydrated yogurt, black bean chili, super-terrific bars & spackle), & hiking stories with a new hiking friend. Never understand why people that like the wilderness has to be such slops, so I went around & picked up a lot of broken glass they shot up. Was not able to take out the cans that was left, but maybe if each hiker would pick up just one it will be cleared up by the next time they go back. We set off on Bluff Springs Trail to find what the internet is saying is the largest Saguaro in the state at this time. It is not difficult to locate, the Saguaro is Az state flower. I would like to see the 50 arms in bloom, but not sure I will be back in June. Fun by all!

p.s. Jane Jackson “Clamity Jane” & Tom Conover “silver” completed  the AT Sept, 2013 6 months to complete, yea you two!!


Get “Grand Enchantment Trail” Segment 5


Judy writes  (Get) “Grand Enchantment Trail” Segment 5   3-20 to 3-22 2012

I’m always amazed how thorough Brett “Blisterfree, the founder” is on his maps, water doc’s & website.
There were 4 of us that started out on this segment. Connie Simmons & I had gone thru this passage when we did the AZT 2008 but there was a small portion from Beehive Well south to AZ77 where the Get splits off that we needed to do. Ronnie Simmons & June Storment wanted to get involved in the GET so was a good place to start since it was a cooler week with plenty of water. Ronnie only had 2 other backpacks under his belt so this made it a nice trek for him, plus the other 2 was in a drenching rain storms, so he figured all trips was that way even in AZ. (We dodge it by a day or two.) Weather was perfect, day temps in 70’s & night 40’s, with snow on all the peaks around us. Lots of evidence of cows but only saw a few on the ridge line. Spring flowers, Owls Clover, Desert Marigolds, Fleabane, Desert Chicory, Mexican Poppy, were in bloom. Anderson Wolfberry were edible but another week will be perfect. The Kingbird, Phainopepla, Cardinals, House Finches were plentiful, spring was in the air. We camped near Beehive Well, but would consider Putnam Spring for any hikers heading to Aravaipa, there was better camping & this time of yr plenty of good water there. The rancher did not have the generator going for the windmill since there was plenty of water at this time. But do to the cattle tank getting water from the tank across from it is just a holding tank water looked bad. We used the float but so much debris came from it we finally cleared off the dead bee’s & floaties on top. We purified & boiled the water before using. Ronnie entertained us with his homemade flute, that made it sing, & went to bed with the owls hooting & coyote’s howling. Even after 2 days of rain/snow all the dirt tanks from Freeman Rd to the well was dry, very surprising. even going down Putnum Wash it was dry till we got to the spring. From there to Pedro River there were only a few puddles.
We were quite surprised with a homeless (we think) 30 yr old (James)coming thru camp late in the afternoon. He did not know if he was on the right wash & was heading to Bylas near Thatcher. After checking his map we could see why, it was just a highway map. He ran out of water that a.m. so after giving him as much water as he could drink, filling his 24 oz up, plus giving him a extra 32 oz & 2 power bars we gave him directions on how to get to Pima down Aravaipa which is the way he wanted to go. He said he had a permit, but not sure that was the case. He only had a daypack with his flannel sleeping bag hanging below, torn blue jeans & a P coat on. He was very soft spoken & thankful for what we did & gathered wood for us before leaving even after we told him save his energy & we had plenty. We all felt something was quite not right so did not encourage him to stay. This was our evening campfire discussion. I’m a very light sleeper anyway so when the truck came by with no headlight at 2 a.m. & did not hesitate to turn down Putnam Wash I woke up everyone just to say stay on guard. Well before Long Connie came in June & my tent & Ronnie slept outside to watch over everything. Well now since Ronnie had two soaking wet backpack trips & this trip he’s probably wondering why we like to do this type of sport. Not sure again what this was all about ,but we did see James one more time hiking towards Aravaipa which he did not see us, & maybe the white duel truck on El Camino Rd, all a mystery. I had found a receipt for super spackle, goo, & super- trific power bars that I wanted to experiment with before going on a 2 week trip with my brother in Sept on the CDT in Colorado. All seemed to have the right portion of fat, protein etc for a long distance hike, so will keep trying different light weight projects till then. Do to the night before we left I was so happy Ronnie was driving & I got to be the zombie in the back seat. Buzzie cafe in Kearney hit the spot before the 330 mile trip home. Great time by all.

Squaw Canyon, Superstition Wilderness 2-2012

Squaw Canyon Superstitions 2-2012
June, Connie, Judy backpacked Once again out to investigate another canyon in the wilderness. 46 degrees perfect hiking weather. & decided to go in from Canyon Lake Trail head as it would be less crowded. I had not been in from this direction for years so it was time.

We always went down La Barge Creek in the past, but do to the trail being so well define on trail #103 Boulder Canyon Trail we decided to take this route. A long exposed trail up & over the mountain so was glad to get to the creek with brush & some shade. The scenery is always breath taking with Weavers in the distance & Battleship Mt.  We stopped off at Indian Paint Mine to take a few pictures & continued on. Water was running nice & clear at 2nd water, but Boulder Creek was dry, it had snowed the week before so was a bit surprised not to see the creek running  in places only pot holes had mossy water. But you could see the land was enjoying the bit of moisture, the poppies, sqoripine weed, vetch, even the lupine were starting to bloom. I love this area with all the boulders, shadows & vegetation & less people do to them not liking rock hopping. We made camp below the Malapais Mt for 2 nights as this was the place we were going to investigate. How wonderful the shadows were in the evening as it looked bright yellow, we had a glimpse of Weavers from camp, pots of water up canyon. The first evening were down in the low 40’s but by the 3rd day we had ice on the water bottles, but quickly warmed up. Squaw Canyon was interesting as it’s the back side getting up to Peters Mesa. Found the trail up the canyon the following day which took a large part of it. We only came across 4 backpackers in the 2 days that we had camped. All so very interesting & none from AZ. Squishy “Mike” from Alaska, Carl from San Diego, which had extreme amount of knowledge of the Sierra’s so will be helpful when we take a week or more this summer out to Calif & a father & son from Maine & Mass, they were here to do a week trip to scout out the area. This was a 20 mile week end, & was not ready to go back as there is so much to scout out. We ended our trip at Canyon Lake bar & grill.

Judy’s Boot Camp

Judy’s Boot Camp

March 24-28, 2006

Day 1: Began our hike via the Peralta Trlhd, Trail 102, 84 degrees. There is a steep incline past Fremont Saddle but there was a running stream to soak our feet about half way to camp. Spent the day hiking around Weavers Needle. Some of the area was burnt. Throughout the day we saw a few day hikers but no backpackers. We camped after 7 miles behind Blacktop Mesa. June developed a couple of blisters with new boots & feet that looked like a baby’s butt, they could be on an advertisement.

The view from our campsite would be Weavers Needle. What a mysterious mountain. Nancy & Connie seemed to filter water for hours! When we started to cook our dehydrated dinners we discovered that Judy had left part of the stove at home. (OK, don’t panic. we can do this) It will be a good experience to deal with no stove. We will just build a fire and put Connie’s new $50.00 Titanium pot on it. Problem is…who’s going to hold the pot over the fire? It’s always amazing what you can fine to solve a problem. A coffee can that was left behind will serve as our “flat top stove” for the evening. Too bad we hauled fuel.

Prior to this trip Connie spent hours working on new ideas of how to make good tasting meals. First night out was Shrimp Creole! Fantastic! Directions: At home-follow your favorite recipe, (don’t add shrimp) when cooked, drain liquid into open pot. Place vegetables on cheesecloth or screen and place in dehydrator till dry. Cook liquid to a paste then dehydrate on plastic wrap in oven or dehydrator if equipped for liquids. Keep veggies and paste in separate sturdy Baggies. At camp place desired amount of paste with vegetable and add 1-1 ½ cups of boiling water and 1 pouch of shrimp-in-foil found at the grocery stores. Wait 15 minutes. Bon Appetite!

Day 2: Started the day with a cold breakfast and a cup of instant coffee made hot using our back-up Nesbit stove. Only took 1 tablet to heat 4 cups of water. Started late, 9am, hot again about middle 80’s. Still seeing Weaver’s Needle through most of the morning heading to Charlie Boy for lunch. When we arrived we found some “pigs” left all their garbage. June was developing more blisters but with more duct tape we were back on the trail. Peters Mesa proved to be the climb from Hell! The trail was steep and difficult in places, and sometimes it was non-existent but marked by carnes, very rocky, and lots of cat claw. 2/3 of the way through we had to share our water. This climb was the hardest part of the whole trip. Found an “ok” campsite on the east side of Peters Mesa. Judy had fond memories of this location when she and her husband camped there. June had more blisters. More duct tape was in order. It had been a hard 7-mile day and we just didn’t want to go any further. There were pools of stagnant water left over from the rain earlier in week. Good enough for filtering and a sponge bath. Nancy again filtered h2o for hours. We were all beginning to wonder about the time it took to filter water. Nancy was having a hard time with this trip. Seemed to be exhausted from working to hard. Connie was taking Prednozone for Planter Fascia (heal bone spur) and was feeling no pain, anywhere!

Day 3: Started a wee bit earlier 8:30am, low 80’s. Had cold breakfast and coffee. Headed to Tortilla Well. Lots of cat claw on the way. Close to Tortilla Well saw some people swimming in the creek. Knew we had to be close. The water was flowing really good here. Spent 2 1/2 hrs. doing lunch and filtering more water. Met up with some other people that were out for the day. Judy was able to give a little OJT on how to use a GPS. Headed to Clover Springs. (This spring is not on most maps) Came across a strange solo backpacker. He was coming out caring a square 2 1/2 gal. jug of h2o & wearing blue jeans? It was around 2:30pm the GPS could not pick up signal. We had good batteries and a good connection but couldn’t pick anything up. Started working the “brain cells” to follow the map. The signal did come back about ½ hour later. Cardinals are always a welcome sight when we hike and this trip was no exception. To see vibrant red among muted desert colors is really a site to see. Hiked a total of 6.8 miles today. Nice camp. Connie and Nancy took a spit-bath in the water ponds. Tried to remember the song in “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou, where the sirens were seducing George Clooney and his partners in crime by the creek but couldn’t quite get the melody right. But was good for a laugh anyway.

It’s always an adventure to backpack with Judy. She took over water duty. Said it was to give Nancy a rest and she wanted to try something different. Hidden by the thick foliage Judy filtered h2o with bandana, & used iodine tablets to purify. YUK! Not bad as long as it’s mixed with other things……like dinner! The entertainment was abundant this evening!!! Connie massaged Nancy’s sore feet and after dinner, Nancy and Connie sang, in harmony, “How Great Thou Art”. Not bad for amateurs. This seemed to cheer everybody up. Nice evening. Still needed more duct tape for June.

Day 4: We’re getting faster!!! Started out at 8:20am hiking on new trail for all. JF Trail to Tortilla Pass down to Woodbury Trlhd. This section proved to be somewhat difficult. Didn’t seem to be a popular route. There were lots of trees down, cat claw, and was very narrow. Once again steep both incline & decline but beautiful scenery! Instead of going on to JF Hdqtrs we stopped off at the Windmill near Woodbury Trlhd. June had mentioned earlier that her husband said he would come and rescue her no matter where she was so it was at this point Judy gave us the choice to “be rescued”. We stuck it out!!!!! Duct tape was becoming as precious as gold at this point as we had no idea we would be using that much. Nancy’s nose kept running so tissue was becoming scarce too. (Not good for a girl’s hike) Nancy was still very tired and Connie’s Prednozone was down to 2 pills. The total for the day was 6.5 miles. No need for filtering or iodine tablets tonight because the windmill was putting out about quart of water every 30 minutes. Just tied a bottle onto the pipe and checked every half hour. The exercise was good for the muscles only 50 trips to the well to get h2o. Mega deer droppings everywhere. June shared some trivia about 1905. 47 was the average life span at that time. (We are all in our 50’s….Not bad.) Also learned “watch your P’s and Q’s”, (pints and quarts at the tavern), the average wage was 22 cents an hour, and 95% of babies were born at home, people only took a bath 2 time a year and only washed their hair once a month. CHANGE IS GOOD!

Day 5: Woke up to rain, it smelled so good but Connie had visions of hiking through thunder, lightning and hail. We waited till 10am. It was just misting when we ventured out of our tent and stopped all together within an hour. About a mile from camp we came to JF headquarters. (The house has a JA on the front of it??? But JF on the side) This is really a special place. The house curtains were open so we could see how the inside was decorated. Had plenty of room for 8! The kitchen, dining and living room was all in one room but there was lots of space to walk around. It had an old corral, a windmill pumping water, and an old bunkhouse with deer horns mounted on the outside. Bet this place could tell some awesome stories! It was here that we got a little turned around. There was a carne to show the trail but we went straight instead of turning left. We would have found the trail but may have been more difficult. June’s eagle eye found the second carne. Taking Trail 108, Frazier Canyon, we ventured on toward Coffee Flat. The trail from JF Headquarters to Dripping Springs was through a creek bed. Creek hiking is always difficult due to ankle twisting rocks. Lots of *****-a-burs and Nancy found a dead rattle snake. Before now we weren’t looking for snakes…..DUH. Made it to Reeds Waters around 3:30pm. Judy had been there before so she knew water was waiting for us. The day was 6 miles long only to find out the windmill was not working and the trough was not full as forest service report showed! I think Judy has a water vein in her nose because she can always find water. Walking down to the dry waterbed there was a pool of water under a cottonwood tree! YEA! We had good h2o other than dead lizard floating. Using iodine tablets for cooking, dinner was a success. We filtered the water for hiking out. This campsite had lots of firewood! Saw cardinals, wrens and listened to quail trying to find a place to nest for the night. They are so adorable. Very nice camp!

Day 6: Earliest start so far 8:15am. We knew we had Miller Lites and Fritos waiting for us! Connie had a real craving for Mexican food. This was the best day we had for hiking. It was cloudy and a constant 70 degree breeze. It was really sad to realize all the Superstitions would just be a memory within hours. We stopped several time to soak up the beauty in all directions. Connie, June and Nancy spotted a rattlesnake stretched out across the trail. Thinking that Judy had placed another dead snake there we studied it for several minutes to be sure. We all took steps back when we saw its little tongue stick out and wiggle! YIKES! Good thing we stopped to check it out before going on! Saw lots of healthy saguaro’s and ocotillo. Hiked 5 ½ miles and got to Peralta Trailhead about 11:30am. Had a luke cool beer at trailhead. Didn’t take our usual “backpack with beer in hand” picture….took picture of the thing that got us through the whole ordeal……..our boots! Connie got her craving taken care of at Elvira’s Mexican Food in Apache Junction. Felt sorry for all the people at the restaurant having to smell us. Of course the bathrooms were at the back of the room so we got to share our fragrance with everybody. We got home around 3:30pm. Great Hike. Blister gal, June, is gong back to North Dakota to invest in duct tape, Nancy, who works to hard is trying to figure out how to call in sick, and Connie is trying to figure out how to make a 1/2 pill into a triple dose. And then there’s Judy who knows how to leap over tall buildings in a single bound!

Something to remember for future hikes are activities around campfire

Total hike: 38.7 miles

Tough terrain: Moderate-Strenuous

Hedge hauges were starting to bloom

Rained prior to hike

Winter: 140-day draught before rain

Water in most creeks, east side of hike had most water

Rather warm 70-85

Took summer sleeping bag/ perfect

Found out we did not need stove, but nesbit stove came in handy

can do with out water filter if needed, tablets were ok

duct tape is a must

don’t break in new shoes on any over night hikes

walkie talkies came in handy

callused feet are necessity

earlier starts are a must

lots of training to do for a thru hike of the AZT

Doll Baby Trailhead to Polk Springs – Mazatzal Wilderness

Doll Baby Trail Back Pack2-17,18,19 2006Doll Baby Trailhead to Polk Springs – Mazatzal WildernessApprox 2 hr drive from N. Phoenix- good dirt road on FR406 dead ends at Doll Baby Trail Head Day temp 62, night 28 digress 2-17 First time in this area, book indicated a good route was thru the E. Verde River if the river is down. Since no rain in 115 days figured it was down about as low as it gets. This was to be a easy 3 mile hike & a lot of scenery. Well, lets say there was a lot of scenery, but since it took us a hour a mile, not a lot of scenery was being looked at besides our feet, rocks, & water.

Extremely bouldery, no matter what ridge you tried to take to get around the boulders it would end in a cliff or dead end. Best bet was to go down the river. The problem was the mulk in places, which were above our knees. With each of us having fairly new boots{plus can’t imagine having mulk in our new boots} one decided to put on her pretty bright red croc’s the other leaving her liners on. Long story short liners were not sucked off! The red croc’s caused some slipping & sliding & now we have the butt in the mulk not once but twice! Fair warning if you get into this stuff react like it’s quick sand walk fast to the middle where there is rocks or get out. Once we got out of this terrible stuff we put on our boots & waked down the river. There was evidence of beaver in the area, Blue Heron, Western Blue Birds & yes it was a pretty canyon. We finally found a cow path that brought us to Saddle Ridge Trail that by past LF Ranch { the only ranch still in Mazatzal Wilderness}. We hiked pass Rock Springs that was flowing, then on to our next 2 night camp at Polk Springs. Which was a complete delight, plenty of wood, spring flowing with lots of watercress, birds, & a perfect tent spot. The Red Croc Gal was quite happy after having a great fire in a barrel we found & a Sugar Drop Martini at hand & a Walnut, apple, chicken salad over brown rice. 2-18 We woke up with ice on our water bags, but a lovely morning. After a leisurely a.m. we took a day hike to the north called Polles Mesa. First 1/2 mile straight up on lava rock, then leveled off. Pass Red Saddle Tank but dry then to White Rock Springs a total of 6 miles on the AZT. Had time to work on some beading to make a bracelet. 2-19 No clouds so a bit cooler, but again a beautiful a.m. Started hiking around this time the old road that pass LF Ranch on a steep FR 406 Approx 5 miles to vehicle.Good Trip, I would do the E.Verde River again as long as the river was low, except bring old water boots/teva’s, walking stick & know it’s slow going. .