AZT, Grand Enchantment trail pass 16 & 17

AZT, Grand Enchantment trail pass 16 & 17 3-2010

AZT Pass 16 & 17 AZT (Arizona Trail) & part to the Grand Enchantment Trail seg 3

 Started off as Nancy inching her way through the AZT, ended up calling it Glenda’s Big Girl Hike! Fun 3-day 2nighter. Starting at Picket Post shuttled by Nancy’s sisters, Carol & Maxine that were heading to Thompson Arboretum a mile down the road.
It was a 80-mile from Phoenix so got a nice start on the day. Beautiful scenery, wildflowers, & lots of water. The trail was one of the best & only got better till about the 10-mile marker. There were crews flagging, & building on the hillside, by passing the 4 wheel drive rd in the near future. We had a lovely camp & a cool evening. The next morning we started in hiking in more my type of territory, rock cairns & questionable 4 wheel drive roads & a bit of what I call Billy Goating. That is about the time the tune changed in Glenda’s 1st real backpack. The bit of quiver in her voice asking if we were doing a Big Girls Hike & not a beginner’s hike. We tried to explain that the AZT changes frequently & never really knowing what the changed are. This was to be about Nancy inching her way through the AZT but got changed quickly. Glenda’s knee started to feel sharp pains going down hill, as we’ve all experienced this sometime in our career of hiking, we did the normal, Advil, knee brace, & rest for 5 minutes & off again. We told her rest with elevation soon with trail ale would do the trick. We stopped ½ mile from the artesian well, but to our delight we got more than a good campsite. Three UTV’s were ready to leave, after nice conversation; we got more than brownie crumbs! They gave us banana’s, strawberry’s, lunchmeat, dip & vegs!! To boot, one guy’s mother made homemade zucchini muffins that we saved for breakfast! We thank you boys for the special treat. Glenda was desperate knowing she only had 4 oz of wine left so she asked if they had any wine or beer in the ice chest, with dismay they did not. We remarked they were the healthiest male eater we’ve seen! After they left we made it to the creek for our feast! The buzzards were migrating through, saw many animal prints but only saw a rock squirrel,  The next morning was a relaxing one, as Possum would meet us at the Artesian Well for our shuttle home. We did 20 miles, & yes it was a Glenda’s 1st Big Girls Hike!

Upper Horrell Trail Head to Picket Post

3-14 through 3-19 2009      Upper Horrell Trail Head to Picket Post

Nancy, Connie, & Judy

 3-14-09 It’s spring & we were all ready to do a big hike. Since my goal for years was to do all the trails in the Superstition’s it was my chance to do the 4 miles from Fire Line Trail to Oak Flats. Connie had done the Spencer Trail with me yrs ago but couldn’t remember it, good thing as she would of not gone. This was all new to Nancy, what she didn’t know wasn’t going to hurt her.

So off we went with hubbies dropping us off at Upper Horrell, south of Roosevelt Lake. We made good time getting up there, as we started at 10a.m. Sunny to partly cloudy in the 60’s.  The hike skirts around Reavis Mt School, a beauty spot of heaven! The trail starts off quite nice, follows Campaign Trail & creek, eventually gets rocker & more difficult. It was warm so glad to see clouds coming in. A comment was made at 1 point if we didn’t know better they looked like thunderclouds. Beautiful green, lot of water but next to no wildflowers but a flock of Robin’s flew over. We came to the y of the Fire line Trail & Campaign Creek. A large nice fire ring. A couple just stopped with their 2 dogs, we continued on the trail about ½ miles. We found a nice camp spot across the creek & by this time no blue sky & while we were sitting up Conies new REI tent there was a crack of thunder, which was a shock, no prediction of storms! We finished cleaning up, firewood etc when it started to rain. Good time to check out the interior of the tent. Nancy brought cheese, crackers & the cutest shot of liquor in a bag she bought at AJ”S, Wow what a treat! We had covered the wood so after about 45 min it had cleared up so had a nice campfire & evening.

 3-15 Woke up in the 30’s some ice in our water bottles. Connie slept cold, but she brought no sleep wear top & ¾ air mattress, she had nothing under her feet, of course we gave her a hard time of bringing a pillow but no trail ale or warm evening wear. From this point to Oak Flats we only averaged 1 mile an hour. It was a rocky, steep trail, with some cat claw, but we had time so enjoyed the fresh air, Sycamore trees, creek & by now more wildflowers. Once we got to the fence line it was down hill from there. Once we got to Oak Flats someone left a fire going with a log in it, very disturbing. I went to look for Spence Trail, Connie made several trips to the creek to down the foolish mistake on some ones part. We found a lovely sandy spot for camp. We are trying out a new water tablet that Fred Gaudet told us about called Aqua Mira, Nancy sent for them as we could not find them in Phoenix, this certainly makes water duty a snap.

3-16 Once again we had ice in out water containers, so the fire felt good!  Not a maintained or used trail we knew it was going to be a long day, & that it was. It is one of the most beautiful Superstition hikes, if you can handle the bushwhacking, cat claw, & scarce amount of cairns. I’m thankful for my GPS, but being off even 3 ft & weeds up to your waist or brush still makes it hard. We did our best for the next hikers to build the cairns a bit higher or break a branch once in awhile. There was lots of water in Spencer Creek, waterfalls & again beautiful large Sycamore Tree. By the time we made it to Rd 650 I calculated it took 1.5 hrs per mile. It was a 1-mile on 650 to Reavis Trail, which is part of the AZT. We were happy to see a well-maintained trail! It is now 4:30p.m & the 1st spot that we find water will be camp. We bee lined it quickly the next 3 miles making a joke doing 3 miles an hr which took us most to the day on the other trail, we occasionally glanced at more wildflowers going down in elevation, we even came across a tinajas Spanish meaning large earthen jar.  My sites was looking out for water, I’m sure Sirena (a gal from Tucson hiking the AZT) ears were ringing as she hiked this passage the week before & had told me water was every where, we laughed as everywhere-where?  At 5:30p.m.  I walked right by a 3 ft Western Diamond Back Rattlesnake; the 2nd hiker Connie let the canyon know it was there. It had time to coil, rattle & strike her boot; she said it felt like a tap, all at the same time. By the time the 3rd hiker Nancy came by it was so camouflaged it took her minutes to spot it, although that rattle never stopped. I had to do a “Get A Way Snake Dance” with my hiking stick around a boulder to get her through.  Thank goodness we found water at 6p.m. with frogs croaking, & mosquitos! We camped on a huge slanted boulder as there was no other place to camp, but that was ok as we were ready to settle down for the night. Once 8p.m I took a P.M. Tablet & went to sleep, yea a good night sleep for the 1st time in a couple of nights.

3-17-09 Happy St Patty’s Day! Wegreeted the morning with green ankle bracelets, Irish stickers; it was going to be a great day! By 11:30a.m.we came across another Rattlesnake about the same size of the day before but this time he was smart enough to rattle all the way to the bushes! We were happy to see Whitford Canyon with all the water, wildflowers, cardinals & large Cottonwood trees. It was very hot day in the high 80s, we camped near Barnett Camp an old rock house that included 2 huge boulders for the 2 sides, & rock every where else including window frames but no roof. Nancy brought green rice crispy treats for desert-yea, I brought Irish whisky, so we had an enjoyable evening!3-18 We knew it was going to be another hot day so we got started at 8a.m., lots of wildflowers & the scenery of Picket Post was unbelievable! We stopped off at a large Saguaro to put a pick ribbon on it for pictures. We reached picket post at a good time, almost to early, but we cleaned up as much as possible with a damp cloth, clean clothes & off for a cold beer at Dos Hernandez. The bartender was telling us about the day before how a guy came in a laid a headless rattlesnake on the bar & started to skin it. We continue on to the Mexican restaurant a block east of there to have lunch then on to Superior to see what shopping we could do. We made a nice camp near Picket Post as we were meeting up with the Old Back Country Hiking Club the next morning. 3-19 By 10a.m.7 of us, Hal, Marilyn, Al, Jack, Linda, Nancy & I were hiking the AZT south of Picket Post, the higher we got up the more flowers we saw, including a desert tortoise. We stopped at the dry creek bed where we went down the Riverbed a few feet to the area Orphan Boy Mine was. Jack & I hiked to a hole above the creek to fine a great mine with a ladder, and a wheel going down to a shaft, then horizontally was another shaft, it was pretty exciting as we both wanted flashlights to go farther! But we ended up turning around & going back the same way we came. I picked up a thistle to show the group a great desert celery plant to eat. We then made our way to Dos Hernandez for Mexican Food, made it home by 4 p.m. A great 5 days! Umbrella came in handy for rain & sunHiking sticksAqua Mira tablets REI Tent worked well with 2 doors Oh I don’t want to forget the rice crispy treats, was a treat!

Superstition Hike from 1st Water

Superstition Hike from 1st Water

Superstition Hike from 1st Water –2nd Water, Boulder Trail, Calvary Trail, Marsh Valley to Dutchman back to 1st Water 2-28, 29, 2009 58 degree’s to 91 degrees, 16 miles, Nancy, Connie & Judy  Warm day at 6:30a.m. was 58degree’s, took much longer to get thru Phoenix even though it was a Sat due to freeway closed down in 2 different areas. A great day when we started with seeing puddles & then creeks with flowing water, as it’s always a big concern in Az.

Our route started at 1st water, then through the very green lush Garden Valley Trail, then of course got rocky & bouldery as we approached Boulder Creek & the Calvary Trail. It was a good work out for Connie’s new repaired knee. Would like to camp in this area sometime as water was really flowing much more than normal but always seem to soon to stop, maybe going in on a afternoon sometime to get settled, then next day scout out the area to the south. We did have lunch here, as it was beautiful but not many wildflowers or shade, but the water flowing was mesmerizing. We hiked out the short but steep hill of the Calvary Trail to Marsh Valley which Nancy was more that happy to see. It was 8.1 miles found a really nice campsite about ½ mile from Dutchman Trail; it took 6 hrs to do the hike. A nice way to do the Superstitions & enjoy it. Beautiful evening, creek at ear distance, nice fire, & sliver of a moon with Venus bright as ever! We didn’t bring a rain fly or a footprint & worked out well. We did have 2 young boys hike thru looking completely exhausted as we chatted thru our airing out laundry! 3-1-09 Warm a.m., because we only had 1 night to enjoy camp we decided to spend it there till about 11a.m.before heading back to the truck. So we brought projects & enjoyed the morning. Hiking out on the Dutchman Trail means going over Bull Pass, (it always brings back memories of my 1st hike into the Superstitions with hubby). We passed some horseback riders on the top that took a short cut to the south to Black Mesa that I would like to do sometime. We made it back to the truck in 5 hrs a warm day of 91 degrees, but thank goodness a cold beer with chips was waiting for us! This would be a good hike to take walking sticks & even an umbrella. Judy

Coronado National Memorial to Miller Peak

Our road out of there!10.6 miles round trip


It was unseasonably warm for this time of the year. We didn’t get started till 10am, & of course all up hill with lots of garbage on the way. Every time I go up these Mts I wish I would bring a huge garbage bag to fill up. We saw no one as we climbed up, but we did talk a lot just in case some one wanted to hide before we got to them. The trail I figured would be better in parts, but was still quite rocky. We made it to the top of Miller Peak had lunch & started our beautiful hike down. The sun was just perfect to hit the Mts, bushes etc to make beautiful pictures. We heard voices so started to talk louder, but here it was runners, making us feel pretty wimpy as they ran up hill. We reached the bottom right about sunset 5:30p & headed off to meet Colleen Hunt & Barb Bayless for a great meal at her place. Great pic’s don’t forget to check them out.

Mormon Lake AZT Rendezvous


9-26 through 9-28 2008  (Photo’s)

We were able to get 8 of us together, for our 1st AZT Rendezvous. The AZT & volunteers did a great job of putting it all together. Chili, & dessert we all brought turned out well with entertainment from Madam Mattie Brown from Jerome, Az.

Introducing some of us that finished the trail. Sirena, which I had been keeping track of her hike was there with her family. Also meeting Dave Hicks, Tenzing a thru hiker, stewards that were so helpful when we were planning our trip this spring.

Sat was breakfast again furnished by the AZT Asst, a bird walk, exhibit from the Adobe Wildlife Exhibit, a hike to Navajo Springs & Terry Woolston  “Tenzing” put on a lightweight backpacking class. He & Kyle finished the AZT 2 weeks before us at a much faster pace than we even dreamed of, like we said many times “ doing the AZT the leisurely way!” Supper furnished by Mormon Lake. (Which I have to say they did a super job) & entertainment by Gail Starr. Finally after all these years was able to meet Dale Shelwalter, looks just like his pictures & a few more hikers that came in.

The weather was perfect, hundreds of elk out in the dry lake, bugling most of the night, what a way to go to sleep!

Sunday morning was a leisurely one, had coffee & returned home by noon.

Allan Lake to Utah, Northern Section, 250 miles

4-26-08 Allan Lake to Navajo Springs, 7 miles

Ronnie drove us to our starting location close to Allan Lake.  Judy and Connie started hiking around 10:00 am.  It was a lovely hike in the aromatic forest of pines.  The aroma was strong do to the dampness.  There were patches of snow around but nothing that would hinder the pleasure of the hike.  Walking on pine needles was music to our feet.  The dirt ponds were full and looked clean compared to southern Arizona.  We were entertained by a heard of elk running by the edge of the forest and ravens cawing.  We could definitely feel the stress of breathing in the 7500’ elevation.  At Navajo Springs we set up our campsite on top of a hill overlooking the meadow and stately white aspen trees.  It was picturesque with the snow close to the concrete troughs that was the central focal point of the area.  We strolled around the area trying to figure out what the troughs would have been place for but could only imagine, maybe mining or cattle.  There are 8 large troughs, in a large U-shape placement, each around 10’ long and connected by a 4” pipe.  There was also a concrete structure, appx. 6”x 6” sq. with one entrance on the top.

The spring was the highlight!  The spring water was coming out of a 2” metal pipe with wonderful tasting water.  This was our kind of water duty.  With more time on our hands we played with our newest toy, the varmint call.  We were laughing so hard there was no way anything would have come close.

Tea time would have been delightful but Connie forgot to pack any.  Judy brought 2 different kinds so it was an experimental combination in our 3 cup titanium pot.  While Connie was looking for her tea she also discovered that she had packed the wrong breakfast for this leg.  Judy traded one hot breakfast for a Power Bar. Oh No!  Connie also discovered she forgot a long sleeve shirt for the cooler evenings.  You would have thought she was practicing ultra-light, but then out of here backpack a jar of lotion and a 3 oz. tube of sunscreen!  She did put in a hooded sweatshirt so she should keep warm anyway.

Our evening campfire was short lived.  We wanted to make a small fire using only small branches and twigs but due to the dampness it spit out fire balls that put holes in both our therma-rest pads, Judy’s hat and wind-pants.  We tried to repair our Therma-rest with duct tape with no success.  We were able to keep warm throughout the night anyway.

4-27-08  Navajo Springs to Railroad Tank, 13.4 miles, 32/60’s

Beautiful morning! 34 degrees when we started hiking.  Many meadows with elk, deer and coyote to keep us entertained.  Along the trail there were placards to give us great history lessons on the remaining railroad tracks that we were following.  The railroad started in the area around 1907 but this area was started in 1923.

We hiked through Double Springs Campground close to Mormon Lake.  This would be a terrific place to come back to.  The Mayflower Spring was running through the area also.  The out-house had its usual smell but there were spigots to get fresh water.

We arrived at full Railroad Tank around 3:30.  A beautiful meadow behind us and pond in front with a lonely Mallard Duck greeted us.  We tried our new MSR hydro-filter but after 2 gallons it plugged up.  L

Just before supper 8 elk came down to drink at the tank.  Many more came during the evening to keep us company.  Great entertainment!!

4-28-08, Railroad Tank to Marshall Lake, 14 miles, 13/72 degrees

To Judy’s surprise, her mat stayed inflated!  However, Connie’s was still flat.  At 13 degrees she stayed cold most of the night.  All our water was frozen except the couple of bottles we kept under the vestibule that was slushy.

It warmed up quickly to 36 degrees by 9:00am when we started hiking.  Still following the railroad ruins for a few miles we arrived at Hwy 3 where Ronnie was to leave us a gallon of water. But apparently he didn’t find the right culvert.  However, we did find 4 gallon containers under another culvert and was able to get enough water to sustain us till we could get more.

The terrain changed once we past Hwy 3 topping out on the plateau.  It was very open with pinion trees and juniper.  All the lakes and tanks were full that made it all delightful to hike by.

Our lunch break was at Horse Lake where the frogs croaked a song, nice Pine trees for shade and great butt rocks.

As we were hiking a Pronghorn leaped across the terrain in front of us.

After 14 miles we arrived at Marshall Lake in time to set up camp.  We found an established campsite that was very unkempt.  Lots of garbage L but with a little effort we had it cleaned up so we would be comfortable.

It was a must that we get water but Marshall Lake was not an easy place to get it.  It had around 50’ of muck around the edges.  We had to settle with what we got which wasn’t a pretty picture.  Our MSR filter could not be back-flushed and so we settled for pouring the water through our bandana and using tablets.  This water tasted awful!

4-29-08, Marshall Lake to Flagstaff, 14 miles, 42/72

It was warmer than expected last night as it only got down to 42 degrees.  People drove by at all times of the night.  Some drove way too slow for our comfort and kept us on edge all night.

The scenery changed to high pines and sandy washes near Fisher Pt.  Walnut Canyon was beautiful with its wind swept high cliffs in shades of pink.

With the awful tasting water from Marshall Lake and no other water found on our way to Fisher Pt. we decided to continue hiking to Flagstaff where we were staying with Rachael.  She wasn’t expecting us till 4/30 but was gracious to let us come early.

Taking a detour to head toward Flagstaff we bush-whacked a little ways only to find a very clean and organized camp with a distraught, postal, 6 year Navy bashing, psychotic, paranoid man, named Theodore.  With only long-johns and boots he told us his life story.  As Judy had her hand on her Pepper Spray and I had a good hold on my walking stick we heard his stories of how he did not like people and particularly women but said that we were ok because we were menopausal and he had sympathy for us and instructed us not to take HRP because his mother had died from the side effects.  We heard horror stories of the Indians in the area that had come up there to beat and assault him.  The police had arrested him twice for camping in the forest and took all his guns away. (Thank God!!)  He was a druggie from 1973 to 1986 during which time he had joined the Navy and only had high regards for Ronald and Nancy Reagan who helped him get off drugs.  His life’s ambition was to get to Greenland or Switzerland where he thought life would be easier for his type.  As we were trying to walk away he was advising us to beware of crazier people than him throughout the forest.  He was still talking as we were walking away.  This was our first experience with a wacko.  Yikes!!!

We stopped at Circle K on the way to Rachael’s to pick up a hot dog and chips for dinner.  We arrived at Rachael’s around 4:00pm. and didn’t have much time to visit as she was off to school at 6:00.

Judy called Possum and found out that there was a fire at the X-10 Campground near Tusayan.  After some research we now know that the fire is where we are to hike in a week.  FR 303, 302 and one other one is closed and that is where we want to go.  Hopefully, all will be safe in the area when we get there.  We do have a plan B if the area is blocked.

4-30-08, Rachael’s House, R & R            Spent the day doing some R&R, washing, packing & repacking our backpacks with supplies we had left here a couple weeks ago.  Tried to make our packs lighter but only managed a pound or two.              Had dinner at Stromboli’s, downtown Flagstaff, great food! Later went to Peace Surplus, located across the street from the train depot to get Connie a new Therm-a-rest.  Judy decided to get a patch kit for her Therm-a-rest.  She bought the Big Agnes patches just in case.  However, duct tape seemed to be holding. Later she tried to apply the patch but with no success, should have left the duct tape on. 5-01-08, 33/56 degrees, 7 ½ miles, FR 522 to Lew Tank, elev. @ Snowbowl 9250’            Got an early start this AM so we could get to the trail in good time.  Stopped at McD’s for breakfast and then drove to Shultz Pass where we decided that perhaps we should drive a little further in case we needed extra time to get through the X-10 fire area and we were told that we may need an extra day to get our permits to go through the Grand Canyon.  Started hiking at FR 522.  Two deer were there to greet us.  The walk up Snowbowl Hwy. Was beautiful, about 5 ½ miles.  The change in altitude made us huff n puff a little.  At Snowbowl we put the gallon of water that we had cached earlier in the month in our packs.  We weren’t sure if there would be water in the area but there was. Snow was still on the ground in places but was easy to walk on.  Fell through in a couple of places up to our mid-calf.  Aspen was in groves everywhere.  This would be a great place to come to in the fall when the leaves are changing color. Judy tried replacing the Big Agnes patch with a new one….no success.  It was only a pin hole but we couldn’t get it to stop leaking.  Apparently you can’t use Big Agnes patches on a Therm-a-rest pad.            Set up camp inside the dry Lew Tank where there wasn’t so much lumpy deer grass to cause an uncomfortable night’s rest and the wind wasn’t as bad either.  Had a nice fire but it started popping like the one at Navajo Springs so we weren’t going to chance it again with Connie’s new Therm-a-rest or have it get out of control so we put it out and went to bed. 5-02-08, 22/62 degrees, 7 miles, Lew Tank to Kelly Tank            Very cold and windy last night.  Judy’s pad is still flat and Connie couldn’t get warm in her –5 sleeping bag.  Seems to be a bad draft through the zipper.  Neither one of slept very well.  Down the trail by 8:30am.  Snow in places to our hips but was still hard enough to hold our weight.  Saw 2 coyote.            There is 6 miles to bushwhack from Snowbowl to Kelly Tank.  We followed the National Forest Boundary signs for a while and then came to a cliff covered with snow.  Oh S_ _ T!  This can’t be the way……  Looking for options, we found a path that appeared to not have as much snow.  Maneuvering through the trees we finally made it to the dirt road below.  I just don’t think this will be the future route of the AZT.  We later found out from Tom (Silver) that you can follow the Boundary signs and gradually get to the dirt road.  Where was he when we needed him!            At the road there was another stand of aspens where we took a morning break.              Met a man named Al, who was driving down the dirt roads scoping out the route he would be taking 6-2-08.  He is a marathon runner and will be running from Snowbowl to Phantom Ranch all at one time!  86 miles!  Good luck Al!  (We are such wusses)             Arrived at Kelly Tank early enough to clean the area up.  People who come in cars to camp seem to be the worst about taking there trash with them.              This was another place we had cached h2o and food.  5-03-08, Kelly Tank to East Cedar Tank, 22/65 degrees, 13.4 miles            Nice day to hike!  Most of trail was on dirt roads.  No wildlife except for 2 hunters on an ATV.  We didn’t realize it was turkey season.            It was just after we collected our next cache that Tom Conover, aka, Silver, caught up with us.  He had found Judy’s bandana 1/10th mile back where we had lunch.  He was the first AZT thru-hiker we had met on the trail.  We thought it was terrific that he had come all the way from West Keys, Florida to do the AZT with just a 13# backpack (-water & food)!  Just amazes us that people can come in and do these long hikes with very little planning. We know AZ pretty well but we still plan out our trips.             Of course, Tom was glad he found us.  We were able to show him that you had to turn left at the intersection (the AZT goes right) and go about 2/10th of a mile to get to the water tank that you can get fresh water.  We also told him at Lockwood Tank you have to turn right at FR301 (the AZT turns left here) and go behind the dirt tank to get to the metal water tank that has fresh h2o.  He was happy and commented that no matter where he hikes he finds people that are happy to share good information.  Gave him a couple Protein Bars to help him along (and to lighten Connie’s pack)              Camp wasn’t as comfortable as other places but we made do.  Coming down in elevation the temperatures are getting warmer! 5-04-08, East Cedar Tank to Power Lines, 10.5 miles            Great hiking weather today.  Could have done more miles but agreed we would stop at our water spots.  Next one was 10 more miles.            Uneventful, and a little warmer today which suited Connie as she enjoys the warmer weather. Found a nice campsite off the AZT with lots of wood for our fire.  However, with the wind blowing constantly we forfeited the fire and left the wood for the next camper.              Judy was able to get some watercolor painting done and Connie worked on word puzzles and Suduko.              The area around the Power Lines has beautiful geodes and quartz.5-05-08, Power Lines Lockwood Tank, 10 miles, 33 degrees this AM            Flat terrain on this 10 mile section. To our surprise we did find the h20 we had cached over a year ago and had forgot where it was.  We left it on the AZT for other hikers/bikers.  The closer we got to Lockwood Tank the more young bulls we encountered.  Also saw lots of Pronghorn sheep. We decided to make camp at the old bunkhouse located on top of the hill.  Nice fire ring with ¼ of a 55 gal drum with a door that kept the fire contained and radiated nice heat.  Didn’t feel comfortable to sleep inside the bunkhouse due to the potential of pack rats but having the shelter there felt nice. The area was cluttered with tin cans and trash so we took time to clean it up and made the inside of the bunkhouse look a little more homey by adding some woman touches, like putting an old iron on the table and a few decorations on the shelves.  We would recommend staying here.Took our clothes down to the tank for washing and filling our water bottles. This tank is located in the opposite direction of the AZT.  It’s located on the opposite side of the dry Lockwood Tank. We had cached food here so it was nice to see what morsels, such as sardines, crackers and WINE, we were going to have for dinner.  5-06-08, Lockwood Tank to Russell Tank, 14 miles, 37/57 degrees            Woke to the sound of light rain this AM.  Down the trail by 7:30.  Clouds all around but only a sprinkle.  Made real good time to Moqui Station where we had cached h20 and food.  Thunder & lightning was all around threatening to dump on us at anytime so we decided to continue on leaving 2 gallons of h2o at the trail post there at Moqui Stat.  Connie’s boots are beginning to really hurt her.  The inside by the toes are beginning to collapse causing blisters and lots of pressure on two toes.  Laid down for a while and listened to the thunder.  Never did really rain but it was coming down in buckets all around us.              Judy went investigating Russell Tank.  Really nice campground with toilets and small lake.  Locals seemed to know about the area because they were there fishing.  The Russell coral was preserved by the 1906 Act to Beautify America.  Must be an archaeological site.  Able to get cell site so we did our broadcast to our friends via the voicemail.              Connie still has too much weight so we through out the laundry soap she was going to use at Grand Canyon and cached some protein bars here for future use.5-07-08, Russell Tank to Grandview Lookout tower, 13 miles            Great hiking weather! Really blue skies!              Followed the rim most of the day, great views but could smell smoke from the X fire.              Saw lots of different birds and butterflies.              Stopped at Grandview L.O.T where we met Kathy & Roger Hoffman.  Great people!  Roger works for the Forest Dept in the Lookout tower and Kathy takes care of the 1936 cabin.  She invited us in for some tea and then surprised us with a peach from Yuma and a big bowl of Indian Bean Soup!  It was so good.  It had peaches in it too.  Sounds strange but it was very good!              After taking full advantage of their hospitality we set off to find a campsite in the area. Kathy told us that she and Roger were going into the Grand Canyon Village to get a shower as their water had not been turned on yet.  Should have been turned on 2 weeks ago.  They offered us a ride into the village and after discussing rather we wanted to walk through the X-fire burn area or walk down the highway or take a ride, we decided a ride would be just great.  That way we can get a jump on getting our permits to get down the canyon.  Coming in the back way to the Canyon there are no gates to come through so it’s free admission!              This area has a big problem with dwarf  mistletoe.  Many trees are dying because of it.  Not sure was action is being done to prevent or destroy it.            Got a nice tent site at Mathers Campground, next to the showers and close to the Village for shopping. $6.00 each a night.  We had the campground pretty much to ourselves during our stay.  Showers were $2.00 but included a towel, no soap.05-08 through 05/10/2008            It took several days to line up our permits.  First day at the back-country office: get a number so you can get a better position in line for the next day.  Next day: get another number so you can get even better position.  It’s not like this all the time but that was the situation when we were there.  We were trying to spend 4 days in the canyon so we would come out on May 15th when the North Rim opened and Colleen was to meet us with our supplies.  One at Indian Gardens C.G., two at Phantom Ranch, and one at Cottonwood C.G.  Because we wanted Phantom Ranch reservations we had to go to the  Bright Angel Hotel Lobby .  We were able to get 2 reservations for 05/12/2008 and one for 05/13/2008. This is really getting sticky!  Going back to the Back Country Office we discussed with them what our plan was and Lon, an employee, helped us make our trip happen!   In our spare time we checked out all the history, gift shops, and did our laundry.  Shuttle buses are FREE!!!   05/11/2008, South Rim to Indian Gardens with side trip to Kaibab Plateau, 40/95            Took our time this morning because we are only going to Indian Gardens.  Highly recommend staying here!  Beautiful covered camp sites, accessible water, and beautiful red rock mountains to look at.  Took the 1 ½ mile walk out to the Kaibab Plateau.  Well worth the time. h2o at the end.             This evening, a deer took up residency in our camp.             After 150 miles doing southern AZ and now 150 miles in northern AZ, Connie’s legs hurt doing downhill.   05/12/2008, Indian Gardens to Phantom Ranch, 7 miles, sprinkled in PM            This is a great hike!  Took time to look at Beach/Toilet. Nice place to soak your feet.  Note on toilet said to pee in the river…..can’t win!              Arrived at Phantom Ranch in good time and then took rest by the Sycamore tree close to the cantina.  There we met Father Neil Brave, (nick name).  He was with a big group of guys that were doing the Colorado River.  Father Brave was a very quiet man but his attire said a different story.  He was wearing hiking shorts, leopard skin silk PJ pants, and different colored painted toenails. After some conversation we found out that one of the river runners was suffering from severe constipation and the trip was on hold till some meds came down on the mule run or his friend had a BM.  The story about the toenail was quite interesting.  Seems the group had a previous bad trip and when they came on shore an old gentleman, about 80, told them he could feel their bad karma and that he could help them.  Advising them to paint their toenails different colors seemed to make a big difference so all subsequent trips required all members of the crew to paint their toenails.05/13/08 Phantom Ranch

Woke this AM to big puddles, 6” of snow at South Rim and even more at North Rim.  Mule runs were cancelled due to snow.

Took a hike to Clear Creek Plateau.  Could see the snow accumulations at both rims.  Hope it’s gone by tomorrow.  We both wished we could have stayed at Bright Angel Campgrounds.  Very nice accommodations.  It was noisy in our dorm with people going to the bathroom all night and most people getting up at 4:30am. Met Wolverine Bob, a friend of Father Neil Brave.  He said his friend still hadn’t had a BM.  We learned later this evening he was aerovaced out.Ranger’s talk was fun, Jeopardy game.  Learned a lot!  In the evening he did a talk about the bats.  Interesting too. 05/14/08, Phantom Ranch to Cottonwood C.G., 6 miles            Got up with the 4:30am alarm, breakfast at 5:00am.  Great breakfast: scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon, peaches, juice & coffee.              This is really beautiful hiking!  Follows a raging river down narrow paths with bridges.  Also took detour to Rainbow Falls.  Best place to take a shower!              Arrived at Cottonwood around 10:30am.  Wished we could have kept going.  Privy was really dirty with no toilet paper and camp sites had ants.  However, it was the day before the North Rim would open so could be no rangers have been here yet.  Spent the day water-coloring and Stickdoku.  Really pretty terrain but boring.  05/15/08, Cottonwood C.G. to North Rim C.G., 7 miles            The scenery along this section is gorgeous!  It’s the best of the canyon!  There were 2 areas where a rock-slide took out the foot paths and workers were trying to secure the area by moving rocks into place using ropes.  Scary job!             Arrived at the North Rim C.G. in good time. Very little snow was left but where it had previously accumulated it was now 5’ high.  The 1 ½ miles of flat land walking from the North Rim to the campgrounds cured Connie’s sore legs!            The campgrounds were just opening so not all the facilities were up and running.  Took a shower, $1.50 but no towels or soap.  Campground was $18.00 a night.            Colleen showed up with Pork Chops and Corn On the Cob for dinner! It was unlawful to use wood off the ground.  You have to buy it at the General Store, $5.50 a bundle.05/16/08, Kaibab TH to Boundary Line of Grand Canyon Forest, 11 miles, 9000’ elevation            Connie got up this am and made coffee, first time this trip.  Colleen brought a French Press Coffee Maker, looked a little out of place but was really yummy coffee!            This was by far the best hiking so far.  Mostly unbelievable meadows surrounded by forest.  No wildlife so far.

Stayed at the DeMotte C.G., $17.00 a night.  No showers, no water.  Should have stayed in the forest. Had steak & baked potatoes for dinner thanks to Colleen.

05/17/08, North Grand Canyon Boundary to East Rim View TH.

Chilly this am with deer in the meadow.

This hike was the best yet with snow, creeks, springs, mini waterfall but no wildlife yet.  The views remind you of the Colorado Rocky Mountain Views.  On the rim you could see the Marble Canyon, gorge of the Grand Canyon, and the Vermillion Cliffs.

Stayed at Kaibab North Rim Lodge.  $103.00 a night.  Nice room but the walls between the rooms were so thin we could hear the other party zip up their zippers.  Had trout dinner and wine on the patio overlooking the meadow for happy hour.

05/18/08, East Rim Trail to FR 205. Gets warmer everyday!  (No access for 10 miles-warm fire)

Nice morning.  Met neighbors next door from Florida headed to Tucson.

The lodge gets 110,000 gallons of water shipped in every month so we made sure we drank all our water at breakfast.  Was hard to believe they didn’t have a well.

Colleen dropped us off at the East Rim Tr.

As we came off FR611 we saw a coyote seemingly to stare at a deer.  We froze to watch the action.  The deer ran across the meadow as if in fear but the coyote never moved.  After a minute another deer came running back across the meadow right at us.  He finally realized what we were and changed directions.  Finally the coyote walked into the forest as if nothing ever happened.  Later we saw a baby horny toad and 6 turkeys.  As it was turkey season we think we saw more than they did.

At 9500’ elevation we came across sea shells and barnacles!  This was amazing!  We learned later that this area was under water a million years ago!

About 3 miles short of Crane Lake, on FR 224, we ran into Hein turkey hunting, great since of humor and born in the Netherlands.  He had his truck stuck up to the frame in mud and he was trying to dig it out with a stick. Took 3 hours and Colleen’s car to finally pull him all the way out. We all had a good laugh and a beer to celebrate.  Felt good to help someone along the way.

05/19/08, FR 205 to Jacob Lake

We could still see where the Warm Fire, 2006, had play havoc in the area but still a great forest walk.  Colleen stayed at camp till early afternoon beading and reading.

The night before we realized that we had made reservations at Jacob Lake on the 21st instead of the 19th.  Opps!  So arriving around 1:00 pm we were able to make the switch with no problem.  In fact we got money back. $103.00 a night for cabin #18 & 19.  If we ever stay here again it will be these 2 cabins or #28.  Both have a great patio with views of the forest and not your neighbors cabin.

Unable to get access to our room till 3pm we decided to drive to where Colleen would meet up with us on the trail tomorrow.  Driving down FR 248 to FR 247 we ran into shale rock and got a flat tire.  Within 20 minutes we were heading back to Jacob Lake to a private patio for happy hour.  Again a nice Trout Almandine Dinner!

The tech at the gas station said he could patch the tire but would only guarantee it for about 3 miles.  Colleen thought that was good enough till she got home……

05/20/08  Hwy 89A TH (Trail 101, Kiabab Trl.) to Winter Rd., 18 miles

This would be our longest day, 18 miles and we were ready for the challenge!  We were surprised to see that the trail went through the forest and not open country like we thought.  We left bright pink tape at the Navajo sign at the intersection of FR 248 & 247 indicating that we had been there.  About an hour later Colleen caught up with us blowing her horn as she came over the horizon. We were so glad to see her and that all was well with her tires.

Made camp along Winter Rd. at an already established campsite.  Looked like a hunters paradise.  Dead coyote and deer legs about a 100’ away.

Our last meal that Colleen brought was hot dogs and sauerkraut! It was perfect!

Slept with the tent fly off  tonight.

05/21/08, Winter Rd. to Utah Border, 11 miles

Woke up this am to a surprise rumbling of thunder.  As we didn’t have the tent fly on and we wanted Colleen to get to a better location before the rain started we scrambled to get thing picked up and put in the car.

The trail was great going through junipers.  We studied the sedimentary rock, the views, sights, sounds and smells, trying to take up time as we knew this was our last day  hiking the AZT.  We starting seeing more flowers in the first part of the day as it was sprinkling just enough for us to put on our rain gear.

As we approached the last 2 miles with switchbacks we started a slow jog as we didn’t want to be on an open plateau with lightning, rain, and hail.  The views of the Vermillion Cliffs with thunder clouds and lightning made us feel so excited.  God couldn’t have given us a  better send off for our final segment!

Colleen was waiting for us in the parking lot with our farewell beer.  The storm had calmed as we took our last pictures and signed out at the registry with sweet sorrow to our 241 mile trip.  We saw where Tom Conover, aka, Silver, had signed out on 05/11/08.           

Arizona trail A trip of a life time!

AZT Northern 241 miles 199

judy writes

AZT a tidbit from the Judy Eidson 3-8 2008 to 3-21-2008

A trip of a life time! My husband gave me full support IF I found some one to go with. (knowing I would not, he felt safe of giving the go ahead, most people have not even heard of the AZT-az trail). I had finished off all BUT 260 miles of the 807 mile trip with either Colleen Hunt, Connie Simmons, June Storment or Nancy Vail, all of us in our 50’s. This was a broken record to these girls of completing the trip. Out of blue in Sept Connie Simmons came to me with a piece of paper from 1999 about doing this trip & said she would help me complete my dream. No questions asked I took it & ran with it, a surprise to my husband! My sis, loving nature & brother a backpacker were very encouraging. None of them were here to help out with actual trip but they had a bigger job of convincing a worrier which is my mother who also lives in Nebr why I was doing this & every thing would be fine. I now have time to complete my New Year’s Resolution which will help me physically with the trip the PF Chang ½ Marathon which was Jan 18, 2008. No convincing needed Connie, Nancy & Debbie Schmel started training with me in Oct. We finished with flying colors!

Now, the real challenge, the computer, maps, & the GPS. I had the software for Nat’l Geographic Topo’s & worked with it for a couple of years, but that was before Vista. Having to buy expensive cords to work with my Garmin emap GPS, many calls to support people from both Hewitt Packer, Nat’l Geographic & also the guru of the AZT Asst waypoints David Babcock, I was on my way, but still very frustrated I need to use my laptop because by that time I had most of my work on that system. Days before I left Nat’l Geographic called to work out the rest of the problems & hopefully for the northern AZT I will not need to spend this many hrs at it. A suggestion would be to check out the AZT maps that they now have made up to see if that would work for you, it would be a lot more expensive but less trouble. The good thing I feel I know the terrain & land marks very well as much time I spent working with them. The phone calls to stewards were very helpful. They gave out valuable info, thanks to Bernie Stalmann Passage 6, & for passage 13,14, John Rendall which was very knowledgeable on other passages too. Caching was must for this area, with a wet winter chances of us finding water in the dirt & cow tanks were more promising. I had e-mailed Buck Tilton from Backpacker Magazine on the best way to purify water from cow & dirt tanks, he suggested BOTH water filter & tablets. Our new filter did not show up by the time we left, which is the new MSR Hyperflow Filter so we only took tablets & filtered with bandana, coffee filters & cheese cloth. Once you see the tanks you see why all filters are needed. In southern Az there is not a lot of running springs or clear ponds. Another important tool was AZT Asst web page started to put out 3 different sources, 1 from Fred Gaudet, thru hikers log, Dave Hicks & the last which we did not have at the time is the data pages, use all sources! The books I used were helpful, Arizona Trail Official Guide & Crossing Arizona by Chris Townsend even though a few trails & info changed they were very useful. I will probably never meet Chis or the person he talks about frequently Jake but I’m truly fans of there’s.

Now the food, if you have not done trips like this before be prepared! 21 days of breakfast, snacks, suppers & keeping the daily quota to 1 to 2 lbs. My kitchen, & dining room was a sight- wish I would of taken a picture! My husband would come home from work, would look at the mess, listen to my daily struggle & would quietly go to his easy chair which was a good thing. After a couple of days I had every thing in baggies planned to a T, laid out & organized to put in my pack & shuttle bags. Then one night my cat Abbey, which had no intent to eat my food but I guess enjoyed listening to the bags rustle had bite holes or chewed into them. I had to cook & eat out of these bags, they could not have holes in them! I was close to tears. Off to the store for more freezer bags & repacking, no sympathy from my husband he stood up for the cat! By this time I wasn’t sleeping, would get up in the middle of the night look at maps, make up more list, etc. In the mean time Connie was doing calendars so everyone would have an idea where we would be, making up 2nd maps to give to spouses for rescue purposes, & sitting up lists what to share, & running to do errands for us. 10 days before leaving Nancy Vail announced she was able to get a leave from work & do the whole 3 weeks with us. It was an unsigned agreement we would do this trip “the AZ Trail Leisurely Way” Still working 40 hrs plus a week, had to yet prepare food, & pack & yet try to train on the Mts around the valley carrying her pack to try to physically get ready & make sure her old pack was prepared. I kept telling her it all has to do with attitude. I on the other hand had planned from changing from my external Jansport which I’ve had for 19 yrs to a new internal backpack, that’s what everyone is going to, so thought it would be a good think, wrong! The week before the trip I switched back to my Jansport. No matter what REI did to get the weight up higher it was resting way to low on my lower back especially when I tried to put in extra gallon’s of water for the 2 day dry camp. My shelf on my hips work well with my old pack. I can mount my tent & clothes on the top in a stuff sack, it made sense leave a good thing alone. FYI Jansport is excellent to work with, I’ve had zippers, rips, hip belt etc worked on from the past, never a question asked & did great work. Tension was building I couldn’t wait to get started, packing my backpack was much easier than expected, it weighted around 30 lbs.

The day finally arrived, it was such a great feeling to finally get started! I so enjoyed the smells, flowers, sounds, & scenery. The calming, relaxing feeling is something I can’t really explain, other than sometimes a brainless carefree feeling. But the days with no ribbons, cairns or trails was a different story. That’s where MR. Garmin & I had to go into 3rd gear. I can truly say we never once missed our trail or destination, those sleepless nights & being prepared paid off. The side trip we took up Palmer Wash because I got bored with the pipeline was fun. Connie went into her skit of the Wizard of Oz- If I only had a half of a brain I would go this way & then if I had a ½ brain I would follow Judy, so I guess I‘ll follow Judy. I could tell there was a bit of doubt when walking in sand & I know where to turn was a bit of stress for both of them. We came to a great tank filled with water & over flowing that we would of never found if we went the other way. The great sigh’s Nancy gave always caught our attention, but started to figure out it was more of a habit.

I felt like I packed most things well, the clothes did great until we had a shuttle & we were headed to Rincon Mts & traded my non gortex boots for gortex boots. My feet rebelled them, but expecting snow I switched to the sweaty, stinky, blistering rubbing boots! What was I thinking! Gortex has not been my friend in the past! Three nights before we were in a snow storm. Never thought twice, I put baggies on my feet slipped them in my boots walked them dry & they were happy campers.

Food again I did great until shuttle person came. I had an extra bag of candy & snacks, why I put them back into my suitcase to go home is beyond me- I know oz’s count but this is survival!! I was going thru my pack adding dry creamers to coffee, sugar anything to fill the empty whole feeling. At the end of the trip I was famished. Even after eating a full big meal my brain was not satisfied. I probably ate 3 times as much a day for a week before I could eat sensible again.

The accidents that happened was the typical ones. 4 out of 5 was falls, one burn. In our 1st aid kit we planned on the typical things with a small 1st aid book which did come in handy. The cell phone came in handy for the last fall for Connie so looked at it as part of the 1st aid. We had read before no real reason to take one because next to no cell sites, in our case that was incorrect. We were able to get one about every 3rd day, which we set up a distribution list so we could make 1 call that had Qwest phone message system & let everyone know we were fine & where we were located. Connie had trialed her cell phone out to see how long the batteries would last, we never got below ½ of power.

10 items that I really used & enjoying having with me:

1. Buff- used as my hat, headband, neck & ear warmer, very seldom did you see me with out it- thanks Yvonne

2. Croc’s- my tired feet rejoiced when I put them on, they were light weight

3. Therma rest chair, oh my weary back loved it, the oz’s it weighted does not count for the comfort it gave me

4. Water tablets, makes life easy & takes care of all the crud but expensive

5. Piddle pads, no messy toilet paper, during the day & worked for padding on my burnt foot so it wouldn’t rub up against my boots

6. Duc tape, used it for everything, especially for the small nicks you get(when band-aids don’t say on) & my gortex blisters

7. Bandana’s, – used to wipe sweat, wash, filter, sit on, etc

8. Swiss army knife, everything from pulling out the stickers on my legs, to opening a bottle of wine

9. GPS, there were times a map & compass didn’t do the trick

10. Baggies- to keep me organized

3 items I could of done without:

1. Gortex Boots- sweat to much

2. Silk liner- not cold enough

3. Hiking poles – I just as soon picked up a stick. although my hiking partners loved there’s. I will be taking mine to the northern AZT do to the Grand Canyon.

If you haven’t read Connie’s journal about the trip do so.

Next trip will start 4-26 to 5-22,2008 from Allan Lake to Utah Border, Nancy had to go back to work so Connie & I will push on & do 242miles. I have done 106 of these miles, but since Connie has not we decided if we can get permits in the Grand Canyon it would be nice for her to finish it too.

Shuttle- we could of done a different system but this worked out so wonderful! I can’t express how much it meant! Thank you again to all 3 husbands-David, Possum & Ronnie, Colleen Hunt for her repeated phone calls to help in anyway she could, Judy Bender working 60 hrs a week & still able to break away to help, Bob & Heather Lemons for the shuttle, steaks, beer & having a bed to sleep in, Mike Ginder my brother n law for keeping us informed on the weather, Connie’s mom Mary to give us her bright smile. All the phone calls to wish us good luck, to many to list.

Its not the destination it’s the Journey, this truly was a journey of a life time!

don’t forget to check out the gallory for pictures. j”


ATZ South 2008 331

Enjoy where you are hiking, enjoy the company you are with & appreciate the fact that you are actually living what some may only dream about.


            On March 8th, Nancy, Judy and Connie set out to do 150 miles of the AZT the leisurely way.  Took about 4 weeks to put everything together, food, maps, steward contact for way points, and caching h2o.  We planned on doing passages 14, 15, & 16 and then 6-10 and finally passage 12.  Reading about all the thru hikers doing 20-25 miles a day we thought we would like to do it in a much more enjoyable and relaxed way.  We did Passages 14, 15, 16 (AZT) first due to the possibility of extreme heat if we did it any later.

In January and February we spent time caching 24 gallons of h2o and food about every 8 miles.  We encased all our caches with tin foil.  We found that the varmints don’t bother it when we do. When they are empty we cut an opening in the top (leaving the handle) of the jug to make it into a bowl for a spit bath and wash out some essentials.

            We left 2 notes for Sirena who was doing a solo hike for Fibromyalgia and to our surprise she did find one of them and mentioned it in her journal!  We keep up with her progress on the AZT web site.

The following is a day by day journal of our 21 day trip through beautiful Southern Arizona. We do like our conveniences such as a tent, therma-rest sleeping pad, and therma-rest chair, evening clothes and night clothes so our packs are around 37 pounds with 102 oz. of h2o for our first 11.5 mile day. 

The moon  and stars were so bright every night and we followed the big dipper handle.

March 8th,  Pass. 14, Tiger Mine-Camp Grant Wash, high 72 degrees. 11.5 miles

            Left Phoenix about 6 am. And arrived at the Tiger Mine TH. around 9:00am, 1 ½ miles north of Oracle.  We were delighted to have an overcast sky and wildflowers to start.  Poppies, Owl’s Clover, and lots of yellow flowers was the highlight.  Well marked trail and rolling hills for first 3 miles was a nice warm-up to adjust to the weight on our backs.  Just head for Antelope Peak in the distance!

The Pipeline rd. was well maintained and all the surroundings were lush and green from all the previous months of rain.  The cows and black tail jack-rabbits were everywhere.

Seldom does Connie get blisters but she did have the unusual experience of getting blisters from her GTX Vasque boots.  The inner-soul that came with the boots has a very rough texture.  Putting mole-skin on helped relieve the problem.

Arrived at Camp Grant Wash around 3:00 pm.  Glad our first 11.5 miles was over.  Nice sandy spot!  Our cache was well intact!  We took our cache pictures with actual money (cache-cash).  We had to explain this to Connie as she sometimes has blond moments. But she did bring some trail-ale so the harassing was cut short as Nancy & Judy didn’t bring any. 

Connie and Nancy brought their Native American Indian flute that Ronnie, Connie’s husband, had made just for this trip.  Playing the flute seems to bring in the owls!  They answer with every note.  Knock-knock jokes & trivia were part of the entertainment.

Down by the wash was a dead coyote and bobcat.  It looked like they had fought together and both died.  Someone had skinned the bobcat.

            The night was calm and the coyote sang us to sleep.

March 9th, Camp Grant Wash to Beehive, 39/70 degrees, 7.5 miles

            We decided not to walk the Pipeline rd. as it was somewhat boring so we took the challenge of relying on the GPS, that we have named Mr. Garman.  This other route was about a mile shorter but had about 4 miles of walking through a sandy wash.  This was tough! 

There wasn’t any cloud cover today so it seemed a little hotter but it was still a great hike! 

Got to Beehive Well around 1pm.  Our cache was found!  The water at the tank was not good.  Even the water coming out at the float was ugly.  Setting up camp was a big challenge with all the cholla cactus.  Baby cholla were everywhere!  We all got stuck and we worried about our pads getting a hole. 

There was no shade to speak of so using some ingenuity, and the tent fly as an awning, we were able to make our own shade for the afternoon. This was a necessity as Nancy brought beading, Judy sketches and water colors and Connie likes to do “find the word” puzzles and play the Native American Indian Flute that her husband made for us.  We also played the harmonica and heard more knock-knock jokes.  Great afternoon!

March 10th, Beehive Well to Freeman Rd., 37/68 degrees, 8 miles

            Easy hiking, just gradual ups & downs!  Snake across our trail but must have been too interested in sunning himself.  He never moved even when we walked over him.  About 3’ long, brown with a light tan stripe from nose to tail.  We think it was a Mexican Rosy Boa or Lichanura trivirgata trivirgata. 

This area has beautiful chaparrals, flowers and lush green.  We saw a red-tail hawk close to Antelope Peak. 

Our 1 gallon of h2o & some goodies were collected at the base of Antelope Peak.  Nancy broke out with the song, “I’m In Heaven”, when she saw that we had cached Cheeto Balls, her favorite! 

We hiked another 2.5 miles to get to where we had cached 4 more gallons of h2o with some more goodies.  Our camp was on the road that paralleled the AZT.  Nice camp-site but the cows were curious about our tent. 

Our tent fly served as our shade again today.  Tied it up to a spindly tree and then let it fall to create a curtain.  

Had enough h2o to take a bath and wash out some essentials!

What’s with the knock-knock jokes, Nancy?

March 11th, Passage 15, Freeman Rd.-Tecalote Ranch, 37/68 degrees, 8.2 miles, You will need a State Land Permit for this passage.

            Easy hike! Cached another 4 gallons h2o. We would have hiked further but just couldn’t pass up the h2o.  Had plenty of time for Judy to do her watercolors and Nancy had made all of us some shamrock earrings with her beads.  What a surprise.  We’ll be ready for our St. Patty’s day party on Saturday!  Connie worked on her pocket size “21” electronic poker game and played her flute.

March 12th, Tecalote Ranch-Water Tank, 33/64 degrees, 10 miles

            Saw another Mexican Rosy Boa today!  Let us walk right over him while he was sunning himself. 

We lost sight of Antelope Peak today but gained views of Weavers Needle in the Superstitions! 

Found shade around noon and decided to have lunch with the brahmas!  Seemed like they were everywhere.

It was in this area that we found black, 3” conduits, about 18” long buried in the ground in 3 rows.  At the head of these 3 rows were a stack of rock, like a cairn.  We couldn’t figure out what it was suppose to be.  Any ideas?  Let me know.

Hiked to the Lone Palo Verde tree where we had cached 4 gallons of h2o along with some food. We wanted to camp by Ripsey Wash so we went on.  The trail was somewhat awkward with the extra 11# of h2o & food. There was suppose to be a spring at a tank but was only a trickle.  Going on we found h2o further down the wash.  Only level camp-site would have been in the wash so we set up camp right on the trail.  It was in this area that Military jets flew over about 500’ above our heads!  Had to hold our ears! WOW!!

March 13th, Rimsey Wash-Gila River (Kelvin-Riverside Bridge), 44/77, 11 miles

During the night when Connie had to go to the bushes her back went out.  Probably from the extra 11# of weight we carried.  We didn’t distribute the weight evenly in our packs, so it could have put some extra stress on her back.  Took 800mg of Ibuprophen.  Seemed to help a lot!

The evening before we had made a pothole to collect the trickle of water in the wash.  Had enough to clean up before heading to Gila River.

The trail was easy to follow with carines.  Looking at the direction we were hiking it appeared we would skirt around Big Hill but as we got closer it was apparent that we would have to go to the top.  We couldn’t believe our good fortune!  The entire side of the mountain was blanketed with Poppies, Lupine, Daisies, Scorpion Flower and others.  Unbelievable!  We had never seen so many flowers!  Took about 25 pictures!

As we crested the top we had views of the Superstitions and to the NE was the Asarco Mine.

About 3 miles from the Gila River, Nancy fell on a washed out road.  Her pack went 1 way and her knee and bottom went the other way.  After a good rest period and some 600mg of Advil she was (somewhat) ready to go again.

Had cached 3-16 oz bottles where the wash and Florence/Kelvin Rd. came together.

We stopped to get a gallon of water from the Gila, used a water tablet to purify.  This is another place that our empty plastic water jugs came in handy. We had cached 2 gallons of h2o along with some wine close to the Railroad but the extra h2o made it nice to have another bath. As we drank our wine and prepared for our bath a train came down the track right by our camp.  With camera in hand we made the hand gesture for the conductor to blow his horn.  He did!!!! 

We kept our campfire small as we didn’t want to upset the residents.  The night was peaceful. 

March 14th, Passage 16, Gila River to wash, 3.5 miles from Battle Axe Rd., 7 miles, 48/80 degrees

Nancy’s knee was very sore but seemed to be ok as long as she was moving.  Every time we stopped, it was time for more Ibuprophen.  Connie’s back was fine by now.

We slept very well without the tent rain-fly but everything was very damp when we woke up. 

This portion of passage 16 was very strenuous!  We had an extra day planned for the entire leg and was glad we did! 7 miles doesn’t sound like very far but in rugged terrain with no trail it felt like 20!  Using ways points provided by a thru-hiker and following pink ribbons we started out.   2 miles down the railroad tracks we exited at the trestle/bridge and made our way through waist high grasses.  When the ribbons seemed to stop we spotted a large cairn in the direction of our way-point and gave up on the ribbons.  Bad idea.  Once at the top of the hill, the cairns stopped.  Thick cactus was treacherous to maneuver through.  We picked up more cholla cactus in our legs and shoes than we have anywhere else.  Umbrellas came in handy at rest breaks!  Went back to plan A to follow ribbons.  Some were in the trees and some on sticks and sometimes they seemed to go in different directions.  Relying on Mr. Garmin and some ribbons we made some progress.  Gila Monsters & rattlers were second to concentrating on pink ribbons.

Several areas we had to rock climb to get by and one place we had to take our packs off and lower down the rocks and then do a little rock sliding on our bottoms.  We were very happy to see the old power line road covered with loads of wildflowers to make the climb a lot more enjoyable.  At the top of the hill we came very close to the high-powered electrical lines where a loud low roar emitted due to the wind blowing through them.  Eerie!  You can see the Gila River from here.

After 7 miles we were exhausted and decided to make camp at the wash.  Connie was very dehydrated and exhausted.  We really could have used more water to start this section.  She went to bed at 7pm. 

March 15th, Wash to Battle Axe Rd. 50/68, 4 miles

Getting up at 6:30am, we had a leisurely morning with small fire, tea & Zone bars.  Started hiking around 8:30am.  Was only 4 miles to Battle Axe Rd. where our shuttle was to meet us.  The hiking to Battle Axe Rd. was easy but mostly in sand as we followed the wash. 

We had 2 gal. of h2o cached at Battle Axe Rd that was a welcome sight!  We drank as much as we could hold, took a spit bath with the balance and worked on our little projects as we waited for our shuttle to come at 1:00pm.

Judy B. and Possum were right on time with chips & beer and all the makings for a fantastic St. Patty’s Day Celebrations.  Colleen was to meet us at Catalina State Park where she was holding a campsite for us.  As we came to the gate at the Park, Colleen was coming out.  With some talk we found out that she had not got there till late and that there wasn’t any campsite left.  After much confusion we found that she had in fact got the last spot even though they had not reserved it for her.  Whew!  Got the last one!

We took a wonderful shower and washed out some clothes and repacked our backpacks with the stuff we had given to Possum in Phoenix to bring.  After everyone was cleaned up we had a supper St. Patty’s Day party!  We had hors-overies of all kinds, KFC chicken, corned beef, coleslaw, cheesecake, chocolate cake & Irish Coffee!  What a terrific day! 

The wind started blowing around 10pm and continued throughout the night.  A storm-front was moving in.

March 16th, Passage 6, Oak Tree to FR 231.  42 degrees

            Woke around 6am to find the weather a little unsettling.  Very chilly.  Ran the portable propane heater to keep warm for breakfast.  Possum brought breakfast burritos.  Colleen had to leave early.  We could see snow beginning to fall on Mt. Lemmon.  OH-NO!!!  We would be there in just a few days!

            Possum drop us to where we were going to start, the Oak Tree Canyon.  However, when we arrived it started sleeting!  OH-NO!  Connie was cold so she got her backpack and through it over the fence.  Just wanted to get started, it was too cold!  Nancy, said OMG what are we doing & who made this decision?   So all the backpacks went back in the truck and had him take us to FR 231.  We retrieved our cache and made camp.  After collecting wood the weather became just too cold, windy & started to hail.  We made home in the tent.  Our tent is a 3 season tent, (late) spring, summer, & (early) fall so the thought of big hail or lots of snow worried us.  It rained for a while and then turned to huge flakes of snow that just kept coming.  We spent the afternoon and evening beating the snow off the top of the tent, beading, playing the harmonica and singing, “Do Lord, Oh do Lord, oh do remember me!”.  Keeping warm became a big concern.  We put on just about all we had, then came the big black garbage bags, and then the sleeping bags. Once we had banged enough snow off the top of the tent it created a wind stop.  Everything became more comfortable then.  By 8pm there was about 4” of snow on the ground with 8-10” around the tent where we had banged it off the top.  It was so beautiful!  The desert was blanketed in snow!  What an amazing sight!

March 17th, FR 231 via Hwy 83 to mile marker 49.1 to Blacktail Tank, 5 miles, 39 deg.

            HAPPY ST. PATTY’S DAY!  Up around 7:30 to clouds and 39 degrees but seemed much warmer.  All was calm and beautiful with the snow.  Only had 5 miles to hike to our next cache.  Weather was a little chilly but doable. 

            We hiked FR 231 to Hwy 83 due to the snow on the cactus and no trail.  Just couldn’t see enough of the cactus to avoid getting poked.  However, once on Hwy 83, it was more dangerous than the cactus.  Not much room for error on that road.  At mile post 49.1 we took the road that goes to the Blacktail Tank. 

At Blacktail Tank we had 4 gallons and some food cached and rather than worry about the 40% chance of rain we stopped here for the day and did our projects watching cloud formations come and go, but not a drop of rain.

March 18th, Blacktail Tank to N/O Sahuarita Rd., 9.8 miles, 31/62

Clear skies and brisk this AM.  Started around 9:15am.  Trail started off very good.  Had to find the trail that goes around the tank first.  Once we found that it was smooth hiking.  Thought the information that we got from the steward was that the trail was done but only 2/3 was complete.  The beginning and ending was complete with the middle still to do.  This middle section was high in the hills in thick cactus and then it was ribbon to ribbon.  Very strenuous!  Connie fell twice hurting her knee. Saw 2 kids on the trail just doing a short hike.  First people we have seen on the trail in over 85 miles.

Our campsite and cache was delightful.  Our food cache had some nice treats that we enjoyed right away! It’s funny how we all sat around like small kids waiting to see what was inside the food cache! We got to camp early with no wind so we decided to start a fire and heat some water for a nice warm (spit) bath!  First on this trip.  OMG, we found bruises in unreal places!


March 19th, Passage 7, N/O Sahuarita Rd to EL Bosquecito Campground, Colossal Cave Mountain Park, 10 miles, 43/75

Woke up this morning to either a wild dog or young coyote barking and howling at our tent.  We laid very still till it was gone.  Don’t want to know what it was but it sure startled us! 

Very easy hiking today.  Only had GPS waypoints after 3 bridges.  We took the road that paralleled the railroad then took the gas pipeline and picked up the AZT.   After reading our pages out of the AZT, The official Guide, we realized we should have gone through 2 fences but we didn’t see any markers.  Probably either way would have been ok.  Arrived at El Bosquecito Campground around lunchtime.  Water out of a spigot!  Took time for washing our hair and rinsing out some stuff.  Strange plant formations in this area… two different trees we saw large prickly-pear cactus growing!  Not off the ground…off the tree!  Very interesting!  Saw a Cardinal and other birds. We took a picture of the 3 of us showing we had reached our 100 mile marker, Yea!!

March 21th, El Bosquecito Campground to Passage 9, warm am/88pm

Warm morning but very pleasant.  Started a fire in the well-built park fire pit.  Lots of coffee and hot chocolate.

Ronnie, Mary & to everyone’s surprise, Connie’s cousin, Bob showed up around 9:30am to shuttle us to Saguaro NP.  They brought us some McDonald’s breakfast burritos! YUM!  In Phoenix we had packed a box of new supplies for Ronnie & Mary to bring for our trip.  After repacking we realized how heavy our packs would be for 10 days.  Must have weighed 40#!  We were concerned about the weather as it had been so cold and snowy just a few days earlier so we had cold weather clothes and 10 days worth of food. 

Arrived at Grass Shack Campground around noon.  Wonderful weather!  Running creek to soak our feet and a private pit toilet.  (There was a huge wasp nest in the center of the ceiling) Took a bath with the creek water too. 

About 2pm, Amanda & Liz, on Spring Break, from Massachusetts, coming from Manning Camp came into camp.  Delightful kids!  We talked about their adventures and we told them ours.  These were the only backpackers we had seen so far, in over a 115 miles

During the day we did our projects and visited.  No campfires allowed so it was early to bed.

March 22, Grass Shack to Manning Camp, 8600’ elevation, 4 hard miles!

Left Grass Shack at 9:15 am.  4 miles of very strenuous uphill hiking.  There are 125 continuous steps to start your hike.  Gained about 3000’ in elevation.  This was a beautiful part of this passage.  Stopped about every 200’ to look at all the scenery and get our breath back.  Arrived at Manning Camp around 1pm.  Took Site #3.  Best one on the mountain as far as we were concerned.  Bearbox, concrete and rock fire pit and close to the private pit toilet.  Just 50’ from our campsite was a huge rock formation that overlooked the valley below.  Being at 8600’ elevation it looked like we were at the top of the world!!  Gorgeous! 

The hike down to the creek was a bit far.  We had to take two trips to get all the water we wanted.  Saw White Tail Deer both times.  Made it worth the trip! 

We spent the day doing our projects and chasing the sun around.  It was chilly but was perfect in the sun.  After sunset we had a beautiful fire!  We all had a hard time sleeping as the wind blew hard all night. 

March 23rd, EASTER, Manning Camp to Outside Saguaro NP, 6 miles

Wind was still blowing hard this morning so we spent time in the tent talking about Family Easter traditions.  Judy, carrying on her tradition, hid some Easter delights in Connie & Nancy’s sleeping bags.  “The Easter Bunny visited this morning, girls”, she said.  Nancy and Connie looked at each other with a little bewilderment and doubt.  Judy said, “see if you can find what he brought”.  Nancy & Connie were so surprised to see that she had planted, in our sleeping bags, a bag of Easter Skittles for our Easter treat!!!!  She also gave us pictures she had water colored on the trip.  The subjects of the pictures were of places we had visited on our trip.  She is a terrific painter!  She also gave us a personalized card she had made at home and a bookmarker to mark this day.  What a surprise Easter! After the sun came up the wind quit blowing and we got ourselves together and had a small Easter Sunrise Service overlooking the valley below.  Nancy sang a song and said a few Bible verses and Connie said a prayer.  This will always be a time we will remember.  It was so special!!

We left camp around 11:15am.  Hiking uphill was not what we expected.  We thought we were at the top.  We finally started downhill.  Saw lots of White Tail Deer and large spots of snow.  There were also a lot of downed trees on the trail.  The weather was perfect for hiking! There was water at Italian Spring.

We were trying to get to a riparian area that was suggested but we never seemed to find it. We stopped at a small stream and thought we might stay there but realized we were still in the park boundary so we went on.  Came across 2 guys walking their dogs and they told us about a place about 1½ miles further.  We left the Park boundary and hiked down hill for what we thought was 1½ miles to find a small creek.  Not much of a camp site though. The tent, fire and creek were so far apart. We had already set up camp when the 2 guys went by and said that we stopped about a mile short of the creek area he was referring to.  We weren’t going to tear down to move.  (We were later sorry for not listening)  Just before sunset we started our fire.  We were running low on water tablets to purify our water so we decicided to be boil our water in a 3-cup pot.  That’s a lot of boiling for evening super, breakfast and next day’s drinking water.  After the water boiled, we had to let it sit for a few minutes before we could pour it into our plastic bottles.  It was dark when Judy had just pulled the pot off the fire and got up to get something and returned only to put her foot right in the boiling water!  Quickly we got her Croc and sock off.  She was burned but not as bad as it could have been.  We poured cold water over her foot and then put some burn ointment on it.  (Shouldn’t have done that.  She should have gone to the creek and soaked her foot first).  She went right to bed with a bandana and plastic bag around her foot, & a p.m. tablet to put her to sleep!

March 24th, Passage 10, Flat Spot to The Lake, 6000’ elev., 30’s/70’s, 10.5 miles

Woke to unbelievable conditions early this AM!  Last night the wind started blowing shortly after bedtime. Around midnight Nancy got up to collect all our laundry.  It was scattered everywhere but all was found, except black leather gloves.  The wind was so forceful that at times the tent seemed to fall overtop of us while we lay there.  Glad we didn’t stay at the location we had considered earlier that day…we would have been in real danger. 

Breakfast was a zone bar and coffee made under the vestibule.  It was just too windy. It did calm after the sun came up. 

Started hiking around 9AM with an extreme drop in elevation.  About a mile from where we camped was the riparian area, (Italian Trap TH) we were hoping to find the night before.  Bummer!!  It was a beautiful area with clear running water.  We filled 3 qt. bottles and added tablets to purify.

We got to The Lake around 3PM.  This is a beautiful spot!!  Took a bath with the mallard ducks! 

We’re finding out that we don’t have quite enough food.  Maybe next time a few more snacks in between meal times would be helpful.  We are all starting to pull our belts in tighter and thinking about homemade meals.  Nancy discovered that if she tucks her shirt in that her backpack won’t push her pants down!

March 25th, The Lake to West Spring Area, 50/70, ? Miles

We were running low on water when we got to this area.  We hiked up

 stream trying to locate the spring.  The GPS located the spring but it had a wooden box over the area.  We couldn’t get clear water because of the obstruction of the box. Unable to get water there we thought we could get water at the cistern because a pipe came from the spring to the concrete tank.  We threw our gallon water jug over the top and tried to retrieve the water. It was quite a task.  Several unplanned baths came from the exercise!  We finally used our walking stick to make the rope longer at the top so that we could clear the top of the concrete with the jug. We boiled water again tonight and good thing we did because we think there were lots of frogs crocking in the cistern! We were running out of tablets and only used ½ tablet for each quart.  We had a cell site so we called Ronnie to mail more tablets to Bob in Tucson so we would have them this Thursday when he picks us up at Molino C.G.

As the saying goes from the “Find The Word”, puzzle book, “When the water is bad, it is safest to drink none that has not been filtered through either a berry of a grape or a tub of malt”. There was also lots of little flying bugs in this area.  We put on our head bug net that we purchased for $2.99 at Sportsman.  It was very effective as long as you didn’t want to walk around or eat anything.  Very hard to see through.  It came in more handy as a water filter! 


We didn’t put the rain fly on the tent again tonight.  Weather was warm enough and looking at the stars is always nice to go to sleep with.

March 26th, West Spring Area to Molino Campground,

Had a very laid back, relaxing morning!  We didn’t need to meet cousin, Bob, till 11:00AM.  However, we still left camp around 8:00AM because of the 2 mile, uphill climb.  If this was anything like the hike from Grass Shack to Manning Camp we didn’t want to keep Bob waiting.  We got to the top at 9:30 and with an hour and half to wait we decided the best place to do that was at the top of the mountain!  We pulled out our 3 cup titanium pot, fuel, and tea bags and had a tea party with a 300 degree, panoramic view of the mountains where we had come from the last 5 days!

Bob was right on time to pick us up.  He took us to his beautiful house in Oro Valley where we had beer and chips and sat on the back porch over-looking a ravine that had so many different kinds of birds! He said Javalina come there frequently. 

One at a time we all got our chance for the shower!  We were just in heaven!  Started doing laundry and then went to Fry’s to get some stuff for our next leg of the trip. 

Bob made New York strip for Judy and Connie, and Pork chop for Nancy, fried potatoes, (Boy Scout style), huge salad and Turtle Pie for desert!  We were stuffed!!!!

After dinner we congregated on the swing on the back porch.  Bob lit the tiki torches to keep the bugs away.  The weather was perfect!  Bob and Heather, his daughter, entertained us the entire evening.  Bob played the guitar and harmonica at the same time!  Heather played the guitar too but really shined on her viola!  They both are so talented.  The evening could not have been more perfect. 

March 27th, Passage 12, Started at Oracle Ridge TH, Mt. Lemmon to Chain Link Tank

            Got up at 5:30AM.  We stopped at McDonald’s to grab a quick breakfast then drop to top of Mt. Lemmon to begin our 3rd leg at Oracle Ridge TH.  We finally got hiking around 9:15 AM.  The trail starts out with large burn area but the trail is still easy to follow.  Being so high on Mt Lemmon we were surprised at how much up-hill there was from the trailhead.  Biosphere can be seen in the distance.

It was around 11:00 AM when Connie caught her foot on a limb that came out the side of the cliff.  She fell really hard on her kneecap.  She thought she broke it but after a few minutes was able to bend her leg.  Resting for a while and then trying to hike it was apparent that she wasn’t going to be able to hike very fast.  It wasn’t too bad on the up-hill and flat areas but downhill caused a lot of pain.  Taking 800mg of Ibuprophen and then later Prednisone with no relief it was apparent that we would have to find a camp soon.  We hiked the dirt road incase we needed to be picked up it would be easier to get to us than if we took the AZT.  Going downhill on the dirt road instead of the trail, we hiked to where FR4475 & FR4483 intersected.  It was here that Connie thought she couldn’t go any further.  The dirt road looked like it had been traveled quite frequently.  However, The FR numbers were not on our map & as smart as Mr Garmin is, it also does not have that info.  We called Bob but he had the same National Geographic Topo we had.  Around 2:00 we called Ronnie and explained the situation.  We told him to pick us up at 10:00AM the next morning at Pepper Sauce Campground.  We could stay on the dirt roads to that location.  We were running out of water so we walked a mile or two further till we found Chain Link Tank that had beautiful water and a nice campsite. The tank is something to see, it’s made out of chains & round disks. It was only 3 more miles to Pepper Sauce Campground so we thought that we could do that mileage in the morning to meet Ronnie.

The campsite was really nice!  Even came with a piece of plywood that we promptly used as a table.  We ate so much tonight.  We had all that food that we bought to hold us over for 2 more days.  We had a party and celebrated our last evening on our trip.  It was only 8 more miles total to the finish our trip so we didn’t feel too bad about stopping early.  We’ll just go back some weekend and do a day hike.

We didn’t have a fire tonight so we went to bed a little earlier than usual.  Shortly after we retired a hawk or some kind of bird screeched really close to our tent.  Scary!  Guess it didn’t like us in his domain. 

Then around 10:30PM, Connie had to pee.  She reached over Judy and touched the zipper, which was the queue for her to sit up to let someone out of the tent.  She must have been in the middle of a dream because she just came unglued!  Her arms were down inside of her sleeping bag and she couldn’t get them out.  Using her shoulders and body she really put up a fight thinking something had got into the tent.  Connie hugged her trying to calm her down.  Wow, that was scary too but we all had a good laugh when everything calmed down.

March 28th, Chain Link Tank to Pepper Sauce Campground, 3 miles

Left camp around 8:30AM, staying on the dirt roads, hoping Ronnie may have seen where we were on the internet and come to find us.  The 3-mile hike was so beautiful!  Arizona Sycamore and Oak Trees were the norm with lots of flowing creeks. Saw a couple mines.  We thought we may come back sometime to investigate.  There are several really nice campsites along this road, some for large groups too. 

We arrived at Pepper Sauce CG exactly at 10:00AM.and had hiked 150 miles total!!!!!

Ronnie & David, Nancy’s husband, drove into the campground around 10:20AM.  They had been driving around the area since 9:00AM and had driven down the road we came on but hadn’t gone back far enough. 

After a beer and a picture we headed to Don Juan’s Bar in Oracle.  This was our original stopping point for a hike so we had to go there before heading home.  They have a nice patio area, however, it was a little chilly.

March 29th, News

Found out today that shortly after we left Pepper Sauce Campground a rabid Bobcat had come into the campground and had bit the camp host.  Today it had come back and bit a person that was camping.  March 30th, the Game and Fish destroyed it.  We heard that there had been 5 cases of rabid animals in the area this year.    


Robert Frost: Two roads diverged in a wood, I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

AZT Rogers Trough to Roosevelt Lake

Rogers Trough 003

Rogers Trough to Roosevelt Lake 11-15 to 11-18 2007
29.7 miles
Water Sources from trailhead:
Junction Fire Line trail small running in creek with watercress 7.5 mi
Reavis Creek near corral by Reavis Ranch 8 miles
Pine Creek 10.8 miles

Walnut Spring 12.5 miles
End of trail 119 20.2 mi beginning FR 83 water trough dry cached 1 gal
Beginning trail 120 21.2 mi cattle trough full, cached 1 gal water
Cottonwood Creek 22.7 miles running with watercress
Cottonwood Creek ran on & off the next 2 miles to FR 341
Junction Fr 341 24.5 mi large cattle tank filled with water
Hwy 88 29.7 mi Roosevelt Lake (visitor Center)
11-15 46 degrees rainy 10.8 mi

3 of us started on this 29.7 mi trek Connie Simmons, Nancy Vail, & I Judy Eidson. Ronnie Simmons shuttled us to Rogers Trough left Pnx at 6:15 am started hiking at 10am in 46 degrees & rain. Beautiful hiking weather, saw 1 tarantula, air very fresh, after 1 long hill had lunch & continued to our 1st water source at Fire Line Junction, but we did not stop till we reached Reavis Spring only a small hole filled with leaves so we filtered, a great spot with apple trees but no apples this year. We continued to hike till we reached Pine Creek 10.8 miles a nice campsite, but again had to filter water as very small & dirty, nice campfire, early evening.
11-16 56 degrees 6:30am, a rough 6.2 miles
We all woke up at 1:30am I had a hard time falling asleep after that. We left camp at 8am & reached Walnut Springs in 1 ½ miles. A delight to see a beautiful green spot with lots of birds no spiders as the book mentioned. The game plan was if no water was to turn back to Rogers Trough & try to get a cell site to call my husband to met us at a different location, so that worry was over for me. It took us a very long time to filter water as dirty & continued to clean filter, mine alone was 126 oz of water knowing we would most likely need to have a dry camp some place on the trail, as it was considered most difficult in the book. A wonderful surprise was 3 fighter pilots came zooming over our heads close to be upside down as we ever saw & very close to the ground! A conversation for much of the trip. The next 5 miles were slow going searching for cairns, very rocky & no shade. We got bite by many different kinds of cactus even with long pants & long sleeved shirt. We saw the canyon that was nicked name Beanie Burro Canyon, ( that sure footed animal, a burro that tumbled at this location)we all got our hiking poles or found sticks at this point. We saw more deer but not much else. Nancy was having blister problems on her feet that looked awful (I‘ve been there more times than I like to mentioned so know what she was going through! We reached the Pinion Pines area at 3:30pm, we carried enough water & decided to stop for the evening. Again a nice camp, we were ready to go to bed an alarming smoke was in the horizon. We watched it for another 40 min not sure what it was but disappeared. .
11-17 52 degrees 5.6 mi
Blue shies, warmer day for hiking. Left camp at 7:30am, going around Pinion Mt was a long rocky climb following a fence line on & off. Many times going to cairn to cairn as really no trail. Which paid off at one point as we accidentally found a Indian dwelling with Indian chards laying around, we only took pictures. We reached end of trail 119 & beginning FR83. We had cached 1 gal of water here about a month ago on a different trip, & was wondering at the time if that was not redundant as there was a large cattle trough filled with water & a float with good water. To our surprise it was turned off for the winter & was dry. We did the tin foil around the gal as we are finding out with the drought the animals are chewing through the bottles. We continued on down the steep road to trail 120 “Cotton Wood Canyon” The cattle trough at that location was full but we also cached a gal at this location also. We hiked to Cotton Wood Spring, a beautiful spot with Az Sycamore trees in full fall colors & cottonwood trees. We had our 1st bath but no camp fire as to many leaves & a breeze. We could of continued hiking farther but last known water source & husband meeting us at 1pm the next day on rd 341.
11-18 56 degrees 6.4 mi
Leisure a.m. started hiking at 10am, spring ran on & off for the next 2 miles. A beautiful canyon but now getting into saguaro’s & different types of cactus. Reached FR 341 with a water tank full of water & a good rd to hike on & only 2 atv’s we saw. Our shuttle (my Husband Possum) met us before we reached the main rd, so washed off & headed for food & beers at Jakes Corner.
A great trip, & a lot of worrying about water & terrain so was glad to knock off this leg of AZT.

4 Peaks to Roosevelt AZT

4 Peaks to Roosevelt AZT
9-28-29 2007
84 degrees/cloudy


For not the weak of heart & take lots of water!!

I wanted to get this hike knocked off the list of the AZT yet to do list, Connie was the only one available for this weekend (I’m sure she would of changed her mine if she would of only knew what was coming up)

Ronnie – Connie’s husband was our shuttle person to the top of 4 Peaks (11 miles off rd El Rosa rd ”Brown Peak” the highest of the 4 peaks. We parked my jeep down by the bridge near Vineyard trail where we would come out. We got started at 10a.m. a beautiful cloudy morning. Water at Pigeon & Shake Springs close to the top, after that only damp ground. There was some wildflowers, lots of butterflies, 1 huge centipede & an animal with a beige butt & no tail – bear??. Too far away to identify. Thank goodness we cached water 3 1/2 miles in May with tinfoil around it.  The trail was good to that point. We topped off all bottles & drank the rest, I’m now caring 152oz – much heavier than I like plus with a new pack felt top heavy & off balanced. I tried out my hiking poles but was watching the ground more that I like & was difficult with GPS & camera. The trail was over grown in spots & basically not there in places. The fire in 1996 was coming back nicely but along with it lots of brush. Once we stopped 4 ½ miles into the trip I literly rang out my headband, shoes & socks very wet. It seemed Connie never has that problem. It was obvious I needed some electrolytes as a Charlie horse came on my right thigh, we both drank some muscle ease & plugged on till 4:30pm. It was well worth it as we hit the most beautiful saddle no bigger than our tent (33deg 39’919”, 111deg17’398”) looking east we over looked Roosevelt Lake & to the west 4 Peaks. The sunset was very traumatic with wisp of clouds, purple/pink & ending with orange. We had a dry camp, knowing we only went 8miles & had a rough 10 ½ yet to go we wanted to conserve on water.  Out of the blue Connie developed a Charlie horse also, so we again drank some electrolytes except this time sqwincher in a 6oz pack that you just fill up h20 to the top, it seemed to work well. We did not put on the rain fly was a warm night 56deg; we saw the moon come up & Venus as bright as ever through the screen top.  6a.m. was up & started hiking by 7a.m. We could tell it was going to be a warm day, no clouds (in the 90’s) the 1st half of the terrain was like the last half of the 1st day, the last half was more rocky & steep. We stopped off at Granite Springs for mid morning snack, no water, just a cement tank & broken pipes. We came down a rocky switchback section & was thanking God we did the trip east bound, when we met 3 men & 1 women “Diana” going west bound with the Sierra Club. They showed us an Indian dwelling & we advised them of no water till they almost reached the top. We wished them good luck & hiked 1 more mile till we reached FR 429 where we cached more water. We only salvaged 1 gal, which was wrapped with tinfoil, animals chewed the others through, they were thirsty too! We relaxed for an hour, as it was to early in the day to stop & with limited water it was best to continue on. The Vineyard trail followed a ridge that started out good but soon came & went into ravines, then continued up a mt around a ridge till the scenery was Roosevelt dam, Apache Lake, a radio tower, & 2 herds of leaping white tail deer. We had 1 more steep decline to our jeep, what a wonderful site that was. We ended our trip by going to the Roosevelt Bar for hamburgers, beer, a Tonto Pass $6, & a shower & camped at Schoolhouse campgrounds.
I would rate this from 1 to a 10 a 7 hike & 9 for scenery.
Best think we did was cache water earlier in yr, take plenty of water & electrolytes, knee braces, walking stick came in handy for down hill, gps, & going west to east from 4 peaks.
Do different, take old pack, 1 more pair of socks, leave tent at home & just footprint & rain fly or just tent, & wrap all cache water bottles in tinfoil.