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.

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