Passage 5 - Santa Rita Mountains - 1-7-2017
After a a LONG break due to LIFE, I am back on the trail with the lovely Miss Carmen, my beautiful Canadian adventure woman. This passage was kind of insane, but that was my fault. This "should have" been a moderate 13 mile hike. However, I decided that we would shuttle with bicycles from the end of the passage on 83 back to our truck on Gardner Canyon Road, an additional 12 miles. When we got to the end of the trail, the actual GPS miles were 16. It's important to remember that the mileage given on AZTrail.org are from someone else's hike. They don't include side excursions or backtracking. I ALWAYS start off where I left off, not necessarily at the beginning or the end of a passage. It is important to me that my hike is contiguous and not resupplied by other people. When we got to our bikes we were pretty tired and Carmen's knee was hurting from a previous surgery. The sun was going down. Undaunted, we got Chance hooked up to my bike and hit the road. To our pure delight, the first 5 miles of the bike ride were mostly downhill. This was a great relief as darkness soon set in and we were grossly ill equipped in regard to safety lights, helmets, mirrors, etc. I was completely relieved when we made it to Gardner Canyon Rd. and off of the highway. Little did I know that the worst part of the trip was to come. 7 miles up hill (gradual, but up) on gravel, with road bikes, with full packs, with injuries. The ride was somewhere in between extremely arduous and insane. Also, temps were dropping again. We both dug deep and made it back to the truck after 12 straight hours of hiking and biking. Mountain House Beef Stroganoff never tasted so good. My GPS miles for this section were 28 (16 hike and 12 bike).
Passage 3 - Canelo Hills West - 3-17-2014
Man was this a brutal day. My ankle and hip were screaming! Since I knew I was alone, I didn't hesitate to let out old man grunts and groans at every step. I was going so slow that Chance would run ahead, lie down and wait for me to catch up. I wasn't so much worried about the pain as I was running out of water because I was going so slow and now I was over taxed. At some point I decided to dump a lot of dog food and burn a couple of books to lighten the load. Oh guess what? I forgot sunscreen and was going into full on lobster mode. My GPS actually had me moving at .8 MPH... Woo Hoo! I continued to hike until the late morning before finally stopping and making camp for a few hours to rest. If you are into gross things, check out the video of my toe nail removal. It got trashed on this trip.
Passage 3 - Canelo Hills West - 3-18-2014
I woke up early with the intention of hauling ass into Patagonia. It was only 6-7 miles away. I only had 32 oz of water left, but I was thirsty, the dog was thirsty and I had a fire to put out. I spread my coals super thin and drizzled half of the water on the fire. I stirred it up, pissed on it and covered it with rocks. I did the old hand test and every thing was good. I threw about 20 handfuls of dirt on it for good measure. I gave Chance a good drink and then I finished the water. After all, I only had 6 miles to go with a gimpy leg, a heavy pack, a dog and no water in the AZ sun. Long story short, I made it to Patagonia but was pretty beat up. I know better than to challenge the desert, but I did it anyway. Stupid. One wrong move and that desert will kill you. It doesn't really care that you have to work on Monday. I called for a ride and am now on a short break until I recover. My GPS miles for this section were 16.
Passage 2 - Canelo Hills East - 3-16-2014
After a good nights rest on a hill over looking Parker Canyon Lake I decided that I would press on. At the trail head I ran into Sirena Dufault and some of her friends that were hiking the trail as well. Fortunately one of them gave me an Ace bandage and I was able to wrap my knee up pretty well. I set off at a relaxed pace and felt pretty good. The trail went through some rolling hills with high grass, warm air, blowing wind and a beautiful sunset. I hiked off and on throughout the night resting when tired, getting back up when cold. I slept for a few hours beside a hot bed of coals. My GPS miles for this section were 18.
Passage 1 - Huachuca Mountains - 3-15-2014
This was the official start. I started the trip on 3 hours of sleep. No bueno. From the visitor center at Coronado National Monument, I had to travel to the parking lot at Montezuma Pass. From there, I had to hike down the hill a mile or so to the border and then back (I wanted to make it official). I then started up Crest Trail, 6.5 miles straight up to about 9500 ft. At mile 18 the first day, I hurt my knee pretty bad and literally limped the rest of the night until I made camp. The Huachuca's remind me a lot of Flagstaff minus the epic view of the vast desert expanding out towards the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico. My GPS miles for this section were 23.
Passage 4 - Temporal Gulch - 5-2-2014
After some recovery, I headed back to Patagonia to pick up where I left off. I was greeted by law enforcement the night I arrived for slowing down at an intersection on a completely lifeless street. 12 flashing lights, license registration insurance, the whole nine. I explained to him that I was down for the weekend to hike and was unfamiliar with town. Then the officer asked me if I was carrying a firearm. I reflexively answered yes and that I had my concealed carry permit to which he replied, "Oh, I'm not worried about me, I'm worried about you and where you will be hiking." Wonderful. I found a nice little room at the "Stage Stop Inn" and crashed for the night. Oh, no ticket!
Passage 4 - Temporal Gulch - 5-3-2014
The first thing I had to do was hike the 2.5 miles I hitchhiked from when I was hurt on the previous trip. This was really 5 miles due to backtracking. I left all of my gear at the hotel and headed out with my loyal Springer. It was an easy walk on a country road with the sun coming up over the mountains. We only saw three vehicles on the road that morning and they were all Border Patrol. Oh, and one giant bull that wouldn't move. We made it back to town, gathered up the gear, snorted some coffee at the "Gathering Grounds" and took off for the trail head which was 7 miles NW of the hotel. It was a peaceful walk out to the wilderness. We saw heaps of lizards, horses, cattle, a giant hawk and spent some time chatting up an old rancher. After about 19 miles of hiking for the day, we found a cozy spot up in the hills and slept underneath the stars.
Passage 4 - Temporal Gulch - 5-4-2014
After literally 12 hours of incredible sleep, we broke down our small camp and hit the trail. We were good on water, but not great. Water is the absolute toughest part of this hike. Fortunately we hit "Bear Spring" when we were down to 2 liters of water. Chance took a good drink while I filled and treated 2 extra liters. I should have taken more, but it's always a fine balance between weight and water. Then again, it's a fine balance between life and death. Lol. Actually, I felt pretty safe because I had just made cell contact with my buddy and he was on his way to meet us with plenty of water. We made it to the end of the passage, met my buddy and shuttled back to the other car in town. I was starving and couldn't wait to get home. So much so that I goosed the throttle a bit too much and got pulled over again. This time I got a speeding ticket. My GPS miles for this section were 28 (including backtrack).