Three hikers standing on a dirt road leading to Tunnel Spring on the Arizona Trail.I hated this day, heading from Patagonia to Tunnel Spring! Well, that’s not really true. It was just very taxing. 

So, I left Patagonia and immediately bumped into Cashmere, Cookie and Tic Toc. It was fun hiking with them for the first hour. Cookie gave me all sorts of tips on dehydrating food. Not sure I’ll ever do that, but her meals sound awesome. 

The three stopped for a snack an hour in, and I elected to continue on. All three hike faster than me, and I didn’t want to slow them down. Plus, we were on a detour that added miles and I already had 18+ to log today. I needed to keep moving.

The detour was reasonably pleasant; the route was rolling hills and hiking on wide, ranch roads. I stopped around noon to filter water from Anaconda Spring, then was joined by Warden, who I’d met a day or two ago. 

Canyon Adventure En Route to Tunnel Spring

I left Anaconda Spring first, then immediately came upon a narrow, rocky, canyon-type passage with a deep pool of water and a drop-off into more water. The detour blazes went right through the water and over the drop-off, so clearly there usually isn’t water here. But this has been a snowy and rainy time in Arizona. 

No way was I jumping in that water with my pack. Plus, it was cold and super windy today. I could see people had scrambled up the left side to detour around, but it was a pretty steep climb, especially with a pack. 

I started to climb and got about 3/4 of the way up and was stuck. My feet couldn’t find any good holds. I yelled for Warden, and thank goodness he heard and came. He scrambled up like a mountain goat and helped me up.

Warden found a way back down to the canyon, and at a spot where there was no water. Phew! We were back on our way.

Climbing for Miles

I was heartened to find the next stretch was a wide, rocky road. It was reasonably flat, so I could make up the time I lost. I was doing just that Gravel hiking path on the Arizona Trail leading to Tunnel Spring.when the road began to climb. And didn’t stop until we were around 6,600’. It was so hard, plus it was even colder and windier this high up. 

The wide path switched to singletrack with lots of downed trees. I may have said I hated this part of the trail. Out loud. In a hangry voice.

Finally, the path began to descend. Immediately my spirits perked up. I met a guy from Maine (One-Step, I think) and passed Warden. Everyone was stopping to set up camp, but I had three more miles to get in.

Day Is Done

The path now was nice and flat, and ran along a rocky edge. I was enjoying my hike when it began to rain. Then there were lots of blow-downs to navigate around. I was getting really bummed. 

But the rain stopped. I ran into a guy named Worm who helped me across a deep, rushing creek. And we each found a sweet campsite. 

Tonight is supposed to be 29 degrees. Yikes! I’m wearing loads of layers, a hat, gloves, hand warmers and have a silver emergency blanket to add warmth. I’m sleeping with my filter so it doesn’t freeze and get ruined. And I took some Tylenol PM to help me sleep! Wish me luck!


18.4 miles today (plus detour miles)
71.6 miles to date
728.4 miles to go

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©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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