Saturday, March 9, 2019

Arizona Trail Today was a day of highs and lows. 

Last night was really cold. They predicted 29 degrees. Here’s what I wore to bed: compression sleeves on my arms and legs, running tights, thermal shirt, wool socks, lightweight vest, puffy coat, mittens and a hat. My sleeping quilt is rated to 20 degrees and I put my emergency silver blanket in between. I actually did pretty well like that, although I could have used a scarf and warmer hat. Still, I slept reasonably well.

Got up at 6:15 and it was still cold. My shoes had frost on them, as did the tent. But things warmed up pretty quickly. I met two guys hiking in the opposite direction. Then I wound up and down grassy hills and, around 11 a.m., came the spot I was waiting for: Kentucky Camp.


A guy named Matt Bateman wanted to hike the trail a few years ago, but got injured partway through. He’s still healing. I think it’s an Achilles thing. So he and some friends set up this incredible aid station at Kentucky Camp. They had water, soda, beer and wine; healthy trail snacks and junk food; fuel and more. 

I scored some Smart Water, which comes in bottles made to fit Sawyer Squeeze filters, plus some beer, potato chips, a clementine, some energy foods and a Sargento cheese-and-nut-and-craisin pack! (Sargento is a Wisconsin company.)

Everyone was so nice, and they refused donations. Wow. They’re going to set up again another weekend farther up the trail. I hope I meet them again!

Oh No!

Around mid-afternoon I realized to my dismay that in my excitement at all the riches at Kentucky Camp, I’d only taken one water bottle. I really needed two bare minimum.

Luckily, I was able to score some water at a not-too-gross cattle tank, although there were lots of dead bees in it.

I had planned to end my day at the tank, but it was only 3:30 and there were no good camping spots. So I forged ahead. 


Around 4 p.m. I stumbled upon two gallons of cached water for me! I thought I’d hit them tomorrow, so this was an exciting find. Dumping the bee water, I replaced it with the cached gallons.

Shortly after, I passed up some nice camping spots, figuring I might as well log a few more miles before calling it a day. I was targeting a big wash that, on paper, seemed a good choice. While searching for the big wash, I passed lots of smaller washes with spots that might work, and almost stopped twice, but I pressed on.

Got to the big wash and it was horrendous for camping. Basically a small, rocky canyon. Now I panicked. It was 5:30 and I had to start setting up camp at 6 at the latest. 

A guy named Wyatt, who I just met today, had left a note in the Guthook app about a nice spot in 1.1 miles. I busted my butt to get there. Made it around 6. It’s not nice. Kind of rocky and lots of prickly bushes. And lots of cow poop. I learned my lesson. Take a good camping spot when you find it! (But the sunset was awesome, as you can see.)


22.5 miles 
94.1 miles to date
705.9 miles to go


©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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