Large cactus plant on the Arizona Trail near Saguaro National ParkToday I was so excited to be headed toward Saguaro National Park. The day had such promise! Sigh.

Sandy made me oatmeal with blueberries, plus coffee with heavy whipping cream. Pure bliss! Then she got me on the trail around 8:15. The day looked to be a good one: 19.9 miles, but mostly flat. Yes!

The morning passed pleasantly, as I meandered among lots of prickly pear cactus. Around 11 a.m. I hit the Gabe Zimmermann Trailhead, renamed for the man who died in this spot during the Gabrielle Giffords shooting in 2011. 

It got hot from about 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. At this point the trail was rather unpleasant, with lots of rocks and scruffy vegetation. Things picked up a little when I passed through/near La Posta Quemada Ranch, which has CCC ties, and La Selvilla picnic area, where I was able to use a pit toilet and dump some trash. 

Nearing Saguaro National Park: The Good, the Bad and …

All morning I was in contact with Matt, another thru-hiker who had found my vest. Lance, the trail angel picking him up today, will get it to Sandy. She, in turn, will pass it off to the two friends flying into Tucson Wednesday to join me on the trail for a week. All good!

But while making these arrangements, Lance told me a storm was coming overnight. I’d just get rain at my camp, but Mica Mountain – which I’m supposed to climb up and over tomorrow – could get a foot of snow, as it’s at 8,000 feet.

He suggested I wait it out a day, but what does that mean? Sit in my tent all day? There is not supposed to be lots of rain and snow in Tunnel on the Arizona Trail painted like a rattlesnake's mouth.Arizona at this time of year! 

So here I am in my tent, writing this while perched on the edge of Mica and the eastern entrance to Saguaro National Park. And I’m worrying about tomorrow. And wondering why, oh why, I decided to camp!

The Ugly

Oh – as to the “ugly,” I fell once again today, this time ripping my brand-new sun sleeves and bloodying both elbows. Something had to be up. Sure enough, the bottoms of my shoes are shredded from the trail. No wonder I keep slipping! I have new shoes in my suitcase, but I won’t see that until Wednesday night. 

One positive end to the day – I found my headlamp! It was stuck in with my filter gear. 

Snowshoe (Wish I had my pair for tomorrow!)

19.9 miles today
129.5 miles to date
670.5 miles to go



©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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