The desert had begun to heat up, so we were moving early this morning. The cool, crisp desert morning did not last long as the sun peaked over the surrounding Superstition mountains, and we lowered our heads and began the long climb up into the infamous mountains we had heard so much about in Kearny.
Cricket was not feeling well, we suspected the antibiotics, so I pulled ahead on the climb and would wait for her at the top.
As with most mornings, I stopped for a bathroom break and walked down a wash that wound away from the trail and out of sight of anybody passing by on the AZT. My break was a little longer than usual as I caught up on a few emails, and at some point, Cricket passed me, so I did not end up seeing her until we met at the AZGF wildlife tank. She was racing to catch up with me, and I was waiting for her, knowing she did not feel well. We moved further and further apart.
The climb up into the Superstitions was long and steep, but the rugged, dry mountains were beautiful. The last few miles took me up onto a ridgeline to weave in and out of striking rock formations, and then the trail dropped down to circumvent the valley that led up to the water catchment tank.
The tank was my goal, and I could see it up on a saddle far in the distance where it never seemed to get any closer. Finally, reaching an old tank at the base of the mountain leading up to the wildlife tank, I began a very steep climb.
Coming to a junction with an old rocky service road that led to the water tank, I turned, lowered my head, and began a short, very steep climb picking my way around large loose rocks that ATVs had probably churned up.
A few minutes into the climb, I heard a voice and looked to see another hiker watching me climb up the steep incline. I raised my hand and kept hiking. She asked if I was Ellie and informed me that Cricket was waiting on me. Coming over the hill, I saw Cricket seated in the shade of the water tank with two other hikers and walked over to the tank with Seaweed.
We ended up hanging out at the tank for about an hour after the others left and finally headed down the mountain with plenty of water for the evening. Cricket did not feel well, and we were not going much further.
About a mile later, we passed the hikers from the water tank, setting up camp for the night. There was room to join them, but I wanted to climb higher for the sunset and told Cricket we would go another half mile to the next saddle.
The first saddle did not have camping, so we hiked another half mile to the next small saddle with two good spots for our shelter and excellent views of the surrounding mountains. Both sunset and sunrise were beautiful, and temperatures stayed relatively moderate through the night.