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Arizona Trail Day 3 – Thorny Camp | Average Hiker

Arizona Trail Cow Tank

I’m using a small Blue Maestro sensor to check temperatures. It is connected via blue tooth to my phone and read 28 degrees this morning.

I had wanted to move a mile past the creek in Parker Canyon because I knew the cold, moist air would settle, but Cricket was done when we arrived the night before. Unfortunately, her feet are a mess of blisters and have become very painful. So Parker Canyon had been our home for the night.

As the sky brightened, I moved fast to dress and pack. Mornings are so hard when it is cold – getting out of that warm quilt and dressing in record time!

Waiting for Cricket to finish packing, I walked up the trail and stepped from morning shadows into the sunlight. I was amazed at the temperature difference and could feel the impending desert heat. It was going to be a hot day.

A couple of miles into the morning, after a challenging little roller coaster hike, I stopped to wait on Cricket. Unfortunately, this was when I realized I had lost my tiny Nano.

The Apple Nano was an antique and the best device Apple has ever made – and discontinued. It is tiny, holds a charge forever, and contains all my books.

I was so disappointed, but in true thru-hiker fashion, I was not going back 2-3 miles to search for it, and Cricket had not seen it behind me. So I think that would probably be my biggest regret about this hike.

I should have gone back.

The terrain was dry, hot, and rugged, with small steep climbs and descents. I moved ahead of Cricket but periodically stopped to wait for her to catch me. She had not gotten in shape for this hike and I knew it would take time for her to adjust, so we were taking it slow.

Water was a series of springs, creeks, the occasional cache, and holes in the ground filled with water for cows called “Tanks,” Which many other hikers referred to as “Cow Shithole Ponds.” I usually tried to fill up at the natural sources and avoid the cow toilets if possible.

When we reached the last water source, an especially nasty Tank, Cricket filtered water for the night, I did not drink as much water, so I was okay with my liter and began looking for camping as she filtered.

Four section hikers camped on the only level ground near the Tank, so we moved on and came across Starlord filtering what he called “clean water,” water running from a pipe in a concrete dam. I nodded, noting the water was probably run-off from the cow tank, but it was definitely more evident than the brown Tank water. So we grabbed a couple of liters and went campsite hunting.

There were no options for camping, and it was almost dark, so we both finally selected small clear spaces amid thorn thickets – one on each side of the rocky, dirt two-track we were following. Unfortunately, I got 20 bloody scratches while trying to set up my Hexamid.

Cricket was too far off to talk with while I settled in for the night, so I sat back amidst the thorns and dried cow paddies to watch a striking sunset and make dinner.

There is always beauty.

2 thoughts on “Arizona Trail Day 3 – Thorny Camp | Average Hiker”

    1. Thanks a lot Tony. I keep IG and Twitter updated regularly but blog posts are tougher. I’ll definitely update everything fairly quickly when I finish and try to get some more blog posts up in town.

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