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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 this morning it read 28 degrees.

I had wanted to move a mile or so 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. Her feet are a mess of blisters and have become very painful. 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 sunlight. I was amazed at the difference in temperatures and could feel the impending desert heat. It was going to be a hot day.

A couple of miles in to the morning, after a tough little roller coaster of a hike, I stopped to wait on Cricket. 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 holds all my books.

I was so dissapointed, 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. I think that would probably be my biggest regret of 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,” Tanks that 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 fine with my liter and began looking for camping as she filtered.

There were four section hikers camped on the only level ground near the Tank so we moved on and shortly came across Starlord filtering what he referred to as “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 clear than the brown Tank water. 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 in the midst of thorn thickets – one on each side of the rocky, dirt two-track we were following. I think 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 my 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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