Tag Archives: longdistancebackpacking

Day 2. The Arizona Weather is Confused.


Mile 11 to mile 37. 26 mile day. Our first marathon! 

Woke up at 6:20 after some reasonably good sleep. 12 hours of off and on sleep only bothered by the fact that so much condensation has formed in my tarp that it actually rained ice cold water all over my bag and my face for much of the night causing me to get just a little clammy. Finally this stopped right before sunrise because all the condensation froze to the top of my tarp. It got pretty cold!

With hands freezing we packed up or ice laden shelters and got walking just before the sun rose over some distant mountains. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the air was crisp and clean with the smell of pine! 
The walk down from the miller peak area was very steep and finally gave way to some nice ponderosa pine forest and then down farther along a flowing creek that was lined with sycamores! Still saw some immigrant trash every now and then, a milk jug here, some candy spelled in Spanish over there. 

We were spooked when two quail or pheasants exploded into flight some 15 feet in front of us. It’s crazy how loud a bird can flap its wings. Before you can even register what just occurred, they’re long gone. Also saw a lot of cows around! 
We ate lunch near another creek and dried out gear out from the moisture last night. Then out of nowhere it got really windy and cloudy. A few minutes later it was raining. Not hard but annoying. Then it stopped for about a half hour and then it really started raining for about 20 minutes and then it was back to warm and sunny. Throughout the day it was on and off sprinkles and sun. 

Drying the condensation at lunch.

Most of the trail today was a beautiful open savannah. Grassland with trees spaced out from one another, none more than 20 feet tall. Water sources more numerous than in the data book. Lots of containers of water for cows, and every creek was flowing. 


All listed water sources are flowing and full! 

Set up camp around mile 37 and watched the sun go down. Body feeling pretty good, not one blister and just the usual sore feet after a long day. Patagonia tomorrow! Our first trail town! Here’s our campsite! 

Day 1: Some of Everything and Lots of Climbing.


From the Coronado national monument visitors center to Mexican border to mile 11. About 15 miles total, about 6000 feet elevation gain.

Got in our Arizona sunshine Tours shuttle at about 6 am and drove the hour and a half to the Coronado visitor center. It was a pleasant ride with a CD playing about the history of the area we were in and the driver was very nice, let us stop at a quick shop for some last minute stuff. 

We then began a 2.4 mile hike up a very steep pass probably gaining 1500 or more feet in elevation until we intersected the AZT at mile 1 where we then took a very steep trail down almost 1000 feet to the monument and had our pictures taken in Mexico by a nice couple names Sue and Todd. Then 1000 feet back up to the trail and headed north towards Montezuma Pass (which is only .7 miles from the cut off down toward Mexico so if you can get a ride there you can save a few miles and a killer climb.)

Here’s Bill Muarry and me in Mexico at the monument. It’s in Mexico so you actually have to go through the border to get a picture with it! Bill Muarry was a friend I met on the AT back in 2012. She got her name from some other hikers who really wanted to give out the name to someone and she adopted it because it would be funny and confusing in the trail registers. Thru hikers reunite! Then we started the real climb up Millers Peak, another 2500 feet up, to over 9000 feet above sea level. We passed several old copper mine shafts.  The trees went from scrub oak to pine then to juniper and finally into a forest of Douglas Fir and other firs and spruce I didn’t know. It looked like a northern boreal forest!

Then you go up and down a little bit, passing bathtub spring which is exactly that.

Near the top of the climb we were suddenly in a quaking aspen forest with occational areas covered in snow.

Every now and then you’d also see trash from illegal aliens such as this. They carried 15% mas and didn’t even eat it!

After that the weather got gloomy. It’s cold, overcast and the wind is blowing pretty good. Also considering I got less than 1 hour of sleep last night in the airport with too much on my mind, we decided to set up camp at 4:15. We’re beat and hitting the hay. All downhill tomorrow. Oh and I found these precious babies. 😊

Getting There is Tough

Woke up today at 7:30 and it was 1 degree out. At least it’s sunny! Took off for the airport and continued desperately tried finding a ride to the southern terminus. I tried all the southern passage stewards with no luck but did learn a lot of useful info from them (thanks AZT trail stewards!) finally after about 25 failed contacts I reserved a pick up from Arizona sunshine tours. They will come pick us up at 6 A.M. from a hotel, walking distance from the Tucson airport, then drive us to the Coronado national monument visitor center just a few miles from the Mexican border for $75 each. More than I was hoping but hey, they come right to us and take us very close to a place that’s pretty far from anything.

Met up with my friend Bill Fuckin Murray during my layover in the Atlanta airport.  Sleeping in the airport tonight. Tomorrow the journey begins!