Arizona Trail – Day 21 (29 miles)
The morning was perfect. A light breeze, overcast and a gorgeous pink sunrise behind the tallest peak around, Pickets Post.
I decided to take a few mile side trip to the top of the mountain. It was a good trail and then a light scramble up the 2,300ft (700m) climb. The view at the top of the surrounding landscape was totally worth it!
After the climb down and back on the Arizona Trail heading south to Mexico, I started a very slow climb up to a saddle 14 miles away. After Pickets Post disappeared from view I was left gazing out over rolling hills.
About halfway to the saddle, someone left a water cache by a forest road. Thank you to whoever provided this oasis! I drank a litre and took a short break to eat.
Not long after the cache I ran into a couple of guys who were in their last few days of the Grand Enchantment Trail (GET), which is meant to be a reasonably challenging desert route. They both seemed happy but rather keen to finish.
As I got closer to the saddle, the rolling hills changed to exposed rock spires and jagged cliffs. It was rather beautiful, with a different, unique rock work in every direction.
Here I also met a couple of riders as they passed me. I could keep up on the rocky and steep bits but as soon as the trail levelled off they took off into the distance.
It was here that I realised that I lost my headphones at some point over the last couple of days. I walked back a mile to see if there were at our lunch spot, however, I was not surprised when there were not there. One more thing lost this year. The last couple of thousand miles I’ve been extremely good.
I continued along the Gila (pronounced ‘Hila’) River for about an hour and a half before the sun was close to setting. It was amazing the wildlife in the area. I saw a tarantula wasp carrying away a tarantula, and so many javalina (small, pig-like animals), birds and the surprisingly loud sound of crickets.
I got some more water from the river and set up camp ready for the ever-expanding night time.