Friday, March 29th, 2019
We hiked through grassy, rolling fields most of the morning. Eventually we ran back into Gnat who likes to get up much earlier in the morning than us. She told us it’s because she has trouble sleeping in her tent.
We passed her by and as we approached the water source, we saw a group of cows conversing by a fire pit and two grazing horses. The one by the stream let us feed it grass and rub it’s nose.
Then the climb up and over the saddle began. On the way up, we met a hiker named Legend who was training for a Yo-Yo hike. In other words, he was going to hike in one direction on the Arizona Trail (AZT), then turn around and hike back. He was currently hiking southbound from the town of Oracle to the Mexican border.
We made our way over and down to the Molino Basin campground by the Catalina Highway where we took a late lunch. Before settling down at a covered picnic table, we met hikers Nobutt and Yeahbut. They had hiked a lot of the Arizona Trail and mentioned, so long as we weren’t purists, there was a way to cut through and skip a short stretch of the trail that went through the campground. Well, we are purists, so nope. Thanks, but no thanks. We want to hike the AZT in its entirety, even if it’s just through a campground.
We lounged around for a while hoping to see Gnat, but after some time had passed with no sight of her, we continued onward through the campground, dodging a few mountain bikers. We walked by an old car in a ditch before taking a break in the shade by the Gordon Hirabayashi campground.
A girl from down the hill approached us and asked if we saw anyone looking for someone. “Just you,” Frisbee said. Her name was Hummingbird and she was waiting on someone to take her into Tucson to resupply. She was an ultra runner who was fastpacking a section of the Arizona Trail, the Mexican border to Oracle, in particular. She was planning on reaching Oracle in the morning, which was over 30 miles away with some serious elevation gain involved! She was incredibly petite in size, but what a beast! Her ride showed up, and we hiked on.
The next stretch of trail that traveled down to Sabino Canyon would be hard to navigate through, but was absolutely gorgeous. We’d cross a river and get turned around by Sycamore Reservoir before going a long ways down along a ridge to the bottom.
It got greener and greener the further down we went, and we made it to the bottom before the sun set. We set up camp, ate and then saw Hummingbird again. She was hiking a little further into the evening, but stopped to chat and let us check out her Ultimate Direction backpack. I was digging the shoulder straps! She carried on and we climbed in our tent. We heard voices in the night and saw the glow of headlamps, but never saw any people.
23.4 miles (37.7 km)
Jump Ahead to The Arizona Trail: Part 10
Jump Back to The Arizona Trail: Part 8
Start from the Beginning