Friday, April 5th, 2019
It was a pleasant morning and luckily the tent stayed supported in the wash overnight.
The pleasantries would be short lived when Frisbee stumbled upon rattlesnake number 5!
Since he’s found 4 out of 5 of them, we had an agreement to switch out who takes the lead every time we see one. I was not thrilled to take the lead, as you can imagine. I’d see two snakes shortly after, a black one and a quick moving reddish-brown one, but no rattlers, so sadly there was no switch.
The scenery would continue to amaze me as we made our way to the Gila River. This would likely be our last water source for quite some time, that is unless we got lucky with a surprise water cache somewhere. Aquaman, still coincidently living up to his name, was by the water source and we talked with him for a bit while we ate lunch and drank plenty of water. He hiked on, and we had some entertainment across the river as we hydrated. First there was a group of bulls, one that was staring me down, and then a parade of old men riding around on ATVs.
It was crazy hot out, but the landscape the rest of the day was absolutely spectacular!
I would grow more and more thirsty as we climbed, but tried my best to preserve the little water I had. This had to be the most beautiful section I’ve traveled through so far! If it weren’t so incredible, I’d probably be way more miserable. It was a very pleasant distraction.
We took a snack break in the shade. Not only were we low on water, our food bags were looking a bit barren too. I hydrated as much as I would allow, not wanting to overdo it. Only packing out two and a half liters on such a hot day without any water sources available was incredibly stupid, and I was regretting not purchasing an extra water bottle to fill, but we were in the thick of it. All we could do was press on.
I would turn a corner a couple miles later while hiking along the ridge, and would discover a hiker sleeping in the middle of the trail hiding in a patch of shade. He looked so damn comfortable, I couldn’t really blame him in this heat, but I had some miles to conquer. So I woke him up. His name was Gummy Bear and he rolled over folding his sleep pad over him, turning himself into a hiker burrito. I gave him a heads up that Frisbee and Aquaman would be approaching behind me soon.
There was a possible water source coming up, and by possible water source, I mean puddles. I was anticipating that they hadn’t dried up by now. It wasn’t looking promising when we got to the drainage, but when we walked along it a little further, there were puddles. Very, very, tiny ones with little organisms swimming around in them. I used a cup to scoop up the water, trying to avoid the itty-bitty creatures. I managed to get a liter out of it, which was enough to hold me over while also preserving enough for the critters.
We bumped along the rest of the way. There was resupply box at the upcoming forest road that was rumored to occasionally have water caches inside. When we got there, it was empty. I was glad that I took advantage of those puddles!
We hiked just a little bit further and stopped at a scenic clearing at mile 293.1. We had a 2,100 foot elevation gain in the heat with practically no water, but it was probably one of my favorite days on the Arizona Trail so far!
23.8 miles (38.3 km)