AZT Day 45: Scorpions, Section Hikers, and Short Day

Friday, November 9
Miles: 18.6
Starting/ending: 669.9/688.5
Camp elevation: 4042 ft

I wake at 5:30. Coffee, ramen, pack. There are some weird noises… Is the campground haunted? I’m convinced of it. I wash out my pot and pour the water in a tiny puddle in front of my tent. I see what appears to be a bug crawling under my clear ground sheet. Upon closer inspection, the bug reveals itself to be a tiny scorpion! It crawls out and drinks from the puddle. I call David and Oklahoma over to check it out. It glows under the keychain blacklight I’m carrying. Very cool. Also very dangerous – I think these are the scary ones. After it’s fill of water the scorpion returns from whence it came. Oklahoma says he found a tiny scorpion on his rain jacket this morning, too – his tent zipper is busted so he can’t close the door. A close call. I lend him the blacklight.

Oklahoma takes off first out of camp, then me, then David. A pretty sunrise. Past La Posta Quemada Ranch. After a few miles I catch up to section hikers Rick and Jesse. We chat and hike together – they have a few miles left of their hike. They’re both physical therapists in the army. David catches up. We filter water at Cienaga Creek. I take 2L. Shortly after at the Gabe Zimmerman trailhead Rick and Jesse depart with firm handshakes.

Easy walking, slight uphill. We pass under I-10 – the tunnel entrance is painted as a very cool snake mouth. David ahead and I’m behind. I catch up to him at 11am at the Sahuarita Road and Highway 83 trailhead where there’s a cache of water and snacks in the bear box. At this pace, we’ll be at our intended campsite at 2pm! I eat some mini Oreos and haribo gummy bears.

Hike on. Easy walking. Sunny and pleasant day. I eat my lunch of tortillas with cheese and hot sauce around 1. Just after 2 I find David and Oklahoma at Twin Tanks pond. I’m prepared to hike on until 5, but the group consensus is to call it a short day. Do some “laundry”.

Take my time setting up my tent and relaxing. I talk with Oklahoma about Armenia – (I’m 1/4 Armenian) he did Peace Corps there 12 years ago. He teaches me a few words. We help David find a flat spot for his tent.

The wind picks up around 6 and we hunker down in a somewhat wind broken spot next to my tent for family dinner. I have Patagonia Provisions black bean soup, hot chocolate, a CBD chocolate, and natural calm. Retire to tents. It’s so windy. I’m set up under some creaky trees and am a little nervous. I decide not to risk it, and move my tent to the other side of the trees. I schlep my stuff. Settle in. The wind dies down! Ha! Some people on four-wheelers drive around making a ruckus around 7:30. One of them shines their headlights on us and the other one apologizes for being a dumbass as they motor away. Read, write, sleep…

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