We have returned to Arizona and we’re on a mission to continue hiking sections of the AZT. We did not have a shuttle for these passages so we hiked out and back, meaning we hiked these passages twice, totaling 48.2 miles.
Miles: Around 2 miles
Campsite: In Oracle State Park.
Water availability: Water Cache 2 miles south of Tiger Mine Trailhead
We drove to Tiger Mine Trailhead Thursday evening and arrived around 530pm. We hiked 2 miles until sun down and set up our tent in the dark at Oracle State Park.
We recently go GoTenna’s for each other to stay connected when we have no cellular reception. Because we hike at our own pace and love listening to our audiobooks, we tend to split while hiking. At times, we can be miles apart. We needed a way to alert one another when we stopped or took a wrong turn so we got these GoTenna devices. It was our first time using it and so far, they have worked well. We were able to send each other’s locations and updating on each other’s well being while hiking.
Miles: 17.5 miles
Campsite: Dan’s Saddle
Water availability: Only water was at High Jinks Ranch.
We woke up early before sunrise. Our new tent is semi-transparent which lets a lot more moon light shine through. We packed up and headed out for the day by 630am as the sun rose.
Hiking early in the morning means that we can hike a few miles before the heat and sun beats down on us. It wasn’t long before it started to get hot. We haven’t hiked long distances in a while, especially in the heat, so we became dehydrated quickly and drank most of our water by the time we reached High Jinks Ranch. Whew!
We chugged a liter with electrolytes at the Ranch, refilled on water and got hiking again. The heat, the constant uphill and the sun beating down on us made for a challenging hike for our bodies. Maybe we should have started with an easier hike for our first time back? Nah…
The scenery was beautiful, as anything on the AZT. We watched a low flying turkey vulture until it went over a ridge and disappear from our view. Very neat when you’re able to observe nature up close and personal. It wasn’t long before we needed another break but finding shady spot in the desert can be difficult. With our many breaks throughout the day, we arrived at Dan’s Saddle after sunset. We set up camp in the dark, at the end of a rocky jeep road.
Miles: 18 miles
Campsite: near High Jinks Ranch
Water availability: Summerhaven & High Jinks Ranch
Once again, we woke before sunrise and started hiking at sunrise. We were about 4 miles away from Summerhaven. Our goal was to make to Marshall Gulch Trailhead in Summerhaven and turn around, thus completing passage 12 & 13.
We made it to town by 930am. Just in time to get a nice breakfast at Sawmill Run Restaurant shortly after they opened. We refueled, rehydrated and got back on the trail fairly quickly. There’s public restrooms across from the restaurant, at the information center, for hikers who’s in need of a bathroom and refill on water.
With full stomachs, we made our way back down. Contrary to beliefs, going down isn’t easier than going up. Loose rocks & steep steps makes for a difficult descent. We hike with trekking poles to help with footing while going down, and pushing ourselves up when going uphill.
We barely saw anyone while on trail. We saw 2 couples day-hiking and 2 hunters and that’s was on our entire hike. This trail is definitely less crowded than most which we really enjoy.
We set up camp just before sunset shortly after filling on water, again, at High Jinks Ranch. We are so thankful for these kind folks allowing hikers to refill their water at their ranch. Without it, it would certainly be a dry section!
We tried watching a movie in our tent but we were too tired and went to bed around 7pm! Zzzzz…
Miles: 10.5 miles
Water availability: Same water cache at the Oracle State Park.
We woke early yet again. It’s great to wake up naturally before or around sunrise. We hiked our final miles quickly. Maybe it was the fact I wanted to eat some cake for my birthday. Not going to lie, my feet were sore from hiking but I was happy. I was fortunate enough to see a Javelina and a teenie glossy snake on trail. We made it to the car around 1130am, chugged more water and headed straight home for cake (and ice cream!).
It was a damn good, challenging weekend back on the AZT. Looking forward to more.