Twig Adventures

AZT Day 29: Grasslands of AZ

November 4th, 2019
Twin Tanks mm 688.4 to Casa Blanca Canyon mm 721.9
Distance in miles: 33.5

It got really chilly again overnight, seemingly because we were camped near a water tank. Once I climbed out of the wash, it warmed up considerably. The day started off in the desert scrub but climbed into the Santa Rita mountains by the end, passing through some more enchanting grassy hills.

There were a lot of little ups and downs but it was very pleasant walking. These grasslands were not at all what I expected of southern Arizona and were a real treat. I almost felt like I was all the way back in Montana. What a surprise to be walking in such different terrain.

Water was still scare in the morning, but I had a special cache waiting just for me at one of the road junctions. Back in Vail, a lady had responded to my FB post, looking for a ride to the trailhead. The timing didn’t work out but she offered to drop off water for me at FR 62. Sure enough, a gallon was waiting with my name on it. I felt so special. I only needed a few liters, so was able to leave the rest for Dan and whoever else behind me. Even though I didn’t get to meet her, here’s a shout out to Pat –THANKS so much for the water! The trail angels, and people in general, along the AZT were some of the best! I had a long list to send thank-you letters to and/or recognize in a post at the end of my hike. The water caches had been especially critical.

Happy and hydrated, I continued through the hills, alternating between trail and jeep roads. I came to Kentucky Camp, which is a historic adobe homestead and mining camp. There was a caretaker and one of the cabins could be rented by the night. Pertinent to hikers, there was a water spigot and picnic tables. I took a break to drink, rinse off and wet my clothes.

Four section hikers arrived just as I was finishing. They were hiking north towards Tucson. They were nice but one of them started swatting at the resident wasps and I had to take off as the wasps started to get agitated. Just resist the urge to swat, people! It only makes things worse!

I continued through more grassy hills and eventually into a canyon going up into the mountains. I collected water from Tunnel Spring, a real flowing stream, and looked for a place to camp. I found none near the stream, so I went further along an escarpment, following an old mining sluice for miles. The rock walls glowed with lime green lichen in the fading light.

A pretty little non-venomous snake that I saw in the afternoon

It became dark before I could find a camp spot. So I decided to go as far as the next creek. There I found a nice, grassy spot. It was a really great site compared to so many dry ones I had, too bad I didn’t get to enjoy it in the light of day. I still enjoyed hearing the stream gurgling all night.

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