Thursday, April 21, 2016

Arizona National Trail—Passage 12 Scouting Trip (April 21, 2016)

Oracle Ridge – American Flag Ranch Trailhead (Passage 12 ends and 13 begins)

20160420_174853

I actually hiked southwestward from the Trailhead about 2 miles, first time carrying a big pack rather than a day pack.  I learned while I was stuck in Tucson that the Volunteer Vacation I paid to be a part of, is actually a 9 mile hike in the first day, to base camp.  The information I received before I signed up did not specify that, only said we would cover 2-4 miles a day working on the project.  2-4 miles a day is what I have been training for.  I did not plan to train for my full pack until after the Volunteer Vacation.

20160421_072114

Here it is, and does not include my sleeping bag or mat, or even a full days’ worth of water, or food…. just enough water for a 1/2 day hike.  My goal was to hike two miles or more out on the AZT and two miles back.  At about 2 miles I began to have calf cramps, so I stopped, drank water, ate a bit of trail mix, rested, and turned back.  Took about 2 hrs. to go 2 miles.  Return was faster.  Got strange abdominal cramps (surface muscles) from getting the pack on and off… something I did not realize would be so hard.  Made some adjustments on the pack.  Return was faster even with a couple more breaks. Got back to van at 12:04pm.  Had begun at 7:24am.   Four and 1/2 hours to do four miles.   I actually think that is pretty good.  But I was really tired and had to nap after loading the van.  Walked some in the afternoon to get stretched out and limbered up.  Overall I felt pretty good but even by 9pm, my pulse was about 85 beats per minute and resting pulse is usually much much lower.

20160420_174905

20160420_175008

I did not quite make it to Oracle Ridge TR #1 due to cramps.

So I have to push my training ahead to see if I can hike 9 miles with my full pack.  I have serious doubt after hiking two with it yesterday (4/21) that I will be ready to do 9 miles by May 1st.  I may plan to start up to base camp the day before on my own… so I don’t have to try and keep up with the group on May 1.  I am pretty upset that the information I was given in advance was not more complete… as I may not have signed up for this “vacation.”  They gave me the option of transferring to an Oct. vacation, where I can camp from my van.  WTH????  By October I plan to pretty much be done with the thru hike.

There is a nice trailhead at the American Flag Ranch.  I saw a nice man with a dog there… probably the caretaker… there is an RV parked behind the building.

20160420_175301

20160420_17460020160420_17470920160420_17471820160420_17472920160420_17522620160420_175323

The road was closed off past the Ranch, but the road forking off to the right was open.  There are homes along that road that I could see from the ridges.

20160421_07242120160421_07250720160421_07385120160421_074129

The Agave stalk was about 5’ tall so far.  I saw many Agave/Century plants after my hike, on the way down into the Peppersauce canyon area.  Many had been cut off.  And also many Ocotillo cactus.

20160421_07424020160421_074328

On the right, a bird nest in a cactus plant.

20160421_07512220160421_075743

On the right, Manzanita bushes, with berries.  Are they eatable?

20160421_07590120160421_08002120160421_08085520160421_08132020160421_08200320160421_082654

It was exciting to find the 200 mile marker, that means this point is 200 miles from the Mexican Border, meaning I have now checked our and scouted 1/4 of the AZT.

20160421_08404520160421_08425520160421_08532420160421_091709

Rockie agrees with me, this is tough hiking with a big pack.

20160421_09174020160421_091752

Nothing out here but birds.  I do see scat of various kinds on the trails and hoof prints.

20160421_09230220160421_09314520160421_093437

This was a far as I could safely go and be able to return to the van under my own steam.  Got a small cramp in my left calf, and a couple steps later got a small cramp in my right calf.  I immediately found shade and sat down to rest, drink and eat a bit.  While I was resting I got a major cramp down my whole torso, surface muscles, which frankly scared me a lot.  They finally relaxed.  I have never experienced such a thing.

20160421_09380220160421_094333

I checked my pulse a few times, letting it come back down to a more normal level, and let myself cool off.  I sat there until I got bored… and began the return 2 miles.  It seemed to be going a lot faster.  Once I mis-stepped and stumbled a bit, and when I caught myself, the inside of my left leg tried to cramp up a bit… but I slowed my pace and it all calmed down.  I am sure asking a lot of this old body.

20160421_10343720160421_103932

Soon, I found another 200 mile marker I had not noticed on the way up.  Older and smaller than the first… and I wondered what I story was about them being in different places, but probably within 1/4 mile of each other.

20160421_104829

My buddy, Rockie and I, needed to rest a couple more times.  Wow, can I do this or not???

20160421_10483820160421_105105

Luckily is was not hot, and shade was available.  I enjoyed the rest breaks in the wilderness, alone.  I never saw another person.

20160421_110649

I wonder if this is eatable?

20160421_111228

Some trail worker carefully placed these rocks on a water bar, with the lichen facing up.  I was once told it looked nicer that way, and they are right, if stones are moved for trail work, they should be laid back down with the lichen (life) facing upward.

20160421_11154320160421_111608

Nearing the Trailhead, I was not too tired to notice other things, like a feather stuck in some plants, a large old stump, bigger than most of the standing trees in the area.

20160421_115954

And a blooming Prickly Pear that was not blooming when I went up the trail

Actually going to check out another trailhead northeast of Oracle… on Old Tiger Road later today.

I next headed to Peppersauce Campground area… an other-worldly place everyone should see.  There are suppose to be fossils there.  I will write a separate post about all that as it’s not on the trail itself.  During the night I heard something near the van and looked out my open back door, where the head of my bed is, to see about 1/2 dozen Javelina grazing.  A couple were really big.

Jav1

Photo borrowed from http://www.nutmegs.com/javelina.html .

Last: Passage 11 – Santa Catalina Mountains

Next:  Passage 13 – Oracle


Thank you for doing your usual Amazon shopping using my affiliate link.

Help me a little if you can by donating to my equipment fund for the Arizona Trail hike, in the Fall 2016.  I promise to pay it forward.  There is a PayPal donation button in the top right corner, but I realize people using phone may not see that so I am repeating the button below. You can see a list of gear I need at http://swankiewheels.blogspot.com/p/wish-list.html .

Contribute to Equipment for the Arizona Trail Hike.

2 comments:

  1. Tucson area... if you need exhaust work on your vehicle, I highly recommend David at Exhaust Works, 8250 E. Bowline Rd., Tucson, AZ 85710.. www.ExhaustWorksTucson.com Phone: 530-296-5306. Did a great job replacing my catalytic converter on right side of my van, while I waited... less than two hours. Also got that annoying check engine light OFF. Cost $290 (included taxes). He also confirmed an issue I am having with my Automatic steering fluid... using a lot... and he says the pump is leaking. Going to try a stop leak addative for it... in hopes of getting by a little longer.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Gal, You take it easy on that ole bod of yours! Build up slowly, like you have been. If you need to move that date, then switch it out. It could be just as much fun later on. It is great that you have scouted out 200 miles now! That is wonderful! You are such an inspiration. You help me to see the possibilities as I strive to find my health again. Just Remember! Think Turtle! ;)

    ReplyDelete

Who is Swankie?

My photo
Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
Visit me on https://www.facebook.com/swankie.wheels. In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles in Spring 2017. In training now for the hike.

Followers: