April 13 & 14, 2019
Miles hiked: 15.5 total
AZT mile: 164.8
Campsite elevation: 4,850 ft
Flyby and I camped in the coldest spot last night. When I woke at 5:00 am there was a ton of frosty condensation on the inside of my tent. I had felt the cold all night and I also could not get comfortable. My left hip/butt was cramping up every time I layed on that side, and I am not able to sleep on my back, so I kept tossing and turning. I heard a large group of coyotes howling nearby just before falling asleep and an owl hooting too. It was definitely a poor night’s sleep, but I was able to move through it because I knew we were bound for town and I could make up the sleep in a comfortable bed.
We started the morning speed walking to get warm, and by the time we heard from Flyby’s friend Emily, and found out she was picking us up at noon, we were already in shorts and t-shirts, what a dramatic shift. It was 12.5 miles to the trail head at Catalina Highway from our campsite, and we’d already covered around 4 miles so far. We realized then we needn’t rush, so we plopped down in the sun by a creek and dried out our gear. With time to spare, we relaxed by the creek and ate snacks and chatted about future plans. Flybywas in the process of deciding which graduate school program she will be starting in the Fall, and she plans to hike the AT this Summmer. So she will be jumping ahead on the AZT at this juncture and we will, unfortunately, be parting ways.
We made it to Catalina Highway where the AZT crosses with time to spare and found a picnic table in some shade to wait under. Emily picked us up right at noon and we were soon zooming off through the Saguaro covered hillsides on a windy road toward the large metropolis of Tuscon. She was so gracious and brought us food! Flyby and I stuffed our faces as we drove and it was a fun car ride with lively chatter.
I rendevous’d with my Mom in the University area of Tucson by about 1:00pm. Turns out we arrived at the same exact intersection at the same exact time and that time just happened to be when I called her to see where she was, serendipity! I gave Flyby a big ol’ hug goodbye. It was only 48 hours that we were together but it felt like a week. I will be mising her company for sure, but am so excited for her journey ahead on the AT and her grad school plans.
First things first, my Mom and I went to find me an espresso at a hip little cafe with a hookah lounge. Then, we started Hotel shopping. She is sensitive to her environment so I just let her do the picking. I say she is feeling out the feng shui, which is important and I completely get. To me it’s like picking a good campsite. Energy is everything. We wound up at the Hilton on the outskirts of town because there are nice views of the mountains, a creek nearby and a nice restaurant and pool with a hot tub, yes!! My real needs were: shower, laundry, bed, electrcity, food and I’m good, but the hot tub was definitely a bonus. This place had “all the things” and so much more.
We sat out by the pool in the late afternoon sun, I worked on my blog while demolishing one of the best grilled artichoke’s I’ve ever had. Not too long after that we were at a seafood restaurant having an amazing dinner at one of the best rated seafood restaurants in the area. We got completley lucky by walking in and getting a table at the bar. It was a great experience filled with mother-daughter laughter and thoughtful conversation over a delicious meal. Oh the fresh sourdough bread right out from the oven and the whipped butter…to die for! I enjoyed an amazing piece of seabass with Thai red coconut curry, grilled asparagus and forbidden rice, followed by a chocolate dessert called “the brick”. Can you imagine what it was like? Let me put it this way, I am still eating it, as I packed the remains of the brick in a zip lock and took it on the trail. This thing is not going to waste.
I’ve been a bit concerned about my knee pain, and felt that this rest was just what the doctor orered. I gave myself acupuncture last night and again this afternoon, and I am hoping this helps my knee considerably. I lay there on the bed today with the needles in, feeling simultaneously like my body was floating up to the ceiling and sinking down into the bed. It is such a cool feeling and I could also feel the depth of the healing work that my body was doing in response to the needles. I nearly fell asleep and I didn’t want it to end.
I was so glad my Mom decided to stay the night and spend the time with me. We shared several great meals, we got all my chores done (including patching the hole in my sleeping mattress) and we even went for a tour of the local Botanical Garden. Now that was something special, particularly the butterfly exhibit, it was incredible. I found myself standing in a tropical environment surrounded by brilliant blue butterflies that flitted around in pairs, chasing each other. I loved seeing several of the plants I’ve seen so far out on the trail, and then so many more. I loved learning about the different desert regions, the Sonoran and the Chihuahuan etc. It also didnt hurt that they had a cafe there with a menu offering local fare, straight from the garden and the most amazing hibiscus tea I’ve ever tasted, we were ooooohhhing over it for the rest of the day.
We saved my laundry for last and tackled that as efficiently as possible on the way back to the trailhead this afternoon. The goal was to drop me off and get her back home before it got dark. I sat in the parking lot of the trailhead, re-packing my bag, stuffing brick cake into a zip lock while taking bites, and putting on my socks, shoes and gaiters. My gear was sprawled all over the parking lot pavement; I definitely fit the bill for hiker trash just then, and proud of it!
My Mom and I exchanged a big long hug and said our goodbyes. I am so extremely grateful for her support. The fact that she drove out here to meet up with me and stayed overnight, took me to run errands around town, fed me lots of delicious food, listened to my stories, and gave me her love and nourishment, is the best. What more could I ask for? To have a Mom who understands me and gets that hiking is so important to me, that it is fulfilling my soul on a deep level and that I am out there growing and expanding and becoming a deeper, better me every day on the trail, is amazing.
It’s always hard to say goodbye, but this time is a little easier because she and Todd are driving up to Mt. Lemmon/Summerhaven the day after tomorrow to meet me for a picnic lunch! So, I am looking forward to sharing that time with them too, and they are looking forward to getting to see Mt. Lemmon. Because of this, I have packed just enough food to get me there and the rest of my resupply I will get on Tuesday. I definitely don’t mind saving a little weight for the massive climb I have ahead. Better for the knee anyway.
I hiked out from the trailhead parking lot, through a campground and continued for about 3.5 miles until I found a sweet little spot on a ridge, somewhat off trail. There aren’t a lot of camping options around here, so I’m glad I was able to find this spot, it will do just fine. Tomorrow I have absolutely no pressure to get miles in. Because of my planned rendevous on Tuesday, I am only planning on about 12-14 miles all day tomorrow. That’s going to be really wierd. I think I will turn it into a mountain climbing meditation day. Yea, that sounds great! Good night.