Day 11: Santa Catalina Mountains

Woke up this morning to condensation dripping from the inside of the rain fly—Ugh! Had to take a little extra time to dry things off before packing up. Otherwise was an uneventful morning w/beautiful deep blue Arizona skies & just chilly enough to encourage a brisk pace.

Today wins the prize for toughest trail … the morning was reasonable enough, but just after lunch the trail went stupid-steep and rocky. It was more like rock climbing in lots of places. Then there was the added benefit of not being able to even find the trail in many places. It was really slow going, and I’m pretty sure Parker cut me out of his will again.

Finally made it to 8000’ and  the sky clouded up and the temperature really started to drop—yet another wet weather system on the way—this one w/high winds. It was a race to try to make it to Summerhaven (home of the southernmost ski area in the US) before the general store closed—for some reason it seemed really important to me to get a taste of civilization.

We made it w/minutes to spare—a new water bottle, a piece of fudge and a candy bar were just the beginning of the trail magic the owners had to share—they gave us the scoop that the local Post Office lobby is open to hikers overnight. There is a 24-hour community bathroom across the street that has hot and cold water, flush toilets and electricity. The only catch is that the light in the lobby stays on all night—I’m sold! With snow/rain mix in the forecast overnight, the idea that I can sleep under a roof, out of the wind and not wake up wet made my day!

So—Parker an I are currently sharing the 15’ x 4’ lobby of the local post office with another thru-hiker (who has a terrible cough that I sincerely hope is not COVID 19 related).  Yes—the floor is disgustingly dirty, yes—it’s a little weird to sleep 2 feet from some guy I’ve never met who is wearing cut off clown pants over his leggings & who also hasn’t showered in at least a week, yes—I’m pretty sure it was borderline illegal to camp overnight in a federal building based on the say-so of the general store manager and other thru-hikers. I’m completely good with it. I’m planning to pop as many Advil as my stomach can handle, pull my buff over my eyes to block the light and sleep warm & dry.

Daily Miles: 17.5
Total Miles: 185.9

46 thoughts on “Day 11: Santa Catalina Mountains”

    1. Thanks JD … you’re right—the ones that hurt are the ones that make the others so sweet!

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