Norm’s IGA in Kearny gives free coffee and a donut to AZT hikers. A kindly clerk tells us this as we’re wandering around their deli, selecting chaotic foods for breakfast- a cobb salad, some cold pork ribs, diet coke, potato salad, a giant spicy pickle, a mexican cookie shaped like a pig. Outside there’s a classic car show happening, and elderly cowboys amble stiffly around in the too-bright sun. We sit at a picnic table in front of the store, consuming our goods. Strangers keep smiling at us, in this tiny, rural, working class Arizona town that sits at the base of a mountain of mine tailings. And this town doesn’t even have white supremacist vibes! There are many people here who aren’t white! I go back into the store and buy some cut up watermelon and a box of a dozen chili lime paletas. I feel like I’m in heaven.
At noon a wonderful trail angel named Q drives us back to the trail in the big yellow jeep her husband Jeff ferried us into town with yesterday. We share our popsicles with her while she tells us about the hiking groups she’s a part of. Why is everyone so nice here?!
At the trail it’s hot, predictably so, but the tread is still pct-level excellent, and the grade is gentle for our two thousand foot climb- I’m so happy! And we’ve been below the elevation of catclaw for like… three whole days now?! Still in the low desert- saguaros, cholla, a flowering globemallow here and there.
At the top of the climb I’m cooked and Alan and I sit in the shade, eating the giant spicy pickles we packed out from the grocery store. It’s something Alan ate a lot on his recent bike trip in New Mexico and I gotta say, it immediately fixes me? A few minutes later we round a corner and find Shade with his shirt off, sunbathing, his skin as white as the moon. A whole month in the desert and he’s still not tan.
Water is in a good metal cow trough, its surface littered with dead wasps and moth wings. I treat mine with my steripen while Shade filters, and then give my rawdog review- hints of aluminum trough, minerally and not in a delicious way, I wish I hadn’t seen the bugs. It’s clear though. 8/10 AZT water.
Camp is right smack dab in the middle of a sunset so bonkers I can’t look away. We cook dinner as the sky bleeds blood-orange and god cries. Cows moo in the distance and we all moo back.
“Why do cows moo?” Asks Shade, who threw away his vintage book of accordian sheet music this morning after determining that none of the songs were, in fact, bangers.
Day 31 of this AZT blog is written and ready to go- I’ll post it (and its corresponding tiktok video, which you can see here) when this fundraiser reaches $13,500, and when I have service again. Thanks so much to everyone who’s contributed so far!!
I’m using this AZT blog to raise funds for Trans Queer Pueblo, a rad org that provides support to trans and queer people seeking asylum and/or in immigration detention along the US/Mexico border. Here is the fundraiser– it was at about $9k when I first posted it, let’s see if we can reach their $15k goal! For every $150 raised, I’ll post another blog post. And thank you!