Arizona trail day 32: heat, again


19 miles

In spite of the day’s heat, our camp next to the water trough is cold enough that I have to actually get inside my sleeping bag and zip it up. I forgot how cozy and comfortable this is, and I experience a wave of pleasure as I cinch the hood around my face. Isn’t embodiment so nice sometimes? We keep going, in hopes that more of these moments come our way. And they do. If we keep waiting, when we least expect it… they do.

I wake, I hike, the heat drops earlier than the past few days- like 9 a.m.? That’s not a good sign. It’s gonna be a long slow plod through the rotisserie oven to the trailhead where we’ll get a ride into Oracle. Head down, earbuds in. Nuun and fritos. Alan’s watch says 94 degrees, altho it’s likely a bit cooler than that. Slow and steady is how you make it through the heat.

I dissappear into my music. The cholla goes away, the hot sandy trail, the sun in my face. We take two breaks, one at a water tank and another in a sandy wash, curled in the dappled shade of mesquite. My back chafe burns. Salt drips into my eyes. I’m sick of this flavor of nuun. Today isn’t fun, exactly, but it’s not not fun. Long distance hiking is BDSM. It slaps you out of your brain, back into your body.

A local trail angel, DD, and her perfect chihuahua Manny meet us at the trailhead and ferry us to the post office, where we’ve made it in time to get our boxes. Then my hiker friend Pilar is here! With her sibling, Ansel. The two of them are on a southwest roadtrip. Pilar is one of the people I hiked the L2H with in 2019, and it’s so good to see her again! They bring us bagged salad, which is a dream. We find a cabin nearby that can sleep all five of us, and soon we’re eating huge burgers at the local burger place, where the onion rings are gluten free somehow? and I slip a bunch of mayo packets into my pockets. Sirius, my friend in Tucson who was also on that L2H hike, drives out to the cabin and we all hang until well past hiker midnight, talking about the shapes of our lives and arguing over what to do about Shade’s blisters, which have really gone off the rockers in this heat. Blisters are something that every long distance hiker has very strong opinions about, and it’s fun to blather about our competing theories, crouched around poor helpless Shade in the bathroom, our headlamps illuminating his toes. At 10:30 none of us can keep our eyes open any longer, and we turn down the blasting heat and tuck in.

Day 33 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 $13,800. 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!