Arizona trail day 33: rattlesnake, period, sunset, perfect day


10 miles

Someone’s alarm goes off in the dark cabin at 5:55 a.m. Noooo! That’s ok through, I don’t mind being awake. The world is so cool and full of such cool things! Shade makes a pot of motel coffee and I drink some out of my silicone camp cup and that’s great too. Then we order massive breakfasts at the local mexican restaurant- carnitas, eggs and beans and tortillas, horchata, burritos for later. So much styrofoam, so much pink rice, so much excellent salsa. We sit on the deck of the cabin and eat until we can’t anymore.

Shade has been trying to decide since last night what to do about the massive blister that starts under the callus on the pad of his foot and then splooges out into a huge bubble between his toes. It’s too painful to continue walking on as is. We all have different opinions- thread it with a piece of dental floss, cut it open and cut the dead skin off, leave it alone. He’s worried about infection, which is valid. He also needs a bigger pair of shoes- he figures his feet have been swelling, and that’s why he has such bad blisters in the first place. This morning he finally figures out a plan- he’ll take Pilar and Ansel’s car down to Tucson, where one store has one pair left of size 14 altra lone peaks. We’ll hike out midday, and meet him at Summerhaven on Mt Lemmon tomorrow at noon, where he’ll return to car to Pilar and Ansel. That way he’ll get new shoes and a day off for his blister. Finally, he lets me cut the blister open with the scissors on my swiss army knife, after I sterilize them with a lighter. The blister explodes, and we bandage it with neosporin and a bandaid. It’s very satisfying.

On the way to the trailhead we stop at the circle k, which is maybe the best grocery store in Oracle? And I score a giant dill pickle, salty tamarind candy, a banana, a polar pop of iced tea, and tajin corn nuts. Laura calls when we’re at the trailhead- she just hiked overnight to do a 60 mile day. She’s staying at a trail angel’s in Patagonia who has goats. She might be finished… tomorrow afternoon? She feels over the heat. I’m sad we won’t cross paths again this time around. Hopefully before too long!

We’re climbing grassy hills up into the elevation of the oaks. It’s hot and then clouds smear across the sun, cooling the world. I get my period four days early- I have nothing for it. Pilar has a few tampons in her first aid kid for nose bleeds, luckily. One of them is soaked in iodine. A rattlesnake rattles at us from the grass next to the trail! And then lets us walk on by. At dusk the undersides of the clouds burn pink fire.

In the dark we hear what we’re pretty sure is a mountain lion, yowling on the ridge above us. Water comes from a long metal cattle trough full of happily spinning water bugs. Camp is just past it, on a flat pullout on a jeep road. Pilar and Ansel spread their tyvek on the dirt for cowboy camping, and eat leftover burritos for dinner.

Day 34 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 $13,950. 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!