Arizona trail day 34: mt lemmon


19 miles

I sleep in and when I wake it’s 6:30 and the sun is rising, leaking over the horizon like a raw egg yolk. It was properly cold last night and moony and I was so cozy in my bag and I slept so good. And now I get to hike with my friends!!

We’ve got 3,800 feet of climbing in ten miles to get to summerhaven, the little village on the top of Mt Lemmon where we’re meeting Shade. The trail is steep and steady and we make slow work of it, walking the ridges through juniper forest that sadly burned to a crisp right after the last time I was here in March of 2020. Below us on all sides is the low desert, and above we can see the unburned ponderosa forest on the highest ridge. Up and up we go, in the cloudy morning, as the air cools and grows thinner. The endorphins keep my menstrual cramps away, which is cool.

Midday we’re at the restaurant in summerhaven and Shade is there, with the bagged kale salad and peanut butter cups I requested from Tucson. He has new, bigger shoes, his feet are rested, he feels great! He went to an outdoor punk show at a ranch in Tucson, ate pizza and watched a beautiful sunset. The five of us order burgers, chocolate cake, onion rings. I drink a lot of iced tea. At the general store we buy haribo gummies, wavy lays, other necessities. We say goodbye to Pilar and Ansel. It was so nice to hang, I hope I get to see them again soon! At 3:30 we’re weaving our way through sparkling granite in the ponderosa forest, a little creek running alongside the trail, its surface littered with autumn oak leaves.

Dark comes and we hike in the moonlight, following cairns through the boulders, the twinkling grid of tucson sprawled in the valley below us. We take turns walking ahead, finding the trail. Camp is in the yellow grass on a saddle. It’s cold up here, and tomorrow we start the long descent, back towards the low desert.

Day 35 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 $14,100. 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!