Arizona trail day 37: Vail


18 miles

I toss and turn all night. Is it the very bad day? The full moon like a lantern in my eyes? The fact that I forgot to drink magnesium powder before bed, so my tired leg muscles are achey and I can’t get comfortable? Who knows. I’m relieved when it’s finally 5:30 a.m., and I know I can stop trying to sleep and just get up. It’s one of those mornings.

The sun heaves itself up into the known world, revealing the saguaros. The heat comes on but it’s a gentle heat- the toothless heat of late November in the sonoran desert. We walk, and the trail is flat, and mostly free of rocks, and I set my feet to “flat ground” and cruise. Finally some easy miles. The kind of miles that almost feel like resting. The “free space” in a bingo card. Even though I’m tired, these gentle miles do wonders for my morale. I decided after waking this morning that I would go into Tucson for the night when we reached Vail, to rest and charge my literal and metaphorical battery pack, and return in the morning. That I would let my friends go ahead, to get to Patagonia in time for Shade’s flight. I would hike those miles from Vail to Patagonia alone. I didn’t feel like I could keep up. I felt busted, like if I didnt get at least a half day of rest something would break. But now, a few hours into the day, I’m feeling better- maybe I can do this. I call Rusty, my Tucson friend who was gonna pick me up. Yes, they say, they can buy me another battery pack and bring it to the trailhead. An incredibly generous favor!! Then I won’t need to spend the night in town.

Rusty meets us at the trailhead in their cute old volkswagon truck and ferries us all to the safeway down the road to resupply- a safeway we’ve been talking about for weeks now. I’ve been fantasizing about eating dairy free ice cream with frozen blueberries, roast chicken and watermelon, and washing it down with an entire carton of almond milk. I make this a reality, spreading my loot across one of the tables outside.

Shade gets yogurt, sushi and kombucha, Alan gets an oat milk latte, ice cream and a pizza from the shop next door. After feasting we resupply, wash the filth from our hands and faces in the sharbucks bathroom, drink tea. Rusty hangs out with us, watches as we restuff our bags with new food, fill up water bottles at the starbucks drinking fountains, throw away piles and piles of trash. All in all, we spend about four hours at the safeway. At dusk Rusty drops us back at the trailhead. A mile and a half later we find a campsite among the prickly pear, and make our home in the soft night.

Day 38 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 $14,550. 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!