Arizona Trail – Passage 14 – Showers!

Dates Hiked: March 7-9, 2015 (Days 5-7)
Direction: Southbound
Passage 14: Black Hills
-Freeman Road to Tiger Mine Road
-Miles: 27.4
-Elevation: Low Point 2,793′, High Point 4,214′

Direction of Travel: Right to Left (Southbound)

After nearly a week of experience, we are still not confident about water availability and therefore carry at least 6 liters. Thankfully my body is getting stronger and my shoulders have grown accustomed to this liquid elephant riding on my back.

Jan & Joan’s water carry containers.

We were so thankful for the public water cache at Freeman Road. THANK YOU volunteers who stock this cache!

It was exciting to see these dark clouds swirling about in the late afternoon. It was hard to believe that two days of rain within a week were possible, especially in Arizona.

Any rain in those dark clouds?

It was a test of the fates as we camped over and near the wash. We were hopeful if it rained it wouldn’t be flash flood type rain, but more importantly that we didn’t find ourselves in the middle of a cattle stampede as they’ve marked this terrain as their highway. I’m calling this passage COW WOW due to the cow shit, cow prints, cow paths . . .

Joan’s hammock and Jan’s Rainbow Tarptent

6pm will it rain? No worries, we are prepared, or are we?

We had THREE showers during the night! NO cows, NO floods . . . just light rain making for early morning delight.

Our first windmill water source, known as Beehive Well.

Thankfully, we met Erik who taught us how to use the float valve.

Is ladder climbing in your skill set?

We were able to fill directly from the pipe once we climbed this somewhat unsteady ladder. This is Cowhead Tank in Bloodsucker Wash.

The pipe at Mountain View tank was not accessible from the much more secure ladder, BUT, look at all the minnows and greens!

The reality of the desert, lack of water or predator? Yes, I’ll carry plenty of the water.

Sadly I accidentally deleted the better bunny photo . . . we saw lots of jackrabbits. I’m sure they keep those higher up on the food chain very happy. 

Today’s plants:

Baseball Cactus

Wart Cactus

Do you see the nest?

What would I do if I didn’t see at least one flower?

The Black Hills were stunning with many colors, shapes and shadows.

I must have been tired and clumsy, as I was attacked by FOUR jumping cholla in one day. One went through the mesh in my shoe and through two pairs of socks. Not only was the comb needed for primary extraction, but both the large and small tweezers were needed to remove the spines from my foot. Luckily I didn’t have any type of reaction.

And after seven days . . . it was time to visit town. Marney at the Chalet Village Motel in Oracle was beyond hiker friendly. She picked us up at the trailhead, waited for us to do some quick shopping at the store, gave us a quick tour of town, provided free laundry and loaner clothes, and has a hiker box and register. Her hospitality exceeded all expectations!

We are READY for SHOWERS!!!! Thanks Marney for being such a great Trail Angel.

Feet are doing GREAT!

Sometimes motels can be a lot like camping. We lost power in the early evening, thankfully we’d already done laundry and had our showers. Joan handled it like a pro, blogging via battery-powered candle. With the internet down, I gave up on loading my photos thus the reason why I also gave up on blogging live.

We earned this treat!

Sharing the Trail:

  • Wendy, from the Arizona Trail Association (AZTA), was section hiking passages 14 and 15 with 3 friends.
  • Erik was hiking the Grand Enchantment Trail (GET), which shares a portion of tread with the Arizona Trail. 
  • Woodchuck was on a section hike heading north (pictured with Joan).

Tips and Resources:

  • Link to my other Arizona Trail (AZT) posts
  • Rambling Hemlock (aka Joan)
  • Arizona Trail Association
  • Fred Gaudet’s Water Report
  • Umbrella and Mariposa Pack Links
    • Disclaimer: As a Gossamer Gear Ambassador, I was gifted the pack, but paid for all the rest of my gear
  • In Oracle, AZ
    • Lodging – Chalet Village Motel – Marney (520-896-9171, 520-904-2122 cell)
    • Food – Both within an easy walk of the Chalet, reasonable prices, quality and service.
      • De Marco’s Pizzeria & Italian
      • Casa Rivera’s Taco Express
    • Post Office – Lori the Post Master was very hiker friendly, even providing a little extra TLC when we stopped by to mail out our resupply packages, even going to a nearby PO to retrieve additional regional flat rate boxes. There is a trail register at the post office.


4 thoughts on “Arizona Trail – Passage 14 – Showers!

  1. I totally forgot about the water cache video–that must have been before we met Wendy to get the water tips for the next passage. I remember being so hot and tired at that point. What great memories! Having a fun re-living the trip by reading your blog!

    • Mother nature took such good care of us during our journey we never found the need to wish for alternative weather. I can’t believe we received rain the day before we started, sprinkles this day and a heavy downpour another. On challenging climb days we either had breeze, wind or clouds. On high elevation days we had temperate dry weather. When it was time to swim we had adequate warmth. Luck was definitely on our side. Although dancing and singing in the rain is one of my favorite activities LOL!

  2. Pingback: Arizona Trail – Post Trip Report – Myths, Perceptions & Realities Unveiled | Jan's Jaunts and Jabberings

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