Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ciao AZT!

265 miles in and I'm done.  It was hot. Insanely hot.  I felt like a piece of plastic in the sun slowly being warped by the rays.  This last section of trail had no shade cover and temperatures crossed into the 100's.  Water sources are few and far between out here, and to rely on iffy sources was a risk I had no choice but to take.  I was carrying 8 liters of water at a shot, and still getting dehydrated and feeling miserable.  After two full days of trying to convince myself I was enjoying it out there, I gave up and let the rational part of my brain turn on.  I was approaching the Gila river with a few remaining sips of hot, green, nasty tasting water left, dozens of heat-resistant pestering gnats trying to sneak into my ears, eyes and nose, and feeling the sun bake my shoulders and legs.  I finally sighted the river and tossed my pack on the ground, ripped off my shoes and walked straight in.  And I laid there.  The muddy water rushed over me and my mind cleared.  I needed to get off the trail before it got worse. 

Thankfully, I was close to a major highway, and after a few hours in the shade of the bridge, I walked up the road to the intersection and stuck out a thumb.  After only 20 minutes or so, a car passed, then pulled a U-turn and came back to get me.  They were headed my direction and felt sorry to see a "little girl alone hitch-hiking" and felt impelled to pick me up.  Works for me!  It was a mother and her two grown children, returning from visiting grandma's gave on Mother's Day.  After a quick trip up the road, I was checked into a motel with AC and chugging a large bottle of Gatorade.  The hotel manager was shocked to see a hiker come in this late, and proceeded to show me the forecast for the next 4 days.  Daily highs? 104, 104, 108, 108.  And to boot, a wildfire was burning just north of here, and threatening to burn across the trail if it hadn't already. Hmm.  Plan B?

Well, it just so happened that another hiker was in town, and after we discussed options, I decided the risk was too great, and I was throwing in the towel.  He opted to keep going.  I hope he stays safe!  Things quickly started to fall into place.  I was able to contact the company that was interested in interviewing me for summer position working for Adventure Treks, and was able to start that process.  I also got a hold of Casa de Luna and Jackass, and decided that instead of jumping north on the AZT, I would return to California and do my part to help the Wolverines and Trail Angels.  Back to the PCT I go!

I am saying goodbye to the AZT after completing 1/3 of the trail, and going to try and earn my trail angel wings.  Hopefully I can help Mama T and Papa Joe and make the class of 2011 proud.  I will be helping out until Memorial Day weekend, and then I will head back to Park City and return back home the the family I nanny for.  I'm excited to see the little rascals again and get some fun times in before they take off for the summer.  Hopefully I too will be headed out for the summer and be leading a sweet trip in Cali!  None of this was the plan a month ago, but it doesn't sound too bad!?

Now for a few pictures....


 papa sneaking into mexico...nice fence....

gila monster!

my cave shelter...and one flick of the bic fire

monster western diamondback rattlesnake...as thick as my forearm!
 hard to spot...but yes, that is a dead bird floating in my water source

...and finally, rinse #2 of my socks.

And in parting...the wisdom of the sign on my motel room wall...

"How we spend our days, is how we spend our life."

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