Daily Miles: 18
Total Miles: 146
Camp Elevation: 6,500 ft
Well, today has been a total beat-down. A good day, but totally exhausting.
We woke up to all of our sleeping bags covered in condensation from sleeping near the creek last night. Qball’s tent was also soaked. I guess we should have expected it, since we were cowboy camping right next to water, but our options were pretty limited since we don’t have a permit to camp in Saguaro National Park.
When we got up, we shook off as much water from our sleeping bags and then packed up our stuff. We were on the trail by 6:40 and soon arrived at the southern boundary of the NP.
The Saguaro cactus were covering the desert this morning. It was so cool to walk among them. There was several miles of walking among the cacti before we started our epic climb and the Saguaros started to disappear as we rose in elevation.
We stopped for a break around 9:00 and pulled out our wet gear and set it all out in the sun to dry. Thanks to the AZ sun, our stuff dried out quickly, so we are ready for another night of camping.
The bulk of our day was spent climbing 5,500 feet of elevation through the NP. The first 3/4 of the climb was pretty exposed and hot. We soaked our bandannas in any water source we found to try to cool ourselves off.
After lunch, as we continued our climb, we started taking 5 minute breaks every 30 minutes since it was so draining. Luckily, as we got higher up, we came into a beautiful pine forest which provided some needed shade.
We finally made it to our high point of about 8,500 and then started downhill with the goal of getting to the northern boundary of the park and then finding a campsite outside the boundary.
We were rewarded with some spectacular views as we started down. We could see some really cool rock formations and the other mountain ranges in the distance. The light was excellent across the canyon like formation below us. It was surprising to be at such an incredible view point and not to have anyone else around. One of the best views of the trail so far.
The trail towards the end of the day was not in as good of shape. There had obviously been a fire in the past and there were a lot of downed trees across the trail.
Luckily we found some good campsites about a quarter of a mile outside the park. We were happy to be done for the day as we were all wiped out. Not our longest day on the trail, but probably our most challenging.
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