ARIZONA CHALLENGE DAY 4: no trails, no problem
The night at our lower camp was great. The warmer temps actually allowed us to get some sleep! We decided to start the day with a cup of coffee before hiking through another mountain pass to reach our next camp.
There's something special about reaching the summit of an unnamed mountain. It acquires no bragging rights, since the mountain has no reputation. It's a very unselfish way to view nature.
Today was another full day. This would be a common theme for the entire trip. It was full of rewarding views, long hikes, and tough climbs. Tomorrow the plan is to hunker down and practice skills, as well as gather wild edibles to eat. I'm looking forward to day 5. I would go to sleep this night with the thought 'i might just make it out of here alive, and happy.'
During our hike we encountered an old chimney that had once been part of a cabin. There was a small table made from juniper and twine sitting near it that was just begging us to take a picture. I can only imagine that this was the very cabin inhabited by the Nova Scotian brothers who were attacked by Apaches. It's not likely, but it begs the question, 'what it?'
Our hike to the next camp went much easier than the day before. A full night of sleep is most definitely a friend to the traveler. The hike went surprisingly fast, and before I knew it we were setting up our second camp. I decided to go with the same "bivy" type of shelter as I had slept in the night before. It seemed to do the job, and it was a quick shelter to set up. It was composed of a patched up army poncho for the lean-to roof, a bed made from the pine needles that I would gather at each camp, an army sleeping bag, and occasionally my space blanket for when the temps dropped. I decided to use this shelter every night until the weather would tell me otherwise.
After camp was set up I had a sudden urge to do some more exploring. My attention quickly turned to a nearby peak. The mountain seemed pretty wild, and as I would soon discover, there were no trails leading to the top. Most of these peaks don't have any trails, forcing the human to either bushwhack, or find a game trail to follow. I love the remoteness, and the adventure of this kind of travel. It entertains the thought that you're the first person to ever travel the path that you choose.
The mountain was steeper than any others I had climbed in AZ. On the way up I spotted another deer, which quickly ran after hearing me stumble through the forest, and after about an hour of solid hiking I reached the top.
|From the top, a clear view of Mexico|
On the hike down I put my navigation skills to the test. Since there were no trails to the top I was forced to not only find my way back down the mountain, but to also find my way back to camp. I began to follow my own tracks down until I eventually used the view I had of the mountain to find a clearer path. I find myself getting better at navigation every day, and though I'm not yet an expert I do feel somewhat competent at the skill.
|I found this huge agave on my way down. COOL!|
|Looking back at the mountain. I climbed the second one from the right|
Back at camp it was time to start cooking. Tom was feeling creative tonight, as he often does when meal time comes. This led to the first ever "Tomahawk Mock Chili." It was composed of MRE sloppy joe mix, crackers, beans, and some oils and spices that we added ourselves. It was delicious. He can whip up some mean grub.
|Tortillas, "Tomahawk Mock Chili," and cabbage salad|