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DWTH Day 10: First Cache and Cactus Foot

DWTH Day 10: First Cache and Cactus Foot


👣 Miles: 14.00

📈 Elevation Gain: 764 ft

📉 Elevation Loss: 1,024 ft

Overall Weather: Sunny

Hello Again, Dew

We awoke again with a soaking wet tarp and zero rain. 🤷🏼‍♀️ 

Luckily, we have a system for this. First, we unhook the bug net which starts mostly dry. That gets put into a stuff sack in my pack.

Next, we fold our ground sheet which is essentially a thin piece of plastic. 

Lastly, Karma holds the top of the tarp while I pull out the tent stakes handing him corners of the tarp as I go so they don’t pick up dirt. 

Karma is a pro and always stuffs the soaking wet tarp into a gallon ziplock. That task freezes your fingers every time. 

Morning Saunter 

We slowly saunter vaguely downhill and pass new rancher water development. They seem to be adding quite a few holding tanks and new tires full of water with float valves. 

I have a lot of thoughts on cattle ranching and its lack of economic value and overall destruction of the natural environment, but we’ll save that for another time. 

After a few miles we suddenly saw a human walking toward us with shotgun pointed down. 

We’ve met our fair share of gunners and they’re usually a little weird, anti-social, or overly nice while they ply you for animal whereabouts. 

This guy, though, was just a pleasant human being. We had a long conversation about quail hunting season, a mountain lion story, and he shared his thoughts on a photo of some crazy scat we found in Saguaro National Park. 

Anyone who’s willing to look at a photo of animal shit and talk to you about it is pretty cool in our book. I mean, the scar still had an entire foot in it!

We also learned that it’s quail hunting season for two more weeks. 

I Dig a Piece of Cactus Out of My Foot

While walking, I noticed an orated spot on the inside of my left heel. 

Our second rule of hiking is that little things become big. So, we stopped so I could investigate. 

Instead of a hot spot, I had a broken off cactus spine tucked into my growing callus. 

I thought of my Mom and Grandma digging splinters out of my feet after each summer day playing on the beach. 

Karma started laying out the tarp to dry while I dug into my foot with the Swiss Army knife. After about 20 minutes, I managed to get the bugger. Annoyingly, it broke off under the callus. 🙄

Two Route Options

Today, we had the option of climbing up a low peak or skirting around it on a few old 4×4 roads. 

Our decision yesterday was to decide at the split. 

However, as we approached the mountain, we soon realized that it must be a destination for the local hobby fliers and helicopters. 

We’ve noticed a distinct lack of sky silence while hiking around Tucson and today was no different. 

I kid you not, one helicopter circled the peak 14 times. I took a video on the 6th lap thinking that would be it…but no…14. Several small planes seemed to use it as their turn around point as they half circled it as well. 

They were so close, neither of us felt like being buzzed by aircraft and opted for the lower route. Any wildlife that might have been out, we assumed was hiding from the noise. 

Food and Water Cache #1

We got to resupply ourselves today from our cache. 

Luckily, despite the massive rain, no water got into our bucket. 🪣 

However, we did overestimate how hungry we’d be and we ended up reburying some food and sealing it back up to get on the ending road trip. 

I did greatly appreciate the Dr. Pepper Cream Soda for an afternoon boost. If you’ve never had the combination soda…you should definitely try it. 🤯

Finally, Some Star Gazing

We ended up walking away from our cache instead of camping near it. 

Although, it’s definitely weird having a lighter pack and adding food making a heavier pack in the same day. 

After a few miles, we found a campsite with as few Cholla cacti as possible.  The Chollas like to drop bits of cacti that get stuck in your foot. 

We cooked dinner and watched the sunset. It was a bit more of a subtle sunset tonight. 

I was excited that the moon wouldn’t come up until 8:15 pm and I had maybe 30 minutes to play with my camera and the stars. 

I had quite a good time out there trying to find the right photo. Ironically, the photo I thought would be good had some clouds covering all the stars. Instead, I had to play with the city glow on the horizon.