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DWTH Day 18: Mountain Lion Tracks, Rocky Terrain, & A Water Gap

DWTH Day 18: Mountain Lion Tracks, Rocky Terrain, & A Water Gap

Stats:

👣 Miles: 21.28

📈 Elevation Gain: 928 ft

📉 Elevation Loss: 1,841 ft

Overall Weather: Cool and Cloudy to Hot And Sunny

The Morning

We both awoke after one of the quietest nights on the route with a mission. 

That is…after we fell asleep to some sort of cat noise. Honestly, I didn’t investigate. 

But back to the mission: we opted out of water a mile off route, so that meant we had 20 miles to go until water. Last night, we only got about a mile beyond the last water before sunset. 

We wanted to get up and get going between 7-7:30 am and we succeeded. 

A bit on the chilly side, we started walking up toward a saddle on a very old mining “road.”

By road here, I really mean a thing that was maybe a road 30 years ago, sometimes had one track and sometimes the other, but rarely both. 

The rocks started right from the beginning. Just rocks everywhere. Some were really pretty and others I swear enjoyed rolling as we stepped on them. 😂

Slightly Harder Cross-Country

The navigation wasn’t hard, but the footing proved the challenge here. 

Like I said before, today just had a lot of rocks. Moreover, most looked volcanic. Some had amazing textures enough that I wanted to take pictures. But, mostly the rocks rolled consistently under our feet. 

We had a lot of “trekking pole saves” to stop ourselves from falling.

Following Washes

I find washes particularly fascinating. All kinds of critters use washes and if you can’t see them, you can usually see evidence of them. 

For example, we ended up seeing some mountain lion tracks…probably a juvenile. There was no mistaking the size, the second toe being bigger, and the M-shaped pad. Even more fascinating was when we saw a slightly older coyote print next to the fresher mountain lion print. 

We also found plenty of small areas where animals burrowed into the side of the wash banks. While we saw plenty of built-up areas blocking the inner sanctums, we didn’t see any of the critters themselves.

Crushing Some Dirt Road Miles

Eventually, we popped onto a larger dirt road with vehicle access. However, despite it being a weekend, we saw no one. 

We decided to listen to audiobooks and music to try and crush these miles and make it to the water before dark. 

I switched between two audiobooks and music today. The switch up is key to make it interesting!

We found some old mine debris as well like an old cart railway.

Very Rocky Cross-Country

After we crossed over a paved road with traffic, we eventually got to some very rocky cross-country. 

We dipped in and out of washes but didn’t use them as much because they got choked up with palo verde trees, mesquite, and even a few catclaw plants. I’ll avoid catclaw any time it’s possible to do so.

After a rocky descent, we stumbled upon a cow trail. Not long after, we scared the shit out of a couple of cows by accident. No literally, they trotted away and pooped all along their path 🙄

Water and The Train

Finally, we reached the water and were surprised to find the water level the lowest we’ve seen yet in a guzzler. One had only 1”-2” of fresh rain water and the other had plenty of very green water. 🤢

Because these sources are meant for wildlife, the common thing is to camp at least 1/4 mile away. 

After we filled up, we sauntered a mile to get a little further from the train noise we heard. 

I guess we’ll fall asleep to the hum of a large train tonight!