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DWTH Day 2: Neoair Sleeping Pad Vs. The Desert

DWTH Day 2: Neoair Sleeping Pad Vs. The Desert


👣 Miles: 8.36

📈 Elevation Gain: 2,014 ft

📉 Elevation Loss: 2,779 ft

Overall Weather: Sunny, Warm

A New Hole

On night 1, Karma got a hole in his Neoair sleeping pad. 

It was a big enough leak that he had to blow it up 4 times throughout the night. 

Needless to say, we had a slow morning. 

The Climb

Trail sign on the Arizona Trail at Romero Pass
Romero Pass: The “Official” Start of the Connector Addition

Once we got going, we plugged along the AZT climbing to Romero Pass. 

We only saw two people along the way. An older couple walked in the opposite direction. We saw the woman first in a giant puffy with a fanny pack and microspikes on rocks. We had crossed a bit of snow, but nothing slick in the slightest. Then, we saw an older man with probably a 50 lb pack with music playing. They said the northern face had a lot more snow without specifying where they hiked up from. 

We continued up and had a long break in the pass enjoying the view. We’re keeping our eyes on a storm coming up in two days.  Up there, we saw the initial wispy clouds that often indicate an upcoming storm. 

The Descent

A thru-hiking couple sits at an overlook using an umbrella for shade in the desert.
Overlooking Oro Valley Near Tucson

The older couple had to have come up the way we came down based on the fresh footprints and snow. 

There wasn’t enough snow to posthole, but enough to watch your footing. 

We were definitely impressed by the older couple since the descent was steeper, rockier, and snowier than what we ascended.

When we got to the first water, we found a pool with a convenient rock to find the hole in Karma’s Neoair. 

Since we decided to take a slow day and avoid the expensive hotel in Tucson, we took a long break. 

Fixing the Neoair

Karma froze his hands finding the new hole in snowmelt water. However, he found it super quick. 

The trick to finding holes in backpacking air mattresses is to find water deep enough to submerge it. Then, you slowly submerge parts of it on either side looking for bubbles.  If you have a leak, you’ll see bubbles where the leak is as the air escapes upward. 

Once you find the hole, you use a Sharpie to circle it. Since no patch will stick when it’s wet, you bake it dry in the sun. 

When the pad is dry, you clean the area with an alcohol wipe, then add your patch. We patch the Neoair with tenacious tape (repair tape). 

The Continuing Descent

We continued in an overall downhill trajectory (it’s never all downhill).

Along the way, we watched several Mexican Jays bouncing around near some water while two Red-Tailed Hawks circled above. 

At the last water crossing before the State Park boundary, we grabbed some water and put our stealthy campsite goggles on!

Camp 🏕️

Two thru-hikers enjoying their campsite.

We eventually found an ok spot, but it had a slightly annoying slant. We debated about it, but then we decided one person would sit with the packs while the other went .1 further to see if they could find something better. 

Indeed! I offered to check this time.  Just over .1 later, I found The Spot. 

Our campsite for the night overlooks Tuscan with the various ridges of Mt. Lemmon in the background. 

Better yet, we stopped just before the sunset.  It was a slow-burn sunset that popped incredibly for only a few minutes.