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DWTH Day 25: Power Lines and Pour-Offs

DWTH Day 25: Power Lines and Pour-Offs


👣 Miles: 18.82

📈 Elevation Gain: 1,391 ft

📉 Elevation Loss: 1,224 ft

Overall Weather: Cold ➡️ Sunny, Hot

Re-bury the Cache 

Backpacker reburies their food cache that they'll come back for later.
Reburying the Cache

We awoke to a briskly cold morning where neither of us wanted to get up early. Luckily, just enough of a breeze happened overnight that our tarp was dry. Woohoo for small wins! 🎉

When we actually got to packing up, we grabbed plenty of water. We were extra stoked when the RV on the closest campsite left early. That way, we felt like we could re-bury the cache in peace without people watching through their windows with their morning coffee and binoculars. 

Yes, most people in vans and RVs have binoculars. 

Since this one had a bit of small animal activity, Karma took extra care in the burying process. 

Across the Flats

Walking under i10
About to Cross i10

Starting out, we kept some layers on because we started downhill and flat. 

Between these sweet little mountain ranges are large expanses of open desert. 

This particular one had a power plant and the good old i10 interstate highway. 

We meandered around several service roads and power line swaths with a bit of cross-country toward i10. 

I always feel a little smug walking under interstate highways. I feel like I’m in on a secret and the few people in cars who spot us have no idea what’s happening. 

This interstate was fine except its graffiti was shit. Like horrible racist crap. Not like the beautiful reptile mouth near the AZT crossing. 

After we passed i10, we passed some mildly aggressive signs by the power company about not following their roads. 

We ignored them and followed their power lines across the flats, over an aqueduct, and into the Big Horn Wilderness. 

Bits of Burro Trails and Cross-Country

A small puddle of water at the base of a pour-off is called a Tinaja.
Pour-Off Filled Tinaja

Right at the wilderness boundary, we saw a middle-aged couple eating lunch on the back of their ATV. They passed us miles back on the power line road and looked genuinely surprised and confused to see us again. 

We seem to get the confusion look a lot on this route. Like, at some level, people mostly understand we’re backpacking, but don’t understand why we’re there. 

After we passed the couple, we followed washes and burro trails up to a low pass. A few times we got off the main x-c line to follow burro trails that looked nicer. It mostly worked out. 

In the distance, we heard one burro but never saw it. 

On the way down, we found two decent rainwater tinajas at the bottom of a small pour-off. 

When we looked at the map, we saw the line went way away from the wash in a semi-circle. The note mentioned another pour-off, but the scale of this one was much larger than I anticipated. It was a legit, you-have-to-traverse-around pour-off. 

I tightened my sandals for the contouring and we picked one of 3 burro trails around and down. It was more exposure than I thought we’d get, but not “butt puckering” as Shadow would say. 

More Cross-Country for the Evening

A classic Sonoran Desert view
Cross-Country Hiking

We got some great water and continued on and away through a teddy bear cholla-filled low pass. Teddy bear cholla lives to drop small round spikey balls everywhere. I got through ok, but Karma picked one up with his foot by accident. The trick is to use your poles or rocks to remove them…NOT your hands. 

A few times, we didn’t feel like following the washes and popped out of them on burro trails. This time, it didn’t bite us in the butt. Sometimes doing that means extra up and down in the side drainages. 

About 10 minutes to sunset, we found the flattest spot around and called it camp for the evening. 

As we brushed our teeth, we noticed that the stars had gotten just a little brighter and more plentiful. We’re slowly moving away from the light pollution from Phoenix!