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DWTH Day 26: “Dove” Hunters and a Gun Nut Warning

DWTH Day 26: “Dove” Hunters and a Gun Nut Warning

Stats

👣 Miles: 18.86

📈 Elevation Gain: 1,936 ft

📉 Elevation Loss: 1,286 ft

Overall Weather: Cold ➡️ Sunny & Hot

Brrrrr 🥶 

We camped in a beautiful area…that was a mess of drainages. We got up onto one of the little ridges, but we felt the cold of the washes. 

It was definitely one of those mornings where you linger in your sleeping bag, then pack up super fast and go. 

Except, when it was time to pack the puffy…we both said f-that and hiked out with them on. 

Cross-Country to the Water

Panorama of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.
Arizona Views

Some of the cross-country didn’t make as much sense to us in this section, so we used the line as a general guide. 

The washes the line went through often got quickly choked up by palo verde trees or velvet mesquite. Both are spikey. 

So, we followed along nearby on cow and burro trails where convenient. 

We went up a really neat low pass in the morning. Right as we started climbing, the sun hit us and we finally de-layered. 

The climb went cross-country over lava rock and through a cholla garden. I’ve noticed many rocks move that shouldn’t normally move. However, a lot of the dirt is softer from all the rain. We’ve been picking out steps a little more carefully than normal. 

Cow Water

A typical desert hiking water source: a cow trough with a float valve.
Cow Trough with Float Valve

We eventually got to some cow water which was great.  It’s great when we can lightly press down on the float valve and fresh water comes out of a pipe. No cow drool in our filters from this one!

We took a break under the shade of the solar panels that kept the cow water pumps running. Surprisingly, there was less poop there. 

Thick Sandy Washes and Wash Roads

Just because you can drive a Jeep or an OHV in a wash doesn’t necessarily make it a “road.”  

We had a mix of what I’d call actually 4WD roads, wash roads, and just straight washes to hike on most of the afternoon. 

Not all washes are equal in walking pleasantness. Many of the washes this past week or so have overall been pleasant…more or semi-compacted sand, not super vegetated, etc.

However, the ones this afternoon got a little tedious with deep sand. It didn’t help that suddenly 65 felt hot enough that we both put up our umbrellas. 

“Dove” Hunters?!

A sign for the behavior etiquette of dove hunters.
Dove Hunter Sign

At the evening water source close to an actual road, we found the most curious sign. 

It started out a little more like the normal “don’t be mean to cows, this is their water” stuff. 

But then…it said not to “destroy, injure, or molest livestock.”

Who MOLESTS livestock?! Dove Hunters apparently since the sign was directed at them. 

We had a field day guessing reasons why they had to add the word “molest” to the sign. Maaaaybe we’ve not been listening to books or podcasts to save battery for navigating…so it might have gotten out of hand. 

I don’t even like livestock, but…c’mon!

The Camp Question

Two backpacks next to a tent in the bright orange Arizona Sunset
Arizona Sunset Campsite

As we looked ahead, we saw that not only did we climb a mountain tomorrow, but right where we wanted to camp near had a note about a “gun nut.”  We all know what that means in rural Arizona…stay the F away and don’t engage unless you have to.

Mileage-wise, we’d have to stop a little earlier or night cross-country hike. 

We ended up choosing to stop slightly early, not wanting to trip his (likely hidden) cameras. I’d rather trip them in the morning and scurry away rather than stop and camp a half mile later.

Anyway, we found a good spot with a view and called it home for the night.