Backpacking Adventure - Day two part one - Feb 26 - Hiking Wilderness of Rocks
We got up out of our beds and tents after the sun came over the mountain ridge to the east, and it was cold. It was about 25 degrees farenheit, but as the sun climbed higher in the sky, it became increasingly warm. By 9AM, the temperature felt like it was up near 40 degrees. That Arizona sun is HOT! We had breakfast, and set about tearing down our camps and packing up our backpacks.
Cheryl figured out in advance of the trip how to mix up meals, and pouring hot water into a ziplock with a spoon mixing up the meal in a ziplock, and eating the food out of the ziplock. Makes it really easy to wind things up and get on the trail quickly when you don't have to do dishes. We had to pack out all of our trash, so just rinse out the dirty ziplock so it doesn't smell very much like food, and put it in the trash bag.
Since I was slipping down once a minute, I didn't get much sleep, although at some level I think you can trade sleep for longer rest. That's the way it seemed to work anyway. I was in my sleeping bag from about 7:30PM until about 8:00AM. About 12 hours and 30 minutes in the sack! I doubt if I slept more than an hour or two with the sliding down and scooting up. Most of the time was tossing and turning. But somehow I felt rested up. Can't really explain why. I don't imagine the others were any more successful at sleeping than I was that first night. So although we were rested, we were sleep deprived.... if that's possible.
So we hit the trail about 11:00AM, and continued down the trail toward the junction with the lemmon rock lookout trail #12. We met up with that trail about an hour just before noon. When we reached the junction we stopped for a water break and took pictures. After taking pictures, we put on our backpacks and continued on down the trail. We continued until we reached solid rock at the top of a hill, and the trail tended to go toward the wilderness research area, which just didn't seem right. So we went a little further, and convinced ourselves that somehow we'd strayed from the trail. We retraced our steps to the junction, and Cheryl stayed and rested there at the junction, while Dan and I went back to find out where we lost the trail.
We pretty much went back the same way with an extra layer of vigilance in our perceptiveness, and at the area just before we went toward the wilderness area, we saw a cairn behind some plant growth that to a significant extent hid it from our view as we went over a rise, we noticed several other cairns slightly further on down the trail. So we "fixed" the cairn arrangement so one would not stray from the trail regardless of plant growth by adding 2 additional cairns sooner, and nowhere near any plants that might grow and obscure the cairn.
With that problem fully resolved, we went back and collected Cheryl and our backpacks, and resumed our way down the trail, now more than an hour lost from the hidden cairn event and all that entailed. We continued down the trail, and found the place that we were looking for, where lemmon creek turned south crossing the trail to the south. The original plan was to hike to this crossing the previous night, but we had started out on the hike after 2PM, so when we stopped for the night we'd only hiked about 2 miles on that first day.
We put all the frustration of losing the trail behind us, and continued on down the trail with a new sense of wonder. The rocks and rock formations did not dissapoint either. Rocks that looked like giant heads. Rocks that looked like whales. Rocks that looked like a giant piece of fruit. Rocks that looked like millions of years of weather had sculpted them into the shapes that they needed to be for us at that very minute in time to be fully delighted and amazed. They call the trail Wilderness of Rocks, and it certainly is a wilderness of rocks. Sometime I'd like to take my camera and hike around in the area where we got lost on the trail with a few GPS fixes, so I would not truely get lost, and find some of the places on that plateau above the wilderness research area. It seemed very photogenic from near the trail. I think there would be many good photo opportunities in that area.
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