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Tucson Arizona spring 2015

Four Day Backpacking adventure - Second Day

Our Crazy Post Retirement Wanderings Hiking and Triking

Backpacking Adventure - Day two part four - Feb 26 - At the campsite

I dug my stove out of my pack and gave it to Cheryl along with the partially full gallon bottle of water we collected back about a half a mile when we crossed the most recent stream. Having found a level campsite, Cheryl and Dan put up their tent. Then Cheryl went about boiling the water for our dinners, and Dan went about finding a tree suitable for hoisting up the food in the air about 70 yards from the tents, while I was still putting up my tent.

It seemed like it was going to be an even colder night than the previous night, when it was in the lower 20's for a low. The next morning we found out that it was 18f, when we got up out of our tents at about 8:30AM. I was surprised how warm I was considering that my sleeping bag is rated for only 30f, when it was about 10 degrees below that. Of course I was sleeping inside a tent with the vent flap closed, I had an air cushion under my sleeping bag, and I have a cotton sleeping bag liner/ sheet, and in addition to those things, I was wearing my complete set of clothing to bed including a wind shell, sweater, base layer, pants, and a gaiter / head band to bed inside the sleeping bag. But I was toasty warm.

Even though I didn't sleep much, I did sleep some. Maybe 3 or 4 hours. Probably because of borderline exhaustion due to lack of sleep on the previous night and due to a good physical workout hiking about 5 miles of which I had my 35 pound backpack for more than 3 miles that day. After I slept for about 4 hours, I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep, at about midnight. I turned in at about 7:30PM. I got out my cellphone with the trail maps on it, and reviewed our current situation.

When the plan was designed, it was anticipated that we would hike between 4 and 5 miles per day, so the first day put us about 2 miles behind plan. In addition, we were tired from not sleeping the first night, so we ran out of gas at about 4:30PM this day too! But having lost the trail for better than an hour, the distance that we traveled the second day was less than we had hoped again two days in a row. The first day we covered about 2 miles, the second day we covered about 3.0 miles. So with 2 days out of 4 in the hike, we'd only covered about 5 miles, and so we were about 4 miles behind plan as of the end of day 2.

If we stuck with the original schedule that meant that we would need to cover 5 miles the next day with climbing 1,500feet to Cathedral Rock, even though we hadn't covered more than 3 miles in either of the first two days with less than 500 feet elevation gain on either of the two days.

Upon reviewing the maps, I decided that either we needed to add another day to the itenerary, or we needed to shorten the distance from 18 miles down to about 14.5 miles to compensate for the days distance that we lost. I noticed that if, instead of going across on Cathedral rock, where the trail was notorious for being difficult to follow, and we could end up getting lost on the trail, plus the added 1,500 in elevation, and 5 miles of distance, if we turned right instead of left at Romero Saddle, we could instead go down Romero Canyon, and for our third night, camp about a mile down Romero canyon where the trail parallels the creek. That means that we would need to hike about 4.6 miles on day 3 and about 6.2 miles on day 4. But day 4 would be all down hill, and day 3 was mostly down hill too, so, it seemed like we should be able to accomplish this replan if we set our minds to it. I decided that I should discuss this with Dan and Cheryl the next morning, and we could make the final decision that afternoon when we arrived at Romero pass, and see how we felt about the replan at that point, even though I felt that it was a foregone conclusion that we would probably opt for the Romero Canyon reroute.

The reroute meant that we would still have to hike 4.6 miles on Day 3, and 6.2 miles on day 4. We hiked 5 miles in the first 2 days, and now we would need to hike another 10.8 miles in the next 2 days, more than twice the average miles per day! Still, I felt that the conditions were better, and that we would be unlikely to get lost on the Romero canyon trail, or have any other problems that would cause significant time delay.

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