3/14/14 – 267 miles.
I never did find the water tank that was mentioned in my guide. It was only 90 feet off the trail so it seems funny that I missed it. All the AZT signs say not to rely on cow tanks – they are the property of the ranchers and you are supposed to get permission to even use them.
I started out early while it was cool and rationed what remaining water I had left. The flat desert soon changed to canyons and tall hills. It was a lot prettier to walk through but the climbs made me more thirsty. I arrived at Florence – Kelvin Highway -where there is a water cashe – about noon and drank a half-gallon of water before filling up my bottles and moving on.
This next stretch follows the Gila River for 16 miles so I will have water for a while. The trouble with the Gila is that it is muddy. I filled my bottles and will let them sit overnight to see if any of the mud will settle before running it through my filter.
I have seen 4 snakes, countless deer, 1 wild pig, jackrabbits, 1 mountain lion, 1 scorpion, 1 turtle, and hundreds of cows. None of the snakes were venomous, I squished the scorpion, and everything else ran away.
The cows that are pastured in the desert sometimes make a mess of the trail. They are forever making their own path and breaking down the edges of the trail. And they cut switchbacks all the time. They think the shortest distance is the best route.