Day 9 – Gentle Giants

Day 9

I woke up happy the chaos of the previous night was past me. The wind had seemed to die down a bit too. I’ve noticed the wind tends to be nonexistent in the morning and builds throughout the day and into the night. There was a definite haze in the distance when I set out that morning. The views seemed blurred and the air felt still.

I started my morning with a walk through the long dark snake tunnel as I passed under a road. I definitely stopped to put my headlamp on and hustled through it. Luckily no snake sightings.

I made my way past Cienega Creek and saw Rincon Peak prominently. Mt. Mica was also looming in the distance. Mt. Mica is the biggest climb I’ll be doing since Miller Peak. I also was so excited to see my first Sagauros! They were so much fun! At first I couldn’t stop myself from pausing every few minutes to stare up at them.

I had to move quickly today because a mail drop was waiting for me a Colossal Caves Mountain Park. It is a spot right off trail so it’s perfect for a quick resupply. I also need to charge my phone again. Can’t wait to get that new charging cable and have this unnecessary stress behind me.

In the afternoon I arrived at Colossal Caves and found many other hikers doing the same. After talking with them a bit we all had the same strategy for the next day: camp as close to the Saguaro National Park border and hike all the way through and camp just outside the border. There are only 2 legal campsites within the park and they fill up quickly. I have heard the rangers are reasonable and will allow you to camp in one of those two spots even if you don’t have a site reserved but it’s just something I didn’t want to have to worry about. The trail spans less than 20 miles through the park so completing that section in one day is doable.

I made a rookie mistake and sent myself way too much food. Annoyed with myself I stuffed as much as I could in my bag and ate a big lunch while waiting for my phone to charge. Twinkle toes appeared! He had to get off trail in Vail because his bag had broken. We chatted a bit and had the same strategy for Sagauro. I was hoping to view the caves but they were quite busy and I would have had to wait a few hours. Unfortunately a hiker has to hike so I made a mental note to someday return to see the caves and have a scoop of their prickly pear ice cream!

I packed up and set off for Rincon Creek a good spot just outside the park where most of us would camp. I was lucky to find a spot protected from the wind (it was much less windy but there were still some gusts). I went to sleep early and mentally prepared for the big push tomorrow.


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