I enjoyed writing this log so much that I recently decided to give blogging a shot. Check out Trail Talk: Talking the Outdoors in Tucson, Arizona, to get my thoughts on local trails, outdoor gear, Summit Hut news and industry happenings.
Adventures of a Half-Mad Hike Supporter (Guest Entry from Jim Romer)
(March 22nd-24th, 2008 - Huachuca Mountains to Canelo Hills, Southern Arizona)
Jim Romer at Parker Canyon Lake Command Center
Outdoorsmen Dave Baker and Terry Woolston have set out on their quest to hike the Arizona Trail from Mexico to Utah. Of course, such an endeavor requires a capable, dedicated support crew. My name is Jim, and I am that one man, half-mad support crew.
My job is to re-supply Dave and Terry with food, water, and gear at re-supply points along the 800-mile trail, and whisk them away for a day of rest once a week. That sounds easy, but the reality is far from easy.
First, many of the places the hikers would have chosen for re-supply, are not near any roads. Since outdoor ethics preclude any off-road driving, we worked together to find re-supply points that were both timely for the hikers, and accessible to my 4WD Tahoe.
Second, each hiker made up a box for each re-supply point, and a “drift box” containing batteries, and other extras. The drift box goes to every rendezvous. All this stuff is stored at my house in Phoenix. I have to load my vehicle at the house, making sure that I have both drift boxes and the correct supply boxes for each re-supply point in the coming trail sections.
The first three sections of the hike include the Huachuca Mountains, East Canelo Hills, and West Canelo Hills. They extend from the Mexican border to the town of Patagonia. On Saturday, March 22, 2008, we moved all the gear (mostly mine) to Parker Canyon Lake – our base camp for the Huachuca Mountains section. I then took Dave, Terry, and Gary (Dave’s friend) to the parking lot at Montezuma Pass. From there, they hiked the two miles down to the Mexican border and back.
Sunday morning we all left at zero-dark-thirty and drove to Montezuma Pass once again. At dawn, the hikers began the over nineteen-mile trip that would take them across the Huachuca Mountains. I drove back to camp, cleaned up, and waited for the time when I would leave to rendezvous with them. It was Easter Sunday, and the campground was bursting with families out for the day. I wished that my wife and granddaughter were with me.
When the time came, I drove back to the trailhead to pick them up. I had been waiting about ten minutes, when along they came. They were tired, but happy to have completed the Huachuca Mountain leg. I drove them back to camp, and we all had a great supper.
Monday they did the East Canelo Hills section (a mere fifteen miles). I drove Dave and Terry over to the trailhead, and dropped them off – Gary only wanted to do the first section.
The next camp was at the end of the East Canelo Hills section at Canelo Pass. I packed all the gear and proceeded to Sonoita to gas up. I don’t like being out there with anything less than half a tank. While in Sonoita, I decided to have a meal of hamburger and fries. It sure was good! I felt guilty about enjoying it, so I bought two more for Dave and Terry to have for supper.
I went to Canelo Pass and made camp. I slept away the afternoon, and at 3:00 P.M. Dave and Terry arrived. We talked for a while before I told them about the hamburger meals. They really enjoyed them.
That day I developed a bad cold and decided to cut my camping short. I had planned to meet them in Patagonia, where we would eat, shower, and sleep in real beds before taking them to the start of the fourth section. Instead, the hikers repacked their food and water, and left Tuesday morning to continue on as scheduled.
I went home, but I will reconnect with Dave and Terry at Dave’s house in Rincon Valley on Sunday – their scheduled rest day.