Mile 8, in the Huachuca Mountains

Well, it didn’t take long for the AZT to deliver its first ass-kicking.

Got picked up at the airport by Ken Morrow of Ken’s Shuttle Service and shared the ride down to the trailhead with Mike from Washington, a triple-crowner. Stopped in Sierra Vista to get some stove alcohol and a burger. Apparently Mike also has not gotten the memo about how dangerous and wicked alcohol stoves are. I believe they are considered nearly as risky as eating bacon by all right-thinking persons. We then headed up to Montezuma Pass by way of Coronado National Monument, which is the last chance to get water. Another hiker (Numbers from Indiana)was there, having been dropped off by an inferior shuttle service that does not do the last three miles and 1500 foot climb to the pass. Ken offered him a ride the rest of the way for $10, and he gladly accepted. Good choice. 

The road access at Montezuma Pass is 2 miles north of the border so we walked down together, took our border pix and turned north.

And uphill. It’s a 3000 foot climb in 6 miles, straight up the ridge of this sky island. It was a beast with a full pack. The Huachucas are but a single ridge, with no interior valleys, fully exposed to the winds sweeping over the grasslands. 

Made it to Bathtub Spring, the first water source on the trail at mile 8.5, just as the sun was setting. Waited a while for Mike and Numbers, but I think the elevation was slowing them down and night was coming on so I found a spot out of the wind that is howling over the ridge top.

I don’t especially like cooking dinner in the dark but dinner got cooked and eaten just fine while I watched the lights come out: stars above, Nogales below and to the west, Sierra Vista below and to the east. Pretty nice.

But I am definitely ready for an easier day of hiking tomorrow.