Mile 83, near Bowman Spring

Smooth sailing today. Shared the campsite last night with Jerry, who is hiking the AZT to mark his retirement. He was cooking his dinner when I rolled in about 4:30 and we had a nice chat but he got in his sleeping bag immediately after and I heard no more from him. He is toting a pretty big pack and said he had already skipped a section of the trail to recuperate from the damage it was causing him to carry it. He is at the stage now where people either bail out or become addicted to long distance hiking. He was in good spirits in this morning so perhaps it’s the latter.

A quick 1500 foot climb brought me to the shoulder ridge of the Santa Ritas, and a view of the next sky island on my land cruise itinerary, the Rincons. They consist of two masses, one a rounded loaf (Mica Mountain), the other a cylindrical apex (Mt Rincon), both solid blue above the yellow grasslands that stretch the 50 miles between me and them.

From the shoulder, the walking was easy and mostly downhill. Other mountains across the valley seemed to glide by, much like distant icebergs. You never see them move, but every time you look up, they are in a slightly different place.

Water so far has been plentiful, at least by the standards of Arizona. I did have to dip some cow water out of a stagnant pool yesterday, but otherwise have been able to obtain clean spring and creek water. I made a quarter mile detour off the trail down to the secluded canyon that holds Bowman Spring, as the next good water is 9 or 10 miles distant. It is still and deeply quiet now, the stars just coming out for another show. It’s good to be here.