I feel like I am starting to get into this hiking thing a little more now. My internal dialog is shutting off for longer stretches. I am just being where I am rather than thinking about where I am.
In principle this should make me more aware of my surroundings, but I flushed at least a dozen coveys of Gambel quail without ever once seeing them first even when they were right on the trail in front of me.
But they seem to have decided I am harmless. I heard a bit of commotion on a clearing ten yards from my camp and saw a bird fly up into a tree overlooking it. When I got up to investigate there were a good dozen quail in the clearing peacefully scratching around and the watch-quail did not sound the alarm at my approach.
Spent the day making a long slow gradual descent through the foothills of the Santa Ritas toward the basin that separates them from the Rincons. It looked like an easy hike on the map but was not. It turns out that climbing out of twenty 100-foot deep canyons is just about as hard as climbing a 2000-foot ridge.
Made first use of my chrome dome umbrella today and it made a noticeable difference in both my comfort and my water consumption. Spotted a couple other chrome domes miles ahead on the trail, they really stand out when the sun is blazing. They belonged to an elderly (i.e. older than me) couple from Maine who were fleeing their winter and were going to hike the AZT until they got tired of it. They seemed to be doing well so I hope they stay with it.
Also tried out my aluminum sulfate flocculation on some particularly scummy cow water that is the last reliable source for a dozen miles. It works but is slow. Letting it settle overnight and I should have a couple of not-green liters of water in the morning.