Up and on the trail yesterday well before sunrise, hoping to beat the sun to the top of the divide a thousand feet and several miles above me.
The ridge gained, I took a more measured pace down toward Picketpost Mountain and the town of Superior. Quite a few mountain bikers whizzed by me but the main attraction was the flowers. The south facing hillsides were covered with what I believe are Desert Marigolds laying down a solid base of yellow to offset the stately green saguaros and rickety ocotillos.
The bees are as active as one might expect with this floral abundance. A few times I heard swarms passing by but could not spot them. Yesterday I spotted a dense swarm of maybe 30 feet diameter. Unfortunately for me, much of the swarm extended across the trail and there was no way around. I contemplated the situation for a few moments then decided to trust in the good nature of the bees. I ran through the swarm, bees bouncing off my face and sunglasses. But no bees took offense, and I continued through the flowerscape unstung.
I filled up with brown water at a cow tank, but rejoiced to find clean water cached for hikers at a road crossing.
I reached the trailhead, which is a couple miles from the highway, put up my chrome umbrella and stuck out my thumb. The first car that passed slowed down to look at my bizarre sun shade and apparently decided that anyone so foolish looking could not be a danger. They gave me a ride all the way into Superior even though they were headed the other way.
I’m at the Copper Mountain Motel, a run down place in a run down town. The manager is friendly enough and wants to be helpful but keeps getting distracted and disappearing, sometimes in the middle of a task. She stripped my room right away but did not replace the sheets and towels before vanishing from the premises for several hours. The unmarked cop car that sat idling in front of the office for over an hour did little to boost my confidence in the legitimacy of this establishment.
Repeated visits to the office eventually roused a teenage boy from the living quarters behind it and he apologetically made my room after a few weary sighs when I made my request for linens and laundry.
Several other hikers arrived this morning and have had no success checking in. However as we were hanging out drinking beer outside my room a rangy man with a gray ponytail and heavily torn jeans retrieved a package from the motel mailbox and cryptically announced that “she will be ready soon.” That was an hour ago, no manager has yet appeared.