Mile 319, snakes and bees

The waitress at the cafe last night said she’d give us a ride back to the trailhead, giving us her number and telling us to call at 6am. No answer. But no matter either as we got a ride within 5 minutes by hitching.

The trail enters the heart of the Superstitions here, mounting them on the remote east side and then traversing them west nearer to Phoenix.

Saw a beautiful Coral snake today that squeaked and creaked at me as it exited the trail. A few miles later a hissing sound caused me to look back and see an angry-looking Diamondback about 6 feet behind me. He held his ground for a minute, allowing me to get some video before he moonwalked away.

An unhappy rattlesnake

A big hot dry climb over the shoulder of Montana Mountain. The trail was direct, not bothering with switchbacks. I suspect the trails in these mountains are remnants of old mining trails. Miners had no compunction about whipping their heavily loaded animals straight up and down mountainsides, as that would have been the most direct route to bring in supplies or ship out ore. The comfort or enjoyment of their donkeys was probably not much of a factor in route selection. So I guess one of the attractions of the AZT in this section is that I will get to re-enact the experience of a 19th century mining donkey.

Stopped to examine a swarm in an oak tree below the ridge we crossed and found myself getting stung and chased a few hundred yards. Running uphill that far with a pack is not easy but these bees were persistent.

Christopher, whom I met in Superior, was walking behind me and I feared that I had riled up the hive and they would attack him aggressively. He did indeed get chased but escaped unstung. We continued on to the Rogers Trough trailhead and a little beyond, and found a nice bee-free camping area with a cool clear stream down below. Camping near running water is a rare luxury on the AZT, and we lounged by the spring for a good hour, enjoying therapeutic foot soaks and a chance to rinse off the dirt and sweat of the hike. More of this, please.