Monday, August 18, 2014

Day 28: The Mazatzal Wilderness

May 10: The trail started off extremely difficult this morning. It ran down McFarland Canyon and followed a largely dry creekbed. The creekbed itself was easy to follow, but the loose dirt and overgrown conditions made it difficult to walk on and it was easy to miss the trail whenever it left the creekbed. I nearly missed an important turnoff that led out of the creekbed and high into the mountains where it was so overgrown I often had times figuring out exactly where the trail went.

After two strenuous hours of walking, I had covered a mere 3 miles. That was about half my usual speed and I hoped this wouldn't become another "Passage 19." I still had bad memories from Passage 19, and Passage 22 was quickly evolving into something like it.

Fortunately, once the trail reached Thicket Spring, the trail improved dramatically. Those three horrible miles were the worst the trail would dish out today. The only person I saw today was a hiker and his dog looking for Thicket Spring. I couldn't help much with pointing it out--I hadn't stopped there and it was a bit off from the trail. We talked for a few minutes, then continued onward in opposite directions.

Most of the day was spent in the Mazatzal Wilderness which provided plenty of scenic vistas throughout the day. The only barely noteworthy thing to happen--I was hiking along a steep slope. The Arizona Trail was largely flat going sideways across the slope, but when I applied my full weight to my left foot near the edge of the trail, the trail slid out from under me and my foot followed it down. My right knee banged hard against the trail and left it pretty bruised and sore. The next few days, I'd feel that pain in my right knee from the experience, but at least my knee still felt solid. After I sprain an ankle, it's tender and makes it all the more prone to spraining a second time. My knee pains hurt--especially going up and down steep areas, but it wasn't the kind of pain that would lead to more problems later. Just another inconvenient sore point on my body!

The trail through the creekbed was hard to walk on because of the loose
sand and overgrown conditions.
An old mine shaft.
I'd love to know what kind of spider created this web--but I never saw any!
It seemed like it must have been big, though. Do tarantulas make stuff like this?
Heading into the Mazatzal Wilderness!
Apparently, they forgot to bring nails when they carried this sign out to the
wilderness boundary....
This is the mysterious #3 sign. In my data book, it's described as "3 sign."
What's the 3 mean, though? No idea. It's not a trail junction. It isn't
three miles from anywhere. There's not a "1 sign" or a "2 sign."
I never did figure out the mystery of this "3 sign."
I could clearly see that there was a large reservoir in the distance, but
the trail goes nowhere near it and didn't show up on any of my maps so
I had no way of knowing what it was called.

Snake on the trail! (It's head is on the right side of the photo.)

The trail went over this rock, and I just liked the pattern the layers
of rock made which is why I took this photo. =)

Moonrise over the Mazatzal mountains.
The sunset here was particularly nice! =)


Kristin aka Trekkie Gal said...

I would suspect that the spider that made that funnel-shaped web is a funnel-web spider.

hal said...

I spy sign #4 in the next to last photo.

Ryan said...

TG: I'll buy the funnel-web spider theory! =)

Hal: No, that's just a generic Arizona Trail marker. A broken one at that! No numbers on it--and the purpose for it is quite obvious! At least it's obvious up close! =)

-- Ryan

Sally said...

Extra Beautiful pictures!

Unknown said...

That's a good name for a spider. =)

If it were the south, I'd say it could be a "wolf"
spider, but I'm not sure that they're far west as the AZ trail..
nothing like seeing a spider the size of the palm of your hand peeping out of the ground at ya. Lol