Monday, May 21, 2012
A lot of things went wrong today and I didn't particularly enjoy this hike of 7 miles, BUT I persevered and did it. Wilson Canyon is in Red Rock Country in northern AZ and I wanted to hike here because it should have been cooler than the 104 degrees in Scottsdale.
I was ready to go and my husband tells me he doesn't feel like going even though we had planned our day the night before. So I finished getting my backpack ready, told him I was going and left in what he considered "a huff."
For every mile north I kept looking at my outside temperature gauge expecting it to drop, but the temperature didn't get below 82 degrees. This is okay for me if there is a breeze and the trail has shade. No shade, minimal breeze.
It's a 2 hour drive and when I got to the canyon, I called DH I was there and what trail I would be on. Then I realized my camel back was leaking from being dropped with frozen water in it. I tried to repair a small tear with an occlusive bandage from my first aid kit which helped some but didn't completely stop the leak. This meant a walk back to the ranger station to purchase two liters of water.
I take out my camera to take some pictures of the blooming prickly pear and hedgehog cacti and the battery is dead. I can't use my phone camera because I don't want to use up the charge. Bummer, bummer and you don't get to see pictures of the beautiful cacti.
It's getting hot and I stop under a tree for some shade and rest. I stepped over a rock onto a fairly steep gradient and too late realize this hillside is really just loose dirt. I fall and slid on my belly for about twenty feet before I self-arrest. My knee is cut and bleeding and I have a deep scrape on my ankle on the opposite leg. No big deal, but what was gross were all the gnats clustered in the blood. Oh, and of course there was the problem of how do I get back up to the trail? I struggled for 35 minutes trying to gain a purchase and finally was able to wriggle sideways, grab a tree branch and pull myself up. Good news...I have a first aid kit and bug spray in my pack.
I reach my turn around point and start back when I feel a blister developing on the ball of my right foot in spite of the fact I am wearing heavy hiking boots and two pairs of good socks. Under a tree again where I put Vaseline on the ball of my foot and cover it with two heavy duty Band-Aids. This seems to help for the next two miles, but I've still got two miles left back to the trailhead. Stop again and take one of the two socks off my good foot, fold up the paper map and put it inside the sock and put that sock on the foot with the blister. So, three socks, two Band-Aids and a folded paper map get me back to the car.
The numerous stops for rest and first aid have now delayed my time enough that DH will be worried I haven't called. But I'm still in wilderness and so no cell phone towers for a connection. However, I can text, but DH is texting illiterate, so I text my niece in Seattle. She will respond and call DH and tell him I am fine and about a mile and a quarter from the trailhead.
Back at the trailhead, I report trail conditions to the ranger (very hot, lots of bugs, no rattlesnake sightings), rest a bit in the shade and then start my 2 hour journey back home. I want to call DH I'm on my way home, but text has used up my remaining cell phone charge. No problem, I have a charger in the car. Oh no, phone is indicating I need a new battery and will not charge.
When I arrive home, DH is in a panic, sure I am dead, and has called the Scottsdale police, the Sedona, AZ police and the ranger station, in spite of the fact that my niece did call him. He apparently misunderstands the message even though she read it to him exactly as I texted it: This is not an emrgncy. Call Andy I'm fine and 1 1/4 mile from trailhead and d car. Very slow and too damn hot
Soooo, for the good news...I hiked 7 miles in the heat and didn't die; not that I ever thought that I would. From my perspective the most troubling aspect of this hike was avoiding the cow piles on the trail. This is open range country and apparently the cattle do not have a designated bathroom. :) There were some great views of red rocks, it was peaceful and the cacti were prolific and beautiful. Oh, and I also burned 1177 calories. WooHoo