Saturday, March 30, 2013 – 22 km
Today I hiked up to Manning Camp in the Rincons. It was a slog, but I solemnly swear that 1500 m (5000 ft) of elevation gain on a cloudy day is much easier than walking for a day through the low desert in the sun. Yes, cloudy – absent for once was the picturesque blue sky, but tall, dark and ominous is how I like my mountains.
On the way up I met another thru-hiker, Baja. Two in two days? What madness is this? We parted after a brief talk and when I met him again, he was washing clothing in a pool of water. When he saw me he jumped up quickly, like a child with stolen cookies. I was not impressed. Someone will definitely use that pool as a water source at one point, and they don’t want sock juices in it.
At Manning Camp I reunited with Pops, who’s also staying at Manning Camp tonight. There are two other campers, two women staying one night at Manning Camp and one night at Grass Shack. They have tons of experience backpacking in Arizona and I enjoyed talking to them about the AZT and getting their perspective on various segments. One of the women has an old external frame backpack! I want it! (I don’t know why, since I wouldn’t use it… it’s like wanting a collectable action figure…)
I’m sharing a campsite with Pops. It’s far away from the outhouse and when I went there in the dark before going to sleep, I had trouble finding my way back. This headlamp is terrible! Eventually I had to use my GPS. Not my proudest moment, but I got back safely to my tent and Pops’ snoring.