Sunday, May 22, 2016 – 15.75 km
Due to early starts on the HT, I’ve been wondering why I always got moving so late on the Arizona Trail. Today’s frigid morning was a reminder. The AZT was fricking cold in the mornings, and today I huddled inside my sleeping bag until the sun rose high enough to warm my tent.
Today’s walk began with single-track on the Trezona Hike, which featured educational signage and the Ediacaran Golden Spike, the global reference point for the beginning of the Ediacaran Period. First defined in 2004, the Ediacaran was the first new geologic period to be defined in 120 years.
Discovering an itchy bump on my arm, I wondered what had bitten me until I saw mosquitoes hovering around. That seemed bizarre since I had seen none thus far (including 200 metres away at Middlesight Hut), there was no water in sight, and I had assumed that mosquito season was over. But okay, it’s not. And the mozzies were voracious too – I had to put on a long-sleeved shirt because the situation was turning into a bloodbath. I was hoping that they and the flies would mount some kind of holy war against each other, but unfortunately that didn’t happen.
The HT moved onto the Aroona to Youngoona Hike, which was also legitimate single track. National parks sure are nice. Approaching a lookout, I stopped to take a picture… inadvertently on some anthills built across the path. I felt something biting my legs and looked down and ants were swarming up my pants. Like spiders, ants are awesome and fascinating. They farm fungi, herd aphids and enslave other ants. I don’t want them swarming up my legs though, so in another ‘glad there’s no one else hiking this trail’ moment, I ran a short distance away, flung off my pack and started trying to remove my pants while shaking my legs. I eventually got most of the ants off, but one crawled out of my boot awhile later… I still love ants, but maybe not this particular species so much.
Rain began and I was feeling ready for the day to be over. Eventually I reached Aroona Campground, a big, car-accessible campground with multiple rainwater tanks and taps with spring water(?). Each campsite is large enough for about three RVs, so me and the car campers aren’t even within shouting distance of each other.
The sunset is the best I’ve ever seen.