Yes, Four Loko was back on the Arizona Trail, together again today, full of energy to knock out segment 18. Kept a good pace all day, with a moving average of about 3 mph for the trip.
Started out trying to get a AZT picture for Denny's scrapbook, but his camera wasn't awake yet and just wasn't interested. We griped and moaned until Denny cried uncle and we left, vowing to get another shot at the next big AZT sign we came to. Not everyone enjoyed this trip, but I did quite a bit. Nice variety of cactus, we saw a crested saguaro and there were several places where I could see 5-6 different varieties of cactus all in one spot (ocotillo, saguaro, prickly pear, hedgehog, chain, barrel and teddy bear). One spot was literally a cholla forest. Then as we went along, views of the Supes got better and better. After we crested Montana Mountain, W-O-W. Nice. Could see Four Peaks to the north, Flatiron/Peak 5057/Weavers to the west, and Picacho & Lemmon to the south!
Deer were definitely around, at one spot we saw 6 at once. Further down the trail some guy was walking around in his boxers with a beer in his hand, having just bagged a deer. Needless to say we didn't stick around too long there.
Nice little deer, and he was happy, first deer he bagged in 6 years he said. Other hunters and ATVers were out all along the road to Rogers Trough, we noticed on the way back.
At one point about 1/3 of the way in, Joe wanted to stop to have a snack. We stopped at a point where there was a cool looking peak to the right that wasn't too far off, so I took the opportunity to jog up to the top. Nice views, with very interesting rock layers. A significant layer of the rock were small smooth stones that looked like they were cemented together, my guess is it was an ancient seabed. After I made the peak and turned around to come back down, I saw a plaque on the backside of the mountain. Turns out it was a couple whose ashes were scattered on this little peak and a marker was there to signify it. An old plastic tupperware container (my guess was what the family carried the ashes up in) was left there, but the elements had broken the tupperware down to the point it was just plastic bits in a pile. Photos with their names and dates are in this photoset, if you want to stop by and pay your respects, the marker's coordinates are N33.32316 W111.15125.
Interesting noise got louder as we approached what we are guessing was a well deeping operation in a cattle pin area off the FR650. Also at one point walked through what was and old cattle or horse pin that was done entirely by piling up rock (Denny thought it was another Circlestone
One of the best ways to get through a nice elevation gain is to get distracted in interesting conversation, and Joe and I jumped from one topic to another and before we knew it we realized that we were about 3/4 of the way up Montana Mtn.
Now that I'm using a SPOT, I programmed the custom message to send a text message to Denny's sister picking us up when were were at the 90 minutes to ETA, more or less. As a backup we had already guessed that we would make it there at 2:30pm, and we were there at 2:15pm, pretty good guess! She showed up at 2:27, so we didn't have to wonder long if she could handle that road before we heard the diesel engine of her Ford coming around the corner!
She made it a point to tell us that she taught Denny how to drive, and I believe it. She handled those bumps, hills and hairpin turns like a pro.