Day 6. Enter the Land of Living Pillars.

3/12/15 mile 102 to 122. 20 miles.
Woke up to a killer sunrise and hit the trail a little later than usual because we needed to filter water from twin tanks pond. It was muddy, gross water and I even had a damselfly nymph swimming frantically in my dirty water bottle, but it’s the last water source until La Posta Quemada ranch in 17 miles.



Most of the morning walk was a pretty flat and as we got even lower in elevation the wildflowers really started showing up. All sorts of tiny but pretty flowers were all along the trail most of the day. Once we hit the valley bottom it was dominated by various new cacti as well as the usual prickly pears barrel cactus and cholla, but now a new extraordinarily prickly cholla showed up along with a tiny precious little cactus with bright red fruits. 

dried up mushroom in the desert!these cholla don’t mess around

barrel cactus fruit look like little pineapples! They don’t smell or taste very good. I tried.neat flax species! 1 of 3 I saw this day.

It also remained very cloudy all day long which was a nice break, especially because we were in a very low open area with no shade at all. 
We reached the Gabe Zimmerman trailhead and had a long snack there. As we ate a father and daughter came and talked to us for a bit about their birding excursion today. They also talked to us about the trail and how it had been. As they were leaving they came and brought us some cheese and cut up apples. Hell yea! Two things we have been craving. 

Snapped this killer pic of a blister beetle cleaning its antenna on a blue dicks flower.

We then crossed a bridge over a small creek filled with bright green cottonwood trees. Down in the creek was a little kinda nasty looking stream. It’s not in my data book but if you needed water in this 17 mile dry stretch, you could get down there somehow. It’s immediately after the Zimmerman trailhead. As soon as you cross this bridge you also cross into a new habitat and a grand one at that. The saguaro cacti began showing up everywhere! We hadn’t seen a single one until today. They just appear en mass and in the same vicinity as the saguaros are the paloverde trees. A cool green barked tree, all of which are currently leafless. 

first saguaro!young saguaros seem to frequent paloverde tree shade.

what a beauty!

We reached La Posta Quemada ranch around 2 pm. It is a beautiful place and the people there were super friendly. The guy in the shop talked to us a bunch and let us charge all our devices he also gave me my resupply box that I mailed there. Unfortunately Bill Muarry’s package didn’t show up, but she said she can get by for another two days until Tucson. The shopkeeper even called saguaro national forest and helped us get a permit to camp at Grass Shack tomorrow night. The last permit available 🙂
The little grill there was great too, I had a delicious cheeseburger and a western hotdog with pico de gallo on it. Bill Muarry got 2 helpings of quesadillas and Slugger got a burger too. Slugger came in about an hour and a half after us and said he saw a Gila monster AND a western diamondback and he had some awesome pictures to prove it. I am so jealous. I want to see them both so bad!
We hung out at the ranch a few hours and then walked a few miles towards a campsite by the trail with water faucets at La Selvilla picnic area. We set up camp under an awning for picnics because it looked like it might  rain and any structure is fair game to camp. There is also a family camped here and their pitbull keeps running full speed over here and plays with us for a few minutes and the runs back I her family and then back to playing with us. Eventually they invite us over to their campfire and offer us macaroni and cheese and hotdogs and S’mores. We happily accept! We all already ate dinner but I have no difficulty eating a big plate of macaroni and cheese and hotdog, and get a Pepsi for the morning. Love trail magic! We chat with them until about 7:30 when we all get really sleepy so we call it a night. A short and beautiful day coming up tomorrow. I’ll be using my macro camera a bunch I bet. I have some killer photos of insects and flowers I’ll put up once I find a computer with a USB port! 

they like growing right out of rock!go home cactus, you’re drunk.

I took my socks off for the first time in almost a week. You read correctly, I haven’t even taken the pair of socks I put on in Ohio off one time. I don’t know why but I’ve noticed that if I just leave a pair on and don’t mess with them, don’t try switching pairs I get zero blisters or rubbing pain. My feet are immaculate other than being a little dusty. It’s so dry out here that your feet don’t stay wet and sweaty long so that’s not a problem. Also my dirty girl gaiters one of my favorite pieces of equipment. They stop almost all the rocks, dust, and especially grass seeds and pine needles that otherwise get in your shoe and poke you or get grit in them that wears away your socks. They’re totally worth it just by prolonging the life of your socks and less time stopping and picking rocks from your shoes. I also noticed that your shoes never come untied either because no sticks or whatever catch on your laces. And they’re super lightweight! Anyway, my feet are weird. This is what they like. 

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