Day 15. Lolly gagging 

Mile 302 to 322. 20 miles.
Woke up with a weird taste in my mouth and went over to the sink and notice my teeth and tongue were black. Like really black. What the hell was wrong with me?! I didn’t eat any black food or anything that would stain my mouth from last night! I googled why my mouth was black and found out an interesting thing. Pepto bismol can make your mouth turn black if you take it and then also eat foods high in sulphur, like the processed microwaveable crap I’d been eating. The heavy metal bismuth in the Pepto bismol reacts with sulphur making some new compound that stains black. It’s harmless but gave me a good scare. It left with a tooth brushing. 
Hit the trail about 8:30 am and decided since I didn’t need to go far today I’d just take it easy. I also need to go slow because I have a box at the Roosevelt Lake Marina and they’re not open Sunday according to Google so I can’t get there tomorrow either. 
I ran into a family that was out for a day hike and got talking to them about the trail, they were interested in it and offered me grapes, organic dark chocolate covered cherries and a liter of water. How could I say no?! I love when this happens, you run into strangers and they just make your day. So generous are other hikers. Thanks! 
Walking up the canyon I stopped in my tracks as I noticed a perfectly round coil in the shade of a saguaro right on the trail. Another big western diamondback rattlesnake! I approached him slow so not to startle him and was able to take some super good pictures of him from just a few feet away without him moving. As I was walking around him to continue on my way he ran into the nearby bushes in the opposite direction to get away from me. The way he was intertwined in the bush made it so he could swing back and strike at me to I just had to touch his rattle. It felt cool! He flicked it about one second and continued on his way. 😊 I love rattlesnakes.  

 

I took a lunch break about 12 miles into the day by the small stream that was flowing in the canyon. I hung out here for almost an hour and a half just taking pictures, eating and filtering water. I flipped a rock over near the trail and whoa!!! I found a western banded gecko! I forgot they were even out here! So neat! They’re a terrestrial, nocturnal little gecko and they’re soooo soft! 
  
Then I started the steep climb of the day up and over 5000 feet in elevation. I got stuck behind a herd of cattle who I followed almost a mile behind as they tried running away from me by walking north on the trail… the way I was going. They were also nice enough to spray diarrhea that whole mile I was right behind them. Such lovely animals. 
I got to the Rogers trough trailhead and ran into some people out for a day hike. I chatted with Chuck and Helen for about a half hour and talked about the trail. A few more hikers came up and talked for a bit too and even gave me a liter of Gatorade! Delicious! Hiking in a popular area on the weekend has its perks!!  

  Arizona? Blister beetle in a poppy

I set up camp along the trail and ate a ton of food. The good stuff ya know? Stuff like snyders honey mustard pretzels, Pringles, snicker doodle cookies, lemonheads and combos. The things that fuel a hiker. Salty and savory. It’s all about the calories baby. It’s feeling rather chilly here tonight. There is also water everywhere after the trailhead due to the big thunderstorm yesterday!  

 Camp among the sycamores tonight

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