March 11th, 2017 ~ Day 351
One Day. Two Ranges. Challenge Accepted.
After literally falling out of bed this morning at 3 am, I got ready to head down to Tucson for the event Move Across Two Ranges. (Notice my picture is on the website😊) This will be my third time hiking this event. Last year while hiking the event, I made my decision to do this challenge and hike everyday for 365 days. I’m happy to be able to come back and do the event again 350 days later.
I had signed up with three hiking groups, hoping I could find someone to hike with. Last year I had hiked most of the trails alone. Hiking alone gives me a lot of time to think, which I like, but I’d rather hike with friends.
I found some of the Happy Hikers at the trailhead who had also signed up for Trail Mix. Capturing a photo of us as we were getting ready to start our hike, I was anticipating a great day. The first part of the event takes place in the Tortolita Mountain Range where we’ll hike 7 miles.
The previous two years I hiked this event I did the Massive 22 mile hike. I decided I didn’t want to do that long boring third trail ever again, so I signed up as a Mega Hiker, doing only 15 miles.
We began our hike heading a different direction than we had the last two years. To my surprise, we were hiking a different trail. I never looked at a map for the event. Maybe I should have, I probably would have signed up for the 22 miles, seeing as we are hiking on a totally new trail. I was a little disappointed I wouldn’t be seeing the other five miles of beauty in this mountain range.
I was enjoying this new trail. Especially since I have never been here. The views were breathtaking. Everything was fresh and new. So beautiful.
We had a good climb uphill and after about two miles, we made it up to see the other side of the valley. A beautiful wash lay below. As we waited on the rest of the group, I decided I was going to go on ahead. I knew it was going to be a long hike and stopping makes it worse for my legs. I left the group and began hiking alone.
Coming over the last of the uphill on this side on the Tortolita Mountain Range, I was excited to find more hills. Spectacular! So many more places to go hiking!!! My imagination running wild, hoping that one day I’ll have more opportunities to go exploring in this area.
The trails here are amazing. I’m not sure if they’re more beautiful than last year’s trail or if it’s because the trail is something I’ve never seen. I just know I’m in love with this amazing trail!
After about five miles I began heading back towards the trailhead at first through the sandy wash. The one I had seen high up on the mountain range. I didn’t stay in the wash too long. Before I knew it, I was heading back uphill on the other side of the Tortolita Mountain Range.
I met a girl on the trail who I ended up hiking out with. We talked about all our awesome hiking adventures and it made the end of the trail seem to go much faster. I love meeting new people on the trails. I actually ran into a couple I had hiked with a short while during last year’s event. Of all the hikers I’ve ever met in this life, I don’t believe I’ve ever met a bad soul. Hikers are such amazing people.
I did it! First Mountain Range, seven miles, completed. Now to drive over to the Catalina Mountain Range for the second hike of this event.
I made it to Catalina State Park in about thirty minutes, and after parking the car I began my hike. Immediately I felt the exhaustion as I began the second mountain range. This hike is another seven plus miles on the Romeo Pools Trail. After three and a half miles or so, you arrive at a creek with pools of water scattered about. It’s a beautiful hike and the pools are the highlight, that is, if you can get there.
Starting out on the flat trail that is just over a mile, I was feeling the heat. Holy cow, it was getting hot! My body doesn’t do well hiking in the heat.
The grass was so tall! Where were the leaves on the trees to shade me? I felt like I was dying and this trail had only just began.
Looking at the mountains ahead of me, not sure if I really want to do this. The heat was really getting to me. I hadn’t even hiked a mile at this point. With the sun’s rays beating down on me, there was little shade. I began to talk myself out of finishing this trail. I’ve hiked this trail twice before, so I wouldn’t be missing much. I sat down and took a break in a sliver of shade. I had to talk myself into completing this challenge. That’s what I was here for. I knew I could do it and I didn’t want to give up, so I got up and got moving.
I crossed the wash with horses on the trails. I just love seeing horses in the trails. Maybe one day I’ll go riding. I don’t remember if there was water here last year, but with all the rain we’ve had lately, I’m not surprised to see some today.
As I climbed higher up on the trail, I saw more views of the mountains behind the trail. I could only think about more possibilities to go exploring.
After a couple of miles of hiking, I met another new friend on the trail. He looked as exhausted as I felt. We talked and hiked. He was my motivator and kept my mind busy so I wasn’t thinking about quitting.
We climbed higher, the cholla standing tall and green, beginning their blooms,while looking out over the valley below.
After three and a half miles or so, we made it to Romeo Pools. This is what made the hike so worth it. Soaking my feel in the cold water was the most amazing feeling ever! After a snack and a foot soak, we headed back to the trailhead hiking out the way we had come in. Dreading the heat, but at least we would be heading downhill.
Heading back I ran into so many people on the trails from the hiking groups I signed up with. I didn’t really get to hike with anyone, but just saying hi was pretty awesome. To surround myself with so many people who share the love of hiking is an amazing thing.
We came to the end, or almost the end. Jason, my new friend and Bob, an old friend and hike leader for Hiking for Hops, both finished out the Romero Pools Trail with me. We still had to hike the last mile to get to the after party, but at least the hard part was done. We hiked along eventually going our separate ways.
Challenge Completed, and I was done! Almost 15 miles registered on my tracker. As hot as it was today, I’m so glad I only signed up as a Mega Hiker. It was a great day for a hike. This event is one of my favorites and I’m already looking forward to next year’s. Hopefully a little bit earlier so it won’t be so hot.
I had to hike a little ways to get the after party to hang out with my fellow hiking friends. I was already feeling much better by this point, better than I had felt while climbing that last mountain. We hung out for about an hour, eating the most amazing free salad ever, before I was off to meet Eric for our overnight camping excursion at Picacho Peak.
I made it to the campground and received a beautiful full moon. A great way to end the day!