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Saguaro NP: 1 night with extra coyotes, please
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Margaret Snyder
(jetcash) - F

Locale: Southern Arizona
Saguaro NP: 1 night with extra coyotes, please on 02/04/2008 12:28:57 MST Print View

My girlfriend and I hiked up the Douglas Springs trail to the camp of the same name Saturday afternoon in the usual beautiful Tucson weather (60 F. sunny). Dark comes around 6 and we didn't leave until just after 1, so we booked it up 6 mi with 2000' elevation change. Turns out we're faster than we thought; we strolled into the campsite just after 4. We were concerned about water since it hadn't rained in over a week and the water fall we passed at mile 3 was like a watering can. We started with 3L between us. As we got up higher the drainages had more and more water flowing. Whew! Turns out the spring at the campground was raging with pools big enough to lie in.

This was Molly's first time backpacking and she had picked a perfect campsite; sheltered from the wind, flat and with a good soil layer to hold tent stakes. After setting up camp and having something to eat we made a little fire and watched the sun go down. After dark I was collecting sticks with my headlamp on when I notices a set of green eyes watching me from 25 yards near a small tributary of the spring. Yikes! Molly promptly put all the food in the bear box. I yelled at it at threw a rock, but the coyote didn't go away. After we watched each other for about 10 minutes I noticed another pair of eyes further away. This coyote barked to the other, then approached us as well. The coyotes talked for a minute then headed off down the wash, stopping to give us a last once over before disappearing. We were the only people in the campground. so we were glad to see them go.

After that we retired to the tent. Overnight low was probably about 30 F, there was frost in the morning. Hung around then hiked back out around 11 taking it easy on the constant downhill and reaching the trailhead at 2 pretty sore from booking it the day before. By then my vitamin I had worn off. It was blessedly overcast and windy so we weren't sweating bullets like the day before.

What worked:
Seedhouse SL2: 1st time on the trail. I'm impressed. Though it would be chilly because of the abundance of mesh, but we were ok. Just the right size for a cuddly couple of 140 lb. girls.
Vapor Ki: Molly had this one 1st then we switched 1/2way through to change it up. It was the Cadillac of packs. I didn't want to give it back.
Double pads for insulation: Prolite 3 shorts on top of a ridgerest short for me and a gossamer nightlight for Molly. We were well insulated from the ground and very comfy.
Trekking poles: Awesome! I can feel today that my arms got a workout and I didn't fall in any streams like I usually do.

What didn't work:
Golite Infinity: The hip belt is too narrow and sits in a weird place on me, putting pressure on the lower bones.
Slumberjack SuperGuide 30 F: Molly had this and was still chilly with all her clothes and a down vest, while I was toast in a poly tshirt, capilenes, and wool socks in my Lafuma warm'n'light 800. So she got to wear some of my clothes, too.
Sweetwater filter: Too much of a pain and too heavy. This would have been a good place for AquaMira since the water was flowing fast and free of particulates.

Edited by jetcash on 02/04/2008 12:31:17 MST.

Brett Tucker
(blister-free) - F

Locale: Puertecito ruins
Saguaro NP: 1 night with extra coyotes, please on 02/04/2008 18:25:59 MST Print View

Sounds like a fun trip, campsite-acclimated coyotes possibly notwithstanding.

As you discovered, a good soaking rain sticks around for a while in those desert ranges. Should be a good bloom this year, too.