April 4, 2015
An old neighbor from my Ohio adolescense drops me off at the Lost Dutchman’s trail west of Phoenix around noon. This is the start of the Grand Enchantment “Trail” for those heading East to Albuquerque.
The route begins in the Superstition Mountains. Legend has it there’s a hidden mine near Weaver’s Needle with a shit load of gold, and some people have died trying to find it. You can read more about it here.
“Out for the night?” a man asks in passing. “No, Albuquerque!” He pauses and appears bewildered. But I’m bewildered too, one moment I’m sucking down ice and soda on a plane, the next gazing up at saguaros and rusty colored rock formations. I have never been to Arizona, but I’m glad I’m seeing it this way.
I feel like I’m interrupting some grand saguaro rendezvous. “Pardon Me.” I quietly make my way through.
This is the desert of my cowgirl dreams, where the road runner and coyote played with death, where Native peoples thrived, and Gila Monsters lurk.
After 4 miles I have it all to myself, the day hikers have gone back to their cars. The trail becomes more obscure as the day wanes. My goal is Tortilla Creek but I’m two miles short at dark and decide to backtrack to a stagnant black puddle. And for the first time in 6 years I treat my water.