Buckey Johnson, a Crabtree, Montana local, infamous for his domesticated cat Steve; the oldest inbred domesticated cat west of the Mississippi, flew down to Arizona to interview ‘Chance,’ a Sky Island Traverse Thru-Hiker.
BJ: What is the Sky Islands Traverse?
C: A 525 mile desert backcountry route that links ten sky island ranges in southeast, Arizona.
BJ: Where does it start?
C: I started at the Cochise Stronghold trail in the Dragoon Mountains. Cochise was an Apache warrior who fought many battles against the American government. He died in the Dragoon Mountains in 1874.
BJ: Where does it end?
C: Silver Peak in the Chiricahuas, near the “unincorporated” community of Portal, Arizona; which is famous for its beauty and birding culture. At the cafe I met a man who had massive arm puncture wounds from a 15 minute camel attack.
BJ: How was the water situation?
C: I hiked in the spring from March 15-April 14, an unusually wet spring, so at most I carried 2 liters! But I’m a camel.
BJ: Is that so?
BJ: How was the tread?
C: When you’re not on the Arizona Trail, you’re mostly cross-country or on old trails that haven’t been maintained in a long time. The Galiuros, Santa Teresa’s, Pinalenos, Dos Cabezas, and Chiricahua were very challenging. My legs and arms were perpetually cut up from prickly shrubs like catclaw, and navigation was difficult even with a gps! Over time you learn to trust your trail instincts! You cannot have your head up your ass or you’ll get off route!