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Lost in the desert April 6, 2007

Posted by SL in Chatter.
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So, I spent most of the week at our plant in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. Lot’s of flying, driving, and working over three days, leaves little time to workout, but I didn’t let the great desert weather go to waste. I got out a couple mornings (only 45F) and one afternoon (82F) in Nogales. It is amazing how quickly it cools off at night. 

I returned to Tucson on Wednesday night so that I wouldn’t have to rush back on Thursday morning to catch  my flight home. This presented an opportunity to get in a run on some real trails that I had never seen before.

So, I got up early, did a little work, then headed over the mountains to Saguaro National Park/Tucson Mountain Park. I dig NP’s, so the plan was to do a 7.8 mile loop. The Visitor Center didn’t open till 9, but I had printed a “map” from the park website.

http://www.nps.gov/sagu/

 http://www.nps.gov/sagu/planyourvisit/upload/Trails%20in%20the%20Tucson%20Mountain%20District.pdf

http://www.saguaro.national-park.com/map.htm

I’m lucky I did that. I thought I had the route to the top of Wasson Peak planned perfectly. I was running with my camera (I need to get the film developed, so no photos yet) and a bottle (you would have to be real fool to skip this necessity). I thought I would be done in 2 hours and that would give me a safe amount of time to get back to the motel for a shower before returning the rental (PT Cruiser!) and catching the flight home.

On the way down from the peak on the back side of the loop, I got a little confused with the trail markers. I recall pausing for a while to figure it out. I made my choice and kept running. Bad move. I knew something was wrong as I went down, down down, but I was committed so I got to the end of the trail and confirmed that I was a long ways from the car. Total rookie mistake. Chalk it up to one water bottle in the heat, a lousy map (no topo), not having Debbie (my navigator) with me, and my haste to make the flight.

The result of the faux pas was an additional 5 miles on dirt and asphalt roads to get back to the car. I had to hammer. I was cutting it close, and I was whipped….and way out of water. I tried to hitch, but none of the 15 or so vehicles that passed me would stop, including a ranger (???). I did take a quick detour when I passed the Visitor Center to get a stamp for my National Parks Passport. Unfortunately, I decided to take a shortcut to avoid taking the access road to the Center, and bumped a cactus in the rush. It is embarassing to injure yourself in a parking lot. Ouuuch! I coudn’t get the piece that broke off out of my arm. There were easily 20 spines stuck in my arm. It was brutal. That was my payback for all the wrong choices! Several spines broke off under my skin and made the trip back to CT with me. Needless to say, it was a nice workout on a nice morning and I can’t complain about the 75F heat. I wish I had a photo of my salt covered face at the finish. I could feel the moisture being sucked from my skin. I can tell you one thing, AZ is a playground! No regrets and this one looks good on Google Earth!

http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/2402475

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Comments»

1. artroti - April 6, 2007

Nice! Sounds like you got bit by a Choya. They hurt. I hit one MTBing in the desert last year.

Way to turn it into a mini-Epic.

2. air9r - April 7, 2007

I looked at your data. Looks a bit arid and brown out there. Then I saw the HR…12+ miles…one bottle. Pretty close to one of those weather channel episodes of , “I Shouldn’t Be Alive!”

Good thing you are one tough MoFo.


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