North America Travel

The Wilderness of the Arizona Trail

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It is 7:30pm, day 4. We’ve already been walking for over 50 miles, set about 117,000 steps. Once again we hurried in our tent seeking its comfort and absurd feeling of security. But this time it is different. As darkness is surrounding us, so are the agonizing howls and yips of the coyotes calling one to another. This, in addition to the two snakes we’ve seen today, makes us more aware than ever that we’re setting foot on their grounds and that in their world, we are vulnerable.


Let’s see how we got here.

”Two big boxes to send to towns in Arizona, please!”
That was the first thing we had to do. One box was to be shipped at the motel we booked in Sierra Vista for the 29th, full of stuff we didn’t need for the hike. Even stuff we forced ourselves to believe we didn’t need. Like shampoo, Q-tip, a first-aid kit or even an extra pair of socks or extra t-shirt. The second box, more vital, contained more than 5 lbs of resupplies for our second week.

We sealed the boxes with way too much tape than necessary. Like two kids hiding their biggest treasures, scared that anyone might find and steal its content. The lady weighed the boxes, put the labels on them and we were all set! The boxes were ready to be shipped!
”That will be 40 bucks.”
Sure, no problem. Kenzi casually takes out his credit card….

Transaction denied.

Of course. We could write a whole book about all the credit card problems we’ve had while traveling abroad. We would name it “The ultimate guide to smiling even when your credit cards don’t work”, by a grumpy Kenzi.

That’s where you probably think. ”No problem! Everyone has a backup plan!”. Well, my friend, if you still believe that, you haven’t been reading our stories very well.
That is when strange guy #38 of probably the 47 strange guys we’ve met in less than 2 weeks asks us if he can buy the gas canister Aurélie was holding for 40$.

No was the only logical answer that crossed our minds because;
First and foremost, we didn’t want to eat dry, dehydrated food on our trip and secondly, as that canister was only worth $10, it would be a total rip-off, even for an apparently weird propane addict.

While walking back to get Aurélie’s card, we had an epiphany. Our then clearly too slow brain finally put one and one together. That guy was actually trying to pay for our shipping without explicitely saying it. That brings the amount of strange guys down to 46 and makes us regret we were too slow to thank his amazing generosity. 20 minutes later, the boxes were gone, our backpacks were much lighter and a couple of hours after that we were back again in that lovely place called Little Selvilla, the starting point of the section of the hike we would go for the next day.

It’s very early, too early if you ask me, when we hear the beautiful sound of the alarm clock. Brush teeth, unpitch, re-make bags, and our sleepy faces are good to go!

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And we started to walk. Eager to start something new while at the same time anxious of what was ahead. We started fresh with our energy levels at their peak, feeling invincible. Nothing could stop us. We wouldn’t even get tired. Nor hungry. Or thirsty even. Hiking long distance difficult? Chortle

Of course we got thirsty, and hungry, and tired. After around 5 miles of walking Aurélie’s nose started bleeding like there was no end to it. We’re still not sure of the cause; the heat, her wandering fingers or Kenzi’s too smelly farts. Our feet started to hurt, Aurélie’s hands tripled in size and we could start feeling our muscles burn. And not only from the sweltering heat.

“Squats to get a bum? Forget it ladies, go hiking!

I thought I was prepared, I mean, I had to. I had been holding onto Kayla Itsiness’ bikini body guide like a Bible for 10 full weeks. On leg days, she had made me squat and jump and do burpees until I would scream like Serena Williams on a tennis court. I couldn’t possibly start feeling the too well known burning feeling of tiring muscles on the first day? But I did.”


We didn’t have much choice than to continue walking with sore feet, legs, shoulders and all other body parts we don’t even know the name of. At the end of each day Aurélie would turn into a stretching teacher and afterwards we would fall asleep like babies before the clock even hit 8pm.

On the third day, it wasn’t the alarm that woke us up. Gunshots. And then silence again. More gunshots. 2, 4 … 7. The sound afar woke us up quite abruptly. Still sleepy, we weren’t sure if we had to call 911 or just think “meh.. America”.

We had covered a couple of miles when suddenly, in the middle of nowhere, we heard a shrieking sound that made us shiver down our spine. We still don’t fully comprehend what it sounded like, something almost human-like. A sound in between a crying baby, a singing child or a tortured animal. It is only later that we learned from locals that it probably was a mountain lion. We quickly walked away from that place and set up camp to the most beautiful spot we had seen until now.

Day 4. It is the first day we have enough energy left to try to write a little bit. Our bodies still hurt but we get used to the pain. We realize that the wilderness can be scary. We wonder how we would react in case a pack of coyotes or a mountain lion came close to our tent. We quickly wanted to get these thoughts away so we started writing.

Day 5. We are almost in Patagonia, more than a day ahead of schedule, the lovely town where we could finally rest for a bit. We started getting used to hiking and instead of the 10 miles a day we were supposed to cover, we covered 12, or even 13 miles per day. We were craving that delicious cappuccino that was waiting for us in the only coffeeshop in town. And a shower.

It is 2pm, day 6 on the arizona trail. We have walked 85 miles but still have another 53 to go before we are at the Mexican border. This time we didn’t hurry into our tent, no. We found a lovely “Bed no Bread” in the small town of Patagonia. The yipping sound of the coyotes have been replaced by the roaring of cars. We feel safer here, it is an environment we know, one that conforts us. We’ll soon return to the wilderness of Arizona, back to the unknown. But first, we are going to enjoy one, or even two, well-deserved days of rest in Patagonia.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Bart
    February 27, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    It definitely were Kenzi’s too smelly farts !!! :)))
    Kenzi-ken, quel courage, mais quelle idée…. ! :))
    Profitez-en !

    • Reply
      Tako Yacki
      February 29, 2016 at 8:37 pm

      Hahahaha Bartje bartje bartje.. I’ll let you smell my natural gases!

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