Section 3: Yuma to Nogales


Day 27

13 miles




We woke up in a good mood knowing we’d see family and town today. Kinda like Christmas Eve.

Even though we still had a decent amount of miles to make, the day felt lazy and full of time. Just one more cup of coffee?

We had seen our first fellow campers the night before, and hearing the sounds of their morning preparations filled us with a calm sense of safety and well-being. We cooked extra breakfasts and lay around in our sleeping bags well past the respectable time for a hiker to start hiking. Not our typical morning of gearing up to face the day.






When we finally made it out, we passed by the other campsite and couldn’t resist scoping it out. We’d had a lot of speculation the night before as to who our fellow campers were; their ages, background, and reason for being here.


Based on their voices, we’d guessed they were in their mid to late twenties. This was affirmed as we passed by them and exchanged waves and a grin. They had multiple tents set up, as well as chairs, a table, firewood, and lots of food. Ya, luxurious! All of the car campers we had seen so far had a similar amount of gear, but everyone else had zipped past us and camped far away. We felt a definite kinship with these similarly-aged and friendly fellow adventurers.


Shortly after we left the campground a vehicle stopped and explained they were headed for the campers.

We were able to ask a couple questions about what they’re all doing out here. Hmm? The group goes to Arizona State and one of the guys, Gabe, is working on a thesis paper that explores water sources in the area!

Shoot. Wish we had been able to talk with them. They might have been able to solve the mystery of the Tule Tanks, and where the heck they were. Plus, people. We’ve been pretty scarce on human interactions these days. A missed opportunity.






The rest of our miles were uneventful, especially given how eager we were to reach family and food. A Border Patrol vehicle flew by at one point toting two 4-wheelers with fake leaves tacked on for camouflage. Not sure how a vehicle is supposed to be stealthy out here in the vast silence of the desert but what do we know. The number of strange things in this park never ceases. When we finally reached the edge of the Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge and our designated meeting point we felt ready for a steady dose of normality. Tenny’s parents were still on their way (at least we assumed they were given that we hadn’t had service in several days) so we settled in the shade, out of sight of the huge Border Patrol station/tower that we’d just passed. At the first rumble of a distant car, we got ready to flag it down, knowing somehow that it was our ride. And it was! Fred and Kim pulled up, with energy and treats, and there were hugs and laughter all around. On to Tucson!