Help and Hinder
This was the last day of our section of trail, which took us to the trailhead where my truck and trailer were waiting. It was another dull day view-wise, but we had some interesting challenges, like getting water from a huge tank and crossing Highway 77.
Unlike the PCT, much of the AZT runs through rangeland and pastures or fairly near "civilization" in one form or another. That's been a good thing in terms of the access to water; I've pretty much come to the conclusion that it would be really difficult to ride a lot of the trail if there weren't stock tanks with water for cattle on a regular basis. It's probably less appealing to the hikers, but my horses don't complain at all! The picture here is of a water tank that we came across where I retrieved water for the horses. Thankfully there was a ladder. The water was about three feet down from the top so I had to bend at the waist and was really hoping I didn't fall in as I got water with the small collapsible bucket. I had to make 4 trips up and down that ladder. But the horses waited for me patiently at the bottom.
The only snake I saw during the day was a little blind snake. You almost never see them out during the day so I was really surprised and it was very lucky I didn't step on it since it's thinner than a pencil.
At the hwy crossing, the trail signs directed us to cross underneath the road, but the underpass is only 4 1/2 feet off the ground. I'm sure there is a stick crossing somewhere but there weren't any signs and it wasn't close. There was no way my horses could army-crawl under that road! And we couldn't just walk across the highway either, as there were barbed wire fences lining it on both sides.
I patrolled along the other side of the highway looking for a way through the barbed wire for about 30 mins. Finally I had to undo a repair job in the fence, fetch my horses and cross the road, and then repair the fence. I was not a happy rider. Thankfully we were pretty close to the rig at that point and then the horse camp we stayed at was only a 10 min drive away. However, when we got to the camp, the water was turned off there. Thankfully I always carry several full 5-gallon containers, so the horses were okay. No shower for me, though, which I had really be looking forward to!