Passage #15 – Tortilla Mountains

Miles Saturday:20.3 miles and Sunday miles: 5.3
Elevation:3,530 ft
Campsite: Northbound Mile Marker: 255.2 on a ridge
Water availability: Freeman Trailhead has a cache in brown box that Sequoia kept refilling. A water tank at mile marker: 251.5: Full tank with green water with dead bees in it and lively bees buzzing around.

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Arizona Trail Passage 15. 

On Friday, we were fortunate enough to have Sequoia, a friend from Phoenix, provide us with some trail magic and a shuttle from the Kelvin-Riverside Bridge trailhead. We spent the night at the trailhead and had a few drinks with him and his dogs. The Freeman trailhead is located off a dirt road outside of Kearny.

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Us and Sequoia at Freeman rd TH.

We started hiking on Saturday morning. It was overcast and temperatures were in the 60s-70s in the morning. It was perfect hiking weather. We followed a few jeep tracks on and off throughout this passage. There was multiple gates we had to go through. One of them was open… although there was a sign specifically saying to keep closed. There was a hiker ahead of us which may have forgotten to closed it on his way out. If you’re hiking out here, keep ’em gate closed. Most of the trail is on cattle ranch and these gates keeps them in.

We took a long break at mile 15. Next to a water tank that was full of bees. Thankfully, they didn’t bother us. Finding shade can be hard in the desert but we got a nice spot under a small tree.

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Shade during lunch!

Bryan and I had agreed to camp before the switchbacks that would of brought us to the top of the ridgeline but once we arrived at the bottom, it was still too early to stop. We continued. The afternoon was hot and a lot sunnier. Thankfully, I had my umbrella and it kept the sun off of me. The wind picked up as we were climbing the switchbacks and had to put it away. Once on top, we had a wonderful view!

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Out here, I make my own shade!

We decided to call it a day. After 20 miles in the sun, we were ready to set up camp and relax. We made dinner as the sun settled on the horizon. There is nothing better than this.

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Camping on the Ridgeline. 

The night was warm and we woke up a bit sweaty. We had breakfast and got hiking by 730am. We only had 5-ish miles remaining to our car. Despite having to drop down to lower elevation, we still gained a considerable amount.

We’re so glad that we were able to hike this passage through instead of doubling back. Makes section hiking the AZT much faster and gives us the opportunity to keep things fun by hiking a new section everyday.

Another passage done! Woohooo!

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Not much shade out here…

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Sun starting to set…

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