This last stretch between Oracle and Superior really tested my standards for ingestible water. Those who have hiked on the Continental Divide Trail know that cattle tanks are often the only source of hydration, and that dirty cow-water is a filthy blessing of H20 in an otherwise arid world. I expected the Arizona Trail to have questionable water, but I drank from sources that I cannot begin to describe. Sources that make the CDT cow tanks look like pristine springs! Luckily, there were a few water caches put out for hikers. An artificial oasis of plastic jugs containing water cannot be relied upon, but stumbling into one sure lifts the spirits.
I also made a bit of a mistake with planning for this hike, and it nearly put me off trail for the season. Instead of sticking with the Altra Lone Peak shoes that treated me so well on the Continental Divide Trail, I decided to test out the new Superior model. These shoes fit VERY well, and they seemed to work for me until the incredibly rocky terrein of the Arizona Trail shredded them to pieces. I was still maintaining 25+ mile days, but my shoes lacked any cushioning, and I felt a twinge of pain developing in my foot. My resupply team had sent me a new pair of Lone Peaks in Oracle, but by then the damage had been done and I was nearly limping into the town of Superior AZ. Knowing that I needed a rest for my poor feet, I decided to take a zero day in town. My hiking partner, Dirtmonger, decided to press on without me, so I sat in a hotel room alone, questioning if further progress would do long term damage.