Kathy Simko’s Arizona Trail Trek – Entry 3 – Good People Along the Way

Now that the “Gurus of Trail Angelism,” Dave & Dave, were totally onboard, things started to smooth out a bit for me.


Campsite outside Patagonia with Mt. Wrightson in the background

I woke up the morning after the Patagonia resupply just in time to meet two other thru-hikers ambling up Temporal Gulch Rd. David Kurneta and Jordan Burke are hiking the AZT as participants in a program called Warrior Hike. Warrior Hike is for combat veterans and entails a tedious and competitive selection process. Jordan served in Afghanistan; David served in Iraq – they applied for the AZT and were chosen out of hundreds of applicants. The therapeutic benefits of thru-hiking long trails are amazing and that’s how Warrior Hike came to be. After the hiking is done, these combat veterans re-integrate into civilian life better than utilizing traditional therapy and medications. And check this out – Jordan had NEVER backpacked before and he is excelling on the very difficult 800-mile Arizona National Scenic Trail! Check out warriorhike.com for more information. The Warriors and I ended up hiking together for several days and I enjoyed their company.


David Kurneta and Jordan Burke – Warriors on the AZT

The next day was Easter Sunday and Dave & Dave met me at Kentucky Camp for a resupply… and more. A few days earlier at a resupply stop, they noticed that all my fingers were cracked wide open near the nails. This was quite painful, made simple everyday hand tasks difficult and posed a threat for infection. In addition to my normal resupply provisions, treats, and cold beer, Dave Boyd also brought everything necessary to remedy my beat up fingers…and I had never mentioned anything about it. He had several gallons of WARM Epsom Salt solution, a soft cleaning brush, Neosporin, cotton sleeping gloves and a bottle of Super Glue Gel. After soaking, cleaning and sealing the cracks, my fingers were 100% healed and functional within twelve hours AND I have not had a problem with this since. Dave & Dave are compassionate, generous, thoughtful and loving human beings.

On day nine (March 30th), I met two more thru-hikers near Colossal Cave. {At the time of this writing, it is day forty-two (42) and we’re still traveling together!} Dinny Pocock and Gary Halliwell are avid hiking buddies from Gloucestershire, England and have always wanted to hike a long trail in America; moreover, this is her FIRST time in the United States. We linked up in camp that evening and I liked them right away – they immediately felt like kindred spirits. We got to talking and I realized they could use a hand with a rest day, a resupply and a permit for Saguaro National Park. I already had plans the next day for a rest day at Dave Boyd’s gorgeous home in X-9 Ranch, so I quickly texted him regarding my two new friends. Well, Dave & Dave had previously met Dinny and Gary near Patagonia and really liked them too! You guessed it – Dave & Dave immediately took them under their collective wings and treated them just as wonderfully as they were treating me! It was a beautiful experience to witness and will stay with me forever.


Dinny, Gary and I atop Mica Mt., the highest peak in the Rincon Mts.

The three of us left the La Sevilla Picnic Area of Colossal Cave Mountain Park together and only had to hike about six miles to X-9 Ranch Road, where Dave Boyd picked us up. We were treated like royalty by both the Baker and Boyd families during our day-and-a-half rest/resupply period. Kindness, gourmet snacks, hot showers, cold & delicious IPA’s (Dragoon and Hop Shock!), magnificent home-cooked dinners, big cozy beds and interesting conversation were all provided for us in 5-Star Accommodations! But wait, there’s more: The next day, Dave Boyd drove us all around Tucson to get supplies and whatnot. First we visited the Saguaro National Park Visitor Center and got our permit for Grass Shack squared away. We went to Summit Hut, where I fit Dinny’s feet for a new pair of hiking boots and Gary and I picked up a few things. We stopped by my house so I could grab a few items. Dave treated all of us to a fabulous lunch at Zayna Mediterranean Restaurant. I got dropped off at Great Clips and had all my hair cut off. We went to grocery stores to buy food for the hike. The busy day culminated with a delicious home-cooked Mexican dinner at Dave and Irene Baker’s gorgeous home in X-9 Ranch. The previous night, Dave and Debbie Boyd treated us to a scrumptious home-cooked vegetarian lasagna feast. This hiking trio was absolutely blown away by this outpouring of generosity and support.

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