The Arizona Trail (2019)

Day 24

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Day: 24
Date: 29 Mar 2019 7:55PM MST
Location: Camping near mile 370.5
Today's Miles: 20.7
Total Miles: 370.5

Rough day today.

Big ups for most of the morning, thank goodness I left the marina yesterday when I did and managed to get a few miles up the climb last night. The climb wasn't particular rugged, it just went on for miles and miles, up and up and up.

Beautiful terrain, very reminiscent of the PCT. Another wilderness area, the Tonto national forest did not disappoint. With Lake Roosevelt in sight all day, the trail meandered it's way up and along the sides of some pretty steep slopes, remaining in sight way off in the distance for the majority of the day's walk.

Didn't eat enough today, trying to conserve food until I know when exactly I'll be in town. 120 miles isn't the longest resupply I've had to walk, but I definitely left the marina with less food than I'd prefer, so I'd like to keep a bit in reserve if at all possible.

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Day 21

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Day: 21
Date: 26 Mar 2019 8:27PM MST
Location: Camping near mile 312.8
Today's Miles: 12.3
Total Miles: 312.8

Another night in a bed, no complaints there. I love how it gets chilly at night in the desert, slept with the window open for that cool dry air.

Woke up and packed, drank a couple of cups of coffee. Grabbed all my foodstuffs from the fridge and freezer, made a few last minute phone calls, and off we went.

Drove the hour to the trail, stopped in at the same cafe I ate at when I was picked up two days ago in the town of Superior. Got there a few minutes before they opened so me and the friend chatted on a bench before heading in.

Ate a massive lunch and talked for quite some time. Went for a short walk to digest our good before cruising on back to the trailhead. Said our goodbyes, it was really great to see an old friend.

Starting in the middle of the day couldn't be helped, but man do I miss the colder climate of Maine. Definitely makes you appreciate things more.

Hiked for a good six hours today, about half a day of walking. Over that six hours I saw five rattle snakes, and if I never see another rattler I'd be a happy man.

Funnily enough I was chatting with a buddy back in Maine before heading back out today and we briefly touched on snakes. We came to the conclusion that snakes are assholes, and that they all know it.

Ended the day right near a babbling brook based on a comment from a hiker a few years back mentioning a nice unofficial tent site. It was getting dark, but luckily the site is still viable, and a pretty nice one at that.

Big climb first thing tomorrow, should be fun.

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Replacement trekking pole wrist strap! 

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Day 20

Day: 20
Date: 25 Mar 2019 8:55PM MST
Location: Camping near mile 300.5
Today's Miles: 0
Total Miles: 300.5

Zero day!

Spent the day taking care of town chores and spending time with a friend who I haven't seen for a couple of years.

So good to catch up.

Ate a bunch of food, helped around the house, lounged around and relaxed - exactly what you're supposed to do on a zero day.

Oh, and I also spent over two and a half hours on the phone with the Department of Veterans Affairs, because sometimes, and pardon my language, they're a shit show.

Had a couple of delicious home-cooked meals, and I got to hang out with good people I haven't seen for some time.

Couldn't ask for anything more.

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Day 12

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Day: 12
Date: 17 Mar 2019 06:48PM MST
Location: Camping near mile 174.1
Today's Miles: 16.5
Total Miles: 174.1

Strong day of walking today. Loads of ups, tired and sore, but my body is finally adapting and it feels like trail legs are coming on strong.

Beautiful morning of walking, worked my way gradually up through a canyon to get up and over a... hill. As much as it sucks having to climb up and up, it's one of my favorite things out on trail: climbing up and over mountain passes.

It's pretty incredible to see the terrain change as you walk closer and closer to seemingly impassible mountains on three sides, only to have the trail meander its way up and through some pass you couldn't see from below. I actually enjoy applying some land navigation and terrain association to try and determine which saddle or pass a trail will end up using to crest all of the huge terrain features around.

After the morning climb the trail descended into a national park fee area that had pit toilets - raced myself to the toilets even though nature was calling. I really don't mind digging a hole and fertilizing the nature, but between the physical damage I sustained while in the military and the enjoyment I get back at home just taking my time on the crapper, if I can use a privy, pit toilet, or actual bathroom, I'll choose the latter every time.

Even though it was Sunday and this campground had people everywhere, nothing was going on trail magic-wise so I continued down the trail only to descend into another canyon and a national wilderness area. I always get a bit of a tingle and some excitement when a trail heads into wilderness, for it usually means way less people and a much more rugged and natural environment.

After about two hours of losing elevation and walking down into a canyon with much water flowing through it, the trail began to climb and climb and climb. Approximately 4500' over eleven miles, I started the climb approximately twelve miles into my day, and managed to get pretty far up before calling it quits. This area seems to have been hit pretty hard from the past two uncharacteristically late snow storms and there are very few places to tent, so as soon as I found one near the end of the day I went for it, not feeling up for a night climb with no known destination to tent at.

Been a lucky season for hikers on the AZT this year. With steady rain all winter and a few extremely rare late winter snowstorms, there's been plenty of water on trail so far.

Here's to hoping it keeps up.

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