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.