Good day! Met Parker & my new hiking partner ‘Whippet’ ~7 miles in at Roosevelt Lake. Knowing that they were waiting for me made the morning miles go pretty quickly. The early miles had a little path finding / creek crossing reminiscent of yesterday’s slog, but otherwise, it was smooth sailing until I saw Parker at the trail head at Hwy 188—seeing loved ones on the trail never gets old!
We walked across the bridge to the parking area where our RAV-4 was waiting, loaded with re-supply food & Egg McMuffins! Took a nice long break to load up on 6 days of food, clean socks and other necessities, and hit the trail with my new hiking partner—a friend from my local trail running group, and an experienced backpacker.
It was so nice to have company again! Today’s trail was not as rough (or non-existent) as yesterday’s, but it was every bit as steep. We climbed from 2200’ to 5300’ in about 9 miles. But the views were spectacular! We also passed by a Saguaro forest on our way up that was beautiful, Whippet shares my fascination / love of saguaros (and he’s much more knowledgeable), which is cool.
I’m already thinking my new partner is good luck—we scored an awesome camp site (that much harder when you need spots for 2 tents) right by a stream (another rarity on this trail) in the middle of a big climb exactly at quitting time! We’ve been joined in our awesome spot (which has enough space for 5-6 tents) by Maui, with whom I’ve been leapfrogging for about 3 days now.
A note about trail names: Most people on a long trail adopt a nickname of sorts—a trail name. It helps maintain a bit of anonymity, and avoids the confusion of having to differentiate between multiple “Steves” or “Joes” when referencing other hikers.
Some trail names are based on a trail incident, like Ice Axe—who apparently carried an ice axe through the entire desert portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. Some are based on appearances, I’ve met Crayola—whose hair is bright purple, Bright Eyes, and Too Tall. Some are based on hiking style: ADL for All Day Long, and Speedy. I’ve also met Spider-Man, Foggy, Safety and Phoenix. I go by “Ultra,” and my current hiking partner is “Whippet.”
So Whippet, Maui & Ultra are all buttoned up in our respective tents for an early night in the mountain chill.
Daily Miles: 16.1
Total Miles: 359