In ultra running, there is a saying, “Beware The Chair!” Once you sit down at an aid station & get comfy, it can be really hard to get back on the course. Zero days are to thru-hiking what The Chair is to ultra running.
It was awfully hard to leave the cozy cabin today. I thought it would be easier to leave a little later and ‘ease’ back into hiking, but it just dragged things out. Parker had to leave early for work, so I hung around by myself until 1100, which just made me antsy … lesson learned—just rip the band aid off and get back on the trail.
Once I got back on the trail, I was good; well-rested and feeling great. I thought it might be strange hiking solo again, but it feels just like old times! The trail was mostly good, but there were a few sections that gave me flashbacks to the Mazatzals, and of course I had to get my feet wet in a creek crossing just before quitting time—ugh!
I hiked for about 6 hours to a beautiful campsite back in the pines, near a creek. I have neighbors tonight—Paco’s Dirt Bags (a retired Forest Service Biologist from Montana and his son) set up nearby. In general, I’m not keen on company from strangers, but flat spots for tents are tough to find on this trail—especially here on a long climb. They’ve been friendly, but respectful of my privacy, and they’re far enough away that I don’t hear them over the creek, so it’s all good.
Tomorrow, I hike up over the Mogollon Rim—an escarpment that defines the Southern edge of the Colorado Plateau. The geography changes to more pine forest and the altitude stays consistently above 7000’. It’s a steep climb, but not especially long, and not anything worse than I’ve already done. After I get over the Rim, the trail should level out a lot, w/no big elevation changes until after a Flagstaff—in about 100 miles.
I’m looking forward this next section of trail—I’ve hiked some of it w/ my family over the years from my parent’s cabin nearby. I’m also looking forward to hiking some pine forests—and hoping campsites are easier to come by.
Much like ultra running and the chair, once I convinced myself to get back out here, I remembered how much fun it is, and how much I enjoy it!
Daily Miles: 12.7
Total Miles: 475.2