The first 8 hours today were AWESOME … the last 2 1/2 were the opposite of awesome.
Parker & the kids left last night & I was back on the trail by 0730 (I did give myself a little extra time to enjoy the nice, warm bed). It was a beautiful day, the trail was walkable, scenic, and enjoyable. I was a tad worried about water, since there are no “ reliable” sources listed on this 35-mile passage, and Parker wasn’t able to drop water until about 30 miles in. But—as I expected—there were plenty of seasonal creeks running along the way. I met a guy at lunch who finished his hike of the AZT last April. We had a nice chat, and it made me optimistic to meet someone who has actually completed this dang thing—it must be doable after all!
I went over 600 miles on the trail mid-afternoon—feels good to get another “century” done! Though the trail was very walkable today, it did have some significant climb. Just after I passed the 600 mark, the serious climb began. It was a workout, but not terrible … until I hit the snow. For the last 2 1/2 hours, I have been post-holing through snow from 2-3 feet deep. The last mile I was not able to see the trail and was again reduced to stopping every few yards to check Guthook and then heading in the general direction the trail should be. It was slow, frustrating, and a few times painful when I fell. My feet are again soaked & freezing.
I had a hard time finding a dry(ish) place to camp. My standards got a lot lower as dark approached, & I’m in a pretty pathetic spot under a pine tree in the only 6 feet of non-snow covered ground I could find, hoping Agnes will hold up in the awful wind (again). Im at 8900’ altitude, and it’s gonna be another cold night. The trail is supposed to descend quite a bit tomorrow and I’m REALLY hoping I’m almost out of the snow.
*A note about mileage from here on: the AZT has 2 options as it approaches Flagstaff—a by-pass, and an urban route that goes through town and then utilizes the awesome Flagstaff Urban Trail system to reconnect w/the bypass. I took the urban option, which is shorter. I don’t know exact how much shorter (and I don’t want to!). Because of that, instead of “total miles,” I will start annotating AZT miles. I am currently at mile 604 of the AZT. I have actually hiked something a little less than that.
Daily Miles: 21.0
AZT Miles: 604.0