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On our way to higher elevations this am. Stopped for lunch right by BSA Camp Geronimo.
This is the Mogollon Rim which rises a couple thousand feet to a high mesa. We'll be climbing this afternoon to the top where we'll have colder temps and probably snow tonight. Fortunately, there's supposed to be a roofed shelter on top where we hope to stay the night (and tomorrow if the weather sours).
The stay in Pine was fabulous - just like being on vacation at a mountain resort in a pine forest. I'll never stop being amazed at the generosity and hospitality of Scout families and others I meet.
Posted: 15:05 04-13-2012 819
Day 27 - Zero in Pine
Wonderful, relaxing, belly-filling day in Pine with no miles on the trail.
Picked up bounce box at the post office. Ate breakfast at HB's (a small restaurant). Used the public internet at the library.
Then Kyle arrived and drove us to Payson to shop where we had lunch at Subway. Back at Pine, we had hamburgers for dinner and watched Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Kyle took our bounce box down the trail to Flagstaff so all we need to do is hike 126 miles to pick it up again.
I'm looking forward to a good long hike tomorrow, hopefully reaching the top of the Mogollon Rim. The feet and legs are pretty good - just some stubborn blisters on top of big left toe, sore spot under right foot, and tight right knee.
Oh, Kyle had thru-hiked the AZ Trail in 2008 and is the youngest to have done that. He's a great young man, Eagle Scout, and on staff at Philmont Scout Ranch for a few years. Yet another wonderful person I've gotten to meet on the trail.
The pic is of the Bear Spring water source which was very good - there are a lot of 'bear springs' along this trail.
Posted: 0:24 04-13-2012 818
Day 26 - Pine
I walked 50684 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 23 miles today.
After a delicious ranch breakfast, we got a slightly late start on our long hike to Pine. It started with a long, steep climb and continued with many miles of very rocky trail. I learned why they call the area Hardscrabble Mesa. Fortunately, the weather was cool today so the only water stop we needed was at this cool box spring called White Rock Spring.
A wonderful Boy Scout volunteer is allowing us to use his cabin - yet another example of the amazingly generous people I've met on this trek.
Tomorrow brings me a day of rest which my sore feet and legs will appreciate. There's only about 360 miles left of the trail so I think I'll make it - especially with all the support folks along the trail are willing to share.
Posted: 21:51 04-11-2012 817
When hiking, you may encounter a gate across your path. Whether open or not, the common action is to close it after passing through.
Maryann, the rancher I met yesterday, taught me that is not the correct thing to do. Sometimes, hikers may accidentally leave a gate open instead of closing it. If that happens, then livestock may escape and run wild. The rancher then has to round up the strays - a real hassle.
But if a gate is closed when the rancher wanted it open, livestock may be denied access to vital water and die.
So, leave open gates open and closed gates closed once you pass through.
Posted: 21:28 04-11-2012 816
PapaBear enjoying his 4 eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, and cocoa at 6:30am just as the sun comes over the hill. Try to convince me of a better way to start the day!
LF Ranch is a perfect stop on the AZ Trail for anyone wanting to sample real rural Arizona. Maryann is a great hostess running a real family cattle ranch, working hard evry day. She is very knowledgable about the area and the outdoors.
By the way, the eggs are fresh from her own ranch chickens.
Posted: 12:39 04-11-2012 815
Day 25 - LF Ranch
I walked 43412 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 18 miles today.
Spending the nite camping at LF Ranch. Maryann is making us spaghetti for dinner right now and we're relaxing after a wonderful shower.
The ranch is down in the valley by the East Verde river so it should be warm tonight, but we have a long day of 'up' for 23 miles to Pine tomorrow.
The plan was to go further but I'm nearly out of food so this will get me to Pine and the grocery store.
It was a real treat to reach our stopping point by 3:30 instead of the usual 'just by sunset' time. A couple hours to wash and relax have been refreshing.
Maryann just gave us some tangelos from her dad's tree - aaaaahhhh! They were great.
This is one of the many ranch dogs around. There are also chickens, horse, cow, and a dozen peacocks. We hear it tastes like pheasant.
Posted: 12:38 04-11-2012 813
Day 24 - Mazatzal Wilderness
I walked 48684 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 21 miles today.
I crossed the halfway point today in miles, maps, and passages. Tthe passages are rated Easy, Moderate, and Strenuous. Of the 16 strenuous we've completed 11. Of the 13 easy we've done only 2. It looks like more of the passages ahead are 'easy' rather than 'strenuous' like we've been having.
The Mazatzal Wilderness has been awesome so far. The trail tread, slope, and grade have been great. We're at Horse Camp Seep where we ran into Fireweed. We've had a nice chat and campfire with her this evening.
It was a good day.
Posted: 10:18 04-10-2012 811
(read the previous post before this one)
While following the tracks, we noticed many trees like this one that had been clawed down.
We soon found a rancher and asked about the tracks. He let us know that they were made by the meanest, orneriest, thieving varmint in Arizona - the Jackalope. He also said they often steal Easter eggs, toys, trinkets, and tools.
Wo, we tracked him nearly 2 miles until we finally found my Spot caught on the end of a prickly thorn bush. We never did find the jackalope.
It took us another couple miles to get back to the trail and continue on our way.
If you're ever in this area, don't leave your gear unattended!
Check out my current location on the map.
Posted: 8:40 04-09-2012 807
This was the strangest Easter ever. I don't expect many of you to believe me, but I'll tell you anyway.
While hiking north of Sunflower, AZ I stopped to get some badly needed water as you can see in this picture. PapaBear was taking the photo so no one was watching our packs - bad mistake. Just as I finished filling my water bag, I heard some rustling by our packs.
I looked up and saw a flash of orange as some animal took off through the bush with my Spot tracking device. You can see the track of this date - Check out my current location on the map..
Not wanting to continue the hike without my Spot for emergencies, we took off following the tracks. This took us way off route as the map shows.
Check out the next post to find out what happened.
Posted: 8:37 04-09-2012 806
I walked 52982 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 23 miles today.
Thanks to 10 easy miles on forest road, we reached Sycamore Creek tonight with an hour of daylight. That made it easier to set up camp, get water, and cook dinner. It's still a very short evening and I'm in my bed now before 9pm. But, since hiking starts again by 6:30 in the morning, the rest is needed.
There was some awful overgrowth on the trail yesterday and today, making it very tough going much of the time. Unfortunately, it sounds like the Matzatal Wilderness is worse and we hit it tomorrow.
If all goes well tomorrow, I should cross the 400mile mark.
Posted: 22:01 04-07-2012 804
Day 21 - Four Peaks Wilderness
I walked 41713 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 16.5 miles today.
After two long hike days, we kept today a bit shorter. It wasn't easy, though. There was over 3000ft of elevation and we're camped at over a mile high. The temp is down to 37 and it's just 8pm so I get to find out how well my quilt works.
Camp is on the only slightly level place around this entire mountain we've climbed. There's no room to set up tents so we are sleeping open to the stars and critters.
I'm just about in the middle of the Four Peaks Wilderness. Tomorrow, Pigeon Spring is 5 miles down the trail and our best bet for water. If it's dry, we may need to hike with no water for another 10 miles.
I've been using the solar charger provided by Northern Star Council to keep this phone going and it has worked wonderfully. Arizona is a perfect place for solar!
Also, I've gotten some fun pics of myself by attaching my Stick Pic to my trek pole - but I'll have to post those later.
Posted: 14:04 04-07-2012 802
Ben - our personal chef
we packed up and were on our way when Ben asked if we'd like some breakfast. Well, what self-respecting thru-hiker would ever turn down a meal?
So, here I am having bacon and eggs on the beach beside a beautiful lake, in the desert, with the sun just rising. Oh, the people you meet!
Ben lives here out of his little pick-up, enjoying life fishing and chatting with his neighbors. I could think of a lot worse ways to live out a life.
Check out my current location on the map.
Posted: 14:03 04-07-2012 801Previous Posts
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