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Day 14 - Big Miles

I walked 67374 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 30 miles today.
My first 30 mile day ever! From Oracle to the Freeman Road water cache, I enjoyed the shade of my umbrella in the 90+ heat.
I started with 5 liters and the only water source was Beehive Well at 21 miles. Fortunately, there was plenty of water there with about a billion bees in, on, and around the water. My Sawyer filter worked just great and I had plenty of water.
I met two trail stewards on horse and chatted a bit with them. I actually used their hoofprints to help follow the trail in a few sketchy spots. I also met PapaBear at the water cache where I'm camping tonite. He was all set up here and we might hike together a bit tomorrow and see how it goes. He's section hiked the PCT.
There's also a guy named Eric behind me that might catch up tomorrow or next day.
I certainly like the morning hike better - it's too hot for me in the later day. But, cooler weather is supposed to come in on Sunday.
Check out my current location on the map.

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Posted: 19:40 03-31-2012 789
Day 13 - Oracle Chalet Village

I walked 50480 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 21 miles today.
I spent most of the day walking across a very hot, dry desert after I descended the Oracle Ridge from Summerhaven. I also had a 1m backhike for h2o first thing and 3m hike into Oracle, so a pretty long day.
I'm at the Chalet Village in Oracle tonite. Jim is a wonderful host and the little cabins are clean and simple - a perfect overnite for hikers. They also have a great thru-hiker discount and will take you to the store to resupply and to the trailhead when you're ready to get back on the trail.
I resupplied for 4 days at the Oracle Market which should get me to Superior and another bed!

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Posted: 19:08 03-29-2012 788
Day 12 - Alone

I walked 53867 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 23 miles today.
BIG Thank You to Janet and John for letting me rest up with them. And to John for the ride to Molino Basin CG to restart my hike.
It's just me now and I have about 630 miles to go. I did make it to Summeerhaven, but there's no place to stay and the couple stores close early. So, I begged some water from the fire station and am camped nearby. Tomorrow, I backhike a mile to get wated since it's dry to Oracle. It's also almost all downhill so I hope to get there early and find a room and buy 4 days of food.
I met Sandy and her husband on a day hike this a.m. and a young guy, girl, and dog at the end of the day. Sandy and hubby had done the AT for their honeymoon many years ago and are just starting to hike again. The young couple were just scrambliing around on a multi-day adventure. Lots of different folks on the trail.

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Posted: 11:07 03-29-2012 787
Umbrella Power

My umbrella is really saving the day again. It's darn hot and an incredibly steep long climb, but having my own shade is super.
It looks like I might make it to Summerhaven tonite, but it's still 8 miles away - all UP!
The t-bone last night has gotten me this far but from here on it's trail mix. Maybe a dinner awaits me in town.

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Posted: 15:11 03-28-2012 786
Enjoying Civilization
I'll be back to hiking bright and early tomorrow, keeping my eye open for other hikers to say "Howdy" to on the trail - maybe you'll cross my path? But, for one more evening, I'm really enjoying time to relax in a cool home, eating real food, and not worrying about how much water I need to carry or where I'll find the next small puddle.

I hit the jackpot at Albertson's grocery store today - Snickers bars were 2/$1.00 AND each one got me a monopoly game piece! So, I figure I'm practically guaranteed to win a Mustang with the 2 dozen game pieces I got. That takes care of my trip home to MN from AZ. ;-)

Now we're headed to the post office to send off my supply boxes down the trail. I've still got to find some Honey Buns which I've heard lots of thru-hikers talking about eating. I'll let you know when I track some down - probably in a Circle K or AM/PM somewhere out there.

I'm really looking forward to visiting with a couple scouting folks in Pine and Flagstaff - I hope the dates work out.

Scout On
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Posted: 16:24 03-27-2012 785
Shelter Upgrade
Hiker Hunger Kept busy today getting my hike schedule set for the next few weeks. Figuring how to minimize the food drops and stops along the way. Barring any more snow storms or other unforeseen obstacles, I should complete the trail right around May 1.

Here's a big THANK YOU to Charlene at the Tucson Quilter's Market for her generosity today. She let me use one of their sewing machines to add a one foot wide bug net around the bottom of my tarp tent.
Now, I'll have more headroom to sit up and I won't have to worry about ants, scorpions, snakes and other crawlies visiting me in the night. It will also allow ventilation out on the hot desert.

I sure didn't realize how nice a day off the trail feels. I feel like I could go and pound out 25 miles right now. But, when I step out into the Tucson heat, I get over that feeling real quick. :-) You should have seen the wonderful roast beef my friend cooked for dinner last night. That hiker hunger I've heard about seems to have caught up with me. I had a Big Mac and fries for lunch and could have had another. But, instead I bought a head of lettuce and ate that along with two bananas and two kiwi fruit. Wonder what's for supper?

Scout On
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Posted: 17:29 03-26-2012 783
Day 9 - Back to the Start

I walked 35462 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 16 miles today.
Yet another change in plans - after the long haul over Mica Mtn yesterday and another hot day, we stopped at Molina Basin CG. This is also the most convenient stop for a zero day (or 2) in Tucson. So, after 9 days I'm right back where I started! A rest will be super before the hike up to Summerhaven and then north past Oracle. Tomorrow, I rest my legs and work on resupplying. I'm hoping to add an 8-inch extension around my tent bottom also for a little sit-up room.

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Posted: 21:19 03-25-2012 782
Day 8 - Up and Over

I walked 49644 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 20 miles today.
This is the view all the way back to Mexico from Mica Mtn. A week ago, I was by the mountains way off to the left. The high point out there is Wrightson. It was amazing today to go from flat, hot desert up to snowy pine forest and back down. A classic example of a 'sky island'.

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Posted: 9:46 03-25-2012 781
Day 5 - scarce water

I walked 45794 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 21 miles today.
First warm day in the desert. Found small pool of h2o in a creekbed - whew!
Check out my current location on the map.

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Posted: 11:29 03-22-2012 776
Day 4

I walked 48492 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 22 miles today.
Patagonia to Gardner Canyon thru snow around Mt. Wrightson - gorgeous day!
Check out my current location on the map.

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Posted: 11:29 03-22-2012 775
Day 3 - Canelo Hills

I walked 39987 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 16 miles today.
It feels like hiking in MN so far. Another day in snow and wind. At Patagonia tonite.

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Posted: 11:28 03-22-2012 774
2nd Day - Snow

I walked 34654 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 16 miles today.
Met Phil from FL yesterday. Hit by a desert snow storm today. Exciting hike!

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Posted: 11:28 03-22-2012 773
1st Day on AZTrail

I walked 44184 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 23 miles today.
Got picked up in Tucson at 5am. Started hiking at 9am. Super windy on Miller Peak.
Check out my current location on the map.

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Posted: 11:27 03-22-2012 772
AZ Trailhead

here we go!

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Posted: 11:26 03-22-2012 771
On the Trail
I've been saving texts on my phone each day but t-mobile has no coverage around here so the texts are waiting. Oh well. So, here's a recap of the first three days. You can check out my progress map at AZT page since my Spot has been working pretty well.

Saturday at about 9am, we started hiking to the Mexico border which is the start of the AZ Trail. We started north at about 9:30 and made it up the very rugged first 6 miles to the top of Miller Peak. The weather was nice and warm, but not hot. It was amazingly windy. Some pines broke not long before we walked past.
We wound up hiking about 20 miles, stopping shy of Parker Canyon Lake. This was farther than I had planned to go, but I felt terrific - no real pains, blisters, or soreness.
I'm saying "WE" because I'm hiking with a guy named Colton that I met online. His father is supporting us these few days and that has made the hike much more enjoyable at the beginning. We plan to hike together for a couple more days and then go on our own. Anyway, his Dad made us an awesome dutch oven elk meat loaf and biscuits for dinner! Great way to end the first day of hiking.

Yesterday, the big storm moved into the area right after we started hiking. We heard thunder, but at a distance and lucked out that didn't get close. We did get high winds, rain, and snow all day. It was quite an experience and the closest I've come to going hypothermic. When you see pics of my 'raingear' you'll know why. :-)
We made it about 16 miles to Canelo Pass where Colton's dad met us and drove into Patagonia to stay in a hotel since it continued to snow ad blow. Bought two pizzas at Velvet Elvis and stayed at Stage Stop hotel - the only spots in town. I got my money's worth in just my long shower at the hotel.

Today, I was hoping for the storm to blow over, but it hung around. Drove back to our stop point and hiked into the wind and rain again. Stayed with us aaaaaall day until we hit the road 2 miles from Patagonia when it just stopped! Gave us 45 minutes of hiking to dry out quite a bit. We're at the same hotel as last night, but the forecast is for much warmer and nicer weather tomorrow.

I'm hoping to stretch our distance tomorrow, but we'll see how it goes.

On the trail, I've met Phil from Florida on his way to Utah and moving just a bit slower than us. Also ran into a couple in a tent in the snow, but they are ahead of us on the trail now. At the trailhead on Saturday, I met Bill who's starting the trail next Friday on his 70th birthday!

Well, there you go. Hopefully, my cellphone posts will go out in the next day or two. Otherwise, I'll post the next chance.

Scout On
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Posted: 20:30 03-19-2012 770
Tucson
Plane ride to Tucson was fine.
Dallas was all green flying in, but Tucson has roofs the color of sand and sand the color roofs. But, the 85 degrees sure feels nice!
I got a great tour of Tucson, including the university and Arizona Children's Association where my friend works. I love the architecture and character of the buildings here.
Tomorrow, I shop for food and repack it all to take on the trail. I'll also pack a box to send down the trail to pick up in a town a week or so from now. Well, that's the plan anyway.
Scout On
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Posted: 18:48 03-15-2012 769
Leaving on a Jet Plane...
Here We Go Don't know when I'll be back again, but I'm hoping it's by May 1st.

They say every journey begins with a single step, but this one begins with a couple long plane rides. I fly to Tucson via Dallas today to start my 800-mile Arizona Trail hike. A friend is picking me up at the airport and letting me stay with her family for two nights. Then, it's a 100-mile ride to the Mexico border and trailhead early Saturday (St. Patrick's Day!) morning to take that first step. I've found a hiking buddy to give me a ride and join me for the first 4 days or so and then we'll probably go our own ways.

So, after about 6 months of planning, purchasing, making, and practicing, it's time to actually start the adventure. My wife and son are off to school and I'm waiting for a good friend to give me a ride to the airport. The backpack is wrapped in plastic for the baggage destroyers mungers gorillas handlers to play with. I've got maps, water sources, and schedule sheets to go over a few more times on the plane.

It's been quite a few days with no posts on my blog here since I've been so focused on final preparations. For the next 6 weeks, I'll hopefully be posting from the trail so the posts will be short and mostly chronicling my hike. You can follow my progress at my AZ Trail page.

Scout On
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Posted: 7:23 03-15-2012 768
Trail Journal
I hiked 4 miles to Gander Mountain to pick up three 1-liter platypus water bags. They weigh about 5 ounces all together and take up very little space when rolled up. I'll have them as extra storage in case water is more scarce than I imagine and for a couple of looooong dry stretches.

I hiked over this frozen river and dropped a big snowball on it just for fun.

Scout On
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Posted: 12:52 03-05-2012 763
Week of Scouting
Attended Eagle ceremony on Sunday.
Attended troop meeting on Monday.
Gave out ScoutStuff.org gift card and ClassB.com coupon on Wednesday.
Helped out at district roundtable on Thursday.
Completed a First Aid merit badge with a scout on Friday.
Saturday and Sunday, I'll be presenting Wilderness First Aid (yet again) to a dozen scouters.

If you're a hungry Scout in Salt Lake City, or just passing through, I hear you can get free Chipotle - see this post. Have one for me.

13 days until I leave for Arizona.
Scout On
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Posted: 15:52 03-02-2012 756
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