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Day 43 - Final Steps

I walked 54461 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 28 miles today.
I'm Done!
I reached Utah at 2pm today and PapaBear was waiting to take me to Phoenix - we're on our way now.
I overdid it the past few days and my legs really hurt, but nothing serious. The actual hiking today was fairly easy and the painted desert at the end was beautiful.
If someone from troop 479 reads this, please tell Benjamin M. to take a look.
This pic is of me at the end of the trail holding a solid silver 1961 quarter that Benjamin and his dad gave me for my trip. They said it might come in handy for trading since it is silver. I carried it the whole way and it often reminded me of everyone back home that I would see soon. It will forever remain one of my favorite things I've collected over the years. It's extra special because it was made the year I was born.

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Posted: 18:10 04-28-2012 854
Day 42 - Smelling the Barn

I walked 56314 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 28 miles today.
PapaBear drove me to where I hitched a ride. I walked back up to the trail and hiked it Jacob Lake. Now I just need to do 28 more miles tomorrow. Kind of like the farm animals getting close to home and getting anxious to finish up.
I saw a small herd of 8 or 9 deer. Other than that, most of the day was spent walking through this big burned out area.
It was fun to top and have lunch at a trailhead with PapaBear, then off hiking through the afternoon.

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Posted: 18:09 04-28-2012 853
Day 41 - Zero

With the expected bad weather and my legs being so worn out, I decided to take one last rest day here in Jacob Lake. I got dressed and filled water to do the 24 miles I need to backfill but walking around the parking lot didn't feel good so I wimped out. I did walk a mile to a lookout tower for a cell signal but no t-mobile yet again. So, sorry for the flurry of posts all at once.
Hey, I ate lunch and stepped outside and someome hollered at me. It was 'Happy Feet' nearly done with the trail. I bought him lunch and swapped stories. He's heading back down the trail and will finish tomorrow and get picked up on Saturday.
PapaBear is around here because Happy Feet saw him at a trailhead, but I've not run into him yet. Hopefully, he'll show up at the hotel today. I know he was going by my plan which has changed daily, if not hourly.
I feel bad about changing things, but Hey, it all works out.

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Posted: 21:18 04-26-2012 851
Day 40 - Out of the Canyon

I walked 44426 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 27 miles today.
After a very warm night down in the canyon, I hiked out the north rim. Simply spectacular scenery the entire way. The trail was terrific and the hike went quickly even though my left leg is nearly shot.
On the north Kaibab, there is usually still snow this time of year. There's less this year, so I took off on the trail - immediately hitting some drifts. To get water, I dropped off the trail to the road where there was a small lake. That's when Marshal, the biker, caught up to me so it was fortunate I did that bit of road walk. I rejoined the trail at the Natl Park entry station, heading east back into the forest. Immediately, I hit more snow and saw only 1 set of footprints through it. I followed for almost 3 miles over mostly clear ground but some knee-plus deep drifts.
If it was sunny weather, I would have continued but it was sprinkling all day, temp dropping, and forecast of fairly severe storm coming. With no GPS, I knew I couldn't follow the trail the next day if it snowed. Being a wimp and opting for safety, I bailed off the trail and walked 10 miles down some forest roads to the main Hwy 67. I walked it for a few miles until a couple guys doing work on the rim stopped and gave me a ride to Jacob Lake. They were 2 Navajo men heading home to NM and were great to stop and help a stranger. Thanks, guys!
So, when I got to Jacob Lake, I phoned Marshal from the lobby, got a burger dinner, and then a great bed and shower.
All in all, not a bad day even though I will not hike the whole trail due to snow. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

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Posted: 21:11 04-26-2012 849
Day 39 - Into the Canyon

I walked 36103 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 14 miles today.
So many things keep coming together and working out on this trip, it's amazing. I got to the Back Country office for a permit so I could camp in the canyon. Everyone I met said I 'might' get one for the next day, but no way for today. A bunch of people didn't show up to get their permits so I DID get one. Not only that, it was for Cottonwood Camp up the north side so it shaved 1200 feet off the next day's climb.
There was a campsite perfect for me.
I got plenty of water - which I didn't have to filter.
I got to rinse off my shirt.
The big rattlesnake some people startled right by my site didn't bite me.
It doesn't take much to make a hiker happy. :-)
The Grand Canyon is much more than you see from the paved paths on the South Rim. An astounding amount of work has gone into the trails and structure. I did finally discover where all the dust from our vacuum cleaner bags goes - they pour it on the South Kaibab trail to make it soft for the mule trains.
This is me on the bridge at the bottom of the canyon. I rocked going down, and then it was HOT at the bottom. I have a parcel of pics I'll post in a bit.

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Posted: 21:03 04-26-2012 846
Got My Permit

I got my permit for today at Cottonwood so I have a 14 mile hike with a late start. It will probably be the hottest day of hiking down in the canyon. Since I'm hiking more than 10 miles, I had to fill out a waiver with emergency info. I guess a bunch of folks have keeled over in recent years - don't want to be a statistic.
So, I'm waiting for the Disney shuttle bus back to the campground to wash up, pack up, buy some food, and get into the canyon. I have all day so I plan to take it nice and easy.

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Posted: 9:45 04-24-2012 845
A Few Pics

General Springs snow

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Posted: 8:37 04-24-2012 844
Day 38 - the GC

I walked 70000 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 35 miles today.
Made it to the South Kaibab trailhead by 6:00 this evening. That is the starting down point for the Grand Canyon. Then I took a free shuttle back to Grand Canyon Village to figure out camping or hotel. The silly GC Visitor Center closes at 5pm - how dumb, so no help there. Finally found Mather campground which is just $6/nite for a tent - cool!
I met two guys, each doing their own bicycle tour around the country - one has been going 11 months, the other 13. Makes my 6 weeks seem paltry.
Today's hike wasn't too excitin, but I did see my first antelope and a bunch of elk. Sprinted (well hobbled) into Tusayan and got a chicken sandwich at McD's. Met a couple cool NPS employees at the park entrance and they said, 'Hey, anyone ever tell you that you look like...'
I said, 'Yep, all the time.'
Met a guy from Michigan, a Bulgarian couple living in Chicao, and a couple from Ontario. I'm getting better at starting conversations with strangers, obviously. :-)
Tomorrow hopefully sees me getting a permit to hike the canyon or else I wait here a day.

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Posted: 8:14 04-24-2012 842
First View of Canyon

View from the top of the GrandView lookout tower! I climbed to the top but the trapdoor is locked, so it's not QUITE the top.
There's been a swarm of helicoptors heading east, maybe tours or maybe something more serious. I'm heading to Grand Canyon Village now and should get there this evening.
"

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Posted: 11:31 04-23-2012 841
Day 37 - Day of Blessings

I walked 80000 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 40 miles today.
I found out my pedometer stops counting at 65000 steps in a day so I have to estimate for today.
I started my day feeling great, but bummed that my phone wasn't working. With some water left from yesterday, I started at 6:30. By a bit after 9, I reached my cached water which was 10 miles away. Some people cache water and then leave the empty jug. Seems wrong to me, so I packed mine out.
There was no water available all day until I reached Russell Tank 40 miles from my start point! I can't believe I did 40 miles. I got a couple blisters and my legs are very worn out, but I should be good to go tomorrow. I went this far because I decided to reach the Grand Canyon in 3 days from Flagstaff last night when I saw how far along I was. Tomorrow will be a 31 mile day to make it happen.
While hiking, I was hoping for a small cloud to move under the sunbso I could get some shade - it was HOT today. Well, the cloud grew into a thunderstorm but I only got a little wet.
At Russel Tank, there's actually a trailhead with a very clean, large toilet. Guess where I'm sleeping tonight? It's warm, flat, dry, and no critters. Practically a free hotel.
The trail data said Russell Tank is muddy so I was concerned about getting water. But, it is just fine. The water jug I packed out came in handy to scoop water.
It was a long day of challenges that turned one by one into blessings. I even got to wash up in the pond.

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Posted: 11:18 04-23-2012 840
Day 36 - Unplanned Long Day

I walked 63784 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 30 miles today.
Taking the higher trail, I passed through some stands of aspen. Once I got to Alfa Fia tank for water, the trail was a gradual downhill for the rest of the day - so I just kept walking. I made it to mile 620 which is nowhere.
Whoever laid out this section of trail really felt it was important to experience the forest. About 4 miles meandered all over similar to switchbacks, but with virtually no elevation change. Weird!
I've left my stove behind and will eat only cold food for the rest of the hike, except when I hit a restaurant. Just trying to lighten my pack - lots of candy bars, poptarts, and peanut butter and honey on crackers.

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Posted: 11:17 04-23-2012 839
OOPS and WHEW

I was getting water from Alfa Fia tank at mile 603 north of Flagstaff. It's a beautiful pond with great water and possibly the only good water for about 50 miles.
As I reached out with my 1quart zip-loc to scoop up some h2o, PLUNK went my cellphone from my shirt pocket into the pond. It took me less than 3 seconds to get it out, but that was long enough. I dried it but could not power it off. I opened it and set it in the sun.
Still not able to turn it off and other buttons doing crazy things, I put it in a mesh pocket and kept hiking figuring all was lost. At night, the screen was a weird green color and nothing worked. But, this morning, it was black. I decided to wait until this afternoon to try it, plugged in my solar charger from Northern Star Council and gave it a shot. BAZINGA! It works. Whew! Now I can take pics and blog again.

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Posted: 11:13 04-23-2012 838
Day 34 - A Long Day

I walked 64735 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 33 miles today.
Mormon Lake to Flagstaff is too far for 1 day. I set a new record for myself - about 35 miles in 10 hours. The flat terrain and cool temps made it possible but I don't plan on doing days this long again. It's too hard on joints, muscles, and feet for a guy my age. I pushed to reach Flag tonite so I can start hiking again on Sat.
There were some great sights today, including a herd of about 50 elk which I'll post tomorrow. This cliff was just coming through a canyon east of Flag.
I never did see another bike rider so I think the guy I saw has it pretty much won as long as he completes.
I'm now at a nice Scouter's home resting after a shower and a terrific dinner at another Scouter's place. Tomorrow is a zero day to get groceries and rest me aching feet. I've got a replacement pair of shoes which I hope help me along.

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Posted: 0:14 04-20-2012 833
Trail Angel

Just as I found my way into Flagstaff I was walking up off the local trail system onto a city street. A jeep pulled up and I thought maybe it was the folks I'm to stay with tonight.
I was wrong. It was David L. who goes to NAU in Flag. He saw my blog and map and came to do trail magic. Out of the blue, for no reason than to make a hiker feel good, he met me with cold water and snacks (and his 2 dogs). How cool is that?! Someone that gives trail magic is often called a trail angel.
It doesn't take much to make a tired, thirsty hiker happy. That cold water was awesome since I just had a couple swallows left.
Thanks, David!

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Posted: 0:01 04-20-2012 832
AZ Trail Bike Race

Kurt S. just passed me on the trail riding north. Scared the beejeebers out of me! He is the lead rider in a race that started Friday at the southern end of the AZ Trail. He expects to finish in 2, maybe 3, days. 9 days to cover what is taking me 7 weeks. :-)
Ride On, Kurt!

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Posted: 12:12 04-19-2012 829
Rails to Trails

I'm following an old railroad grade toward Flagstaff for the next few miles. Logging of huge pine trees has been a key industry in these parts. Just a glorious day this morning with birds, breeze, and a good trail.

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Posted: 11:59 04-19-2012 828
Day 33 - 4/18 - Mormon Lake

I walked 57317 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 27 miles today.
This was the view for most of the day. The high pine forests continued and gradually thinned at times. I wore shorts the past two days for the first time on this trek since there were no prickly, poky, scratchy plants around.
I woke to a chorus of coyotes reminding me of a gang of teenagers running around getting into mischief. When I woke up, I realized the condensation of my breath in my shelter had frozen and I had my own personal indoor snow storm. My sleeping quilt and down jacket kept me plenty warm all night, but it was hard to get moving this morning. Once I was moving, I made good time but didn't reach Mormon Lake until 4:30 - that's important.
When I dropped onto the main road in town off a logging road I was walking, I could turn left or right with buildings each direction. I chose left and started walking. After a bit, a guy in a Mustang came toward me and I (somewhat frantically) flagged him down. Fortunately, he stopped. I asked where the Mormon Lake Lodge was and he said just ahead of me - whew, I had chosen the correct direction. Then he asked me why? Well, I'd like to get a room for the night, I replied.
The lodge closes at 4pm, he said.
Well, looks like I'll be camping. But, he got out his phone and made some calls and then I noticed his shirt had the lodge name on it. He arranged for me to get a small room and pay in the morning!
Since everything's closed, I made hot water in the coffee maker in my room and used that to rehydrate my dinner :-(. I was so looking forward to a big meal, but a comfortable bed and hot shower are good enough.
I saw some more elk as well as a strange squirrel-like critter that had a white tail and tufted white ears. Maybe it's a cortamundi? Anyone have another idea?
Oh, one other thing. I got to reply to a bunch of comments from the Payson library on Monday. I really appreciate all your comments and support, but I can't view them from the trail - only when I get to a town.

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Posted: 20:30 04-18-2012 825
Prayers for PapaBear

This pic is PapaBear having a fun outdoor meal at LF Ranch awhile back. Right now, he's back in Tempe and no longer on the trail due to a medical problem. So, if you would, your prayers for healing would be appreciated by me since I really miss having him along.
As we were leaving Pine last Friday, he developed a rash. When we got a ride back to Pine on Saturday, it was worse. On Monday, we found a clinic in Payson and they gave him a bunch of pills, lotions, and such to treat it. It hurts too much to carry his pack so he can't hike until it heals. We are hoping he heals enough, fast enough, that he can join me on Sunday in Flagstaff and complete the trail.

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Posted: 14:27 04-18-2012 824
Day 32 - Alone Again

I walked 53863 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 25 miles today.
I got a ride to General Springs from Pine and started hiking about 8:45
The high plateau is amazing! I walked for 9 hours on a carpet of pine needles under a vaulted cathedral of towering Ponderosa while the breeze freshened the day with a cool pine scent. This day reminded me completely of running through the Idaho woods as a boy and my legs didn't tire under the spell of the day. I finally made camp as the sun began to set so I had an abundance of time to eat, relax, and enjoy the evening.
The sun is now casting light until 7pm and the dusk light lasts nearly to 7:30. This means more time to hike and cover more miles as long as the legs and feet can handle it.
I was surprised by the scarcity of water today. There was no water good enough to filter in any of the dirt stock tanks I passed. Water in puddles in the trail was much better than the brown muck in the tanks. I got water from East Creek which was flowing nicely. I then hiked an extra 1.75 miles to get water from the Blue Ridge ranger station. Got to talk to a couple nice ladies there for a few minutes and dumped my small bit of trash.
PapaBear will be happy to hear that I kicked a lot of sticks off the trail and I reset 7 AZT signs that had been knocked down.
Well, it's now dark enough to head to bed. Hopefully, the dozen deer and 15 elk I saw today won't come to visit. There's a coyote yapping somewhere in the distance but the wind has calmed so I expect a sound night's sleep.

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Posted: 14:27 04-18-2012 823
Day 30 - Back to Pine

Here's a pic of warmer days and fresher legs. That's me on the very first day at the Mexico border. I've hiked about 478 miles of the AZ Trail since then and have about 339 left to go. It's been 30 days since I started this little adventure and I've learned a tremendous amount on the trail. The most important thing I've discovered is that things tend to work out. From finding a much needed water source to someone sharing their dinner, I've experienced many instances of unexpected 'goodness' for a loss of a more descriptive word.
Yesterday was spent hunkered down from snow but at the end of the day Chumley from Tempe gave us a ride from the top of the Mogollon Rim back to Pine where we're now waiting a couple days for the 8 inches of snow to melt. Chumley is yet another helpful soul in a long, growing list of people that have provided unexpected support.
The current plan is to rest one more day tomorrow and resume hiking from the rim top on Tuesday with high hopes that Monday is hot and dry and reduces the snow depth.
I did walk 4 miles today, taking my pack into town to buy groceries and look around but not much open in Pine on Sunday. I'm also working on gaining some weight back - I'm getting to be a pretty good eater!

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Posted: 20:18 04-15-2012 822
Day 28 - Up the Rim

I walked 48438 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 21 miles today.
Hiked east below the Mogollon Rim for about 19 miles going in and out of draws, through burned sections, brushy sections, and cool forested sections. There were many beautiful views like this one.
I've been looking forward to reaching the top of the Mogollon Rim for quite awhile. It's a distinct border between environments and the high mesas should be flatter, cooler, and easier hiking.
But, a snow storm is forcast for tonight so the first few days up high might be a challenge.
Met a couple backpackers and a guy preparing the Highline Trail for a 50-mile trail run next weekend. This guy just had his 75th birthday last week and has done the Western States 100 trail run 13 times. He'll be running race next weekend. I'm such a newbie.

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Posted: 22:02 04-14-2012 820
Mogollon Rim

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.

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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.

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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.

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Posted: 21:51 04-11-2012 817
Hiking Tip

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.

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Posted: 21:28 04-11-2012 816
Ranch Breakfast

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.

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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.

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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.
Half Way!!
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.

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Posted: 10:18 04-10-2012 811
Jackalope Attack

(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.

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Posted: 8:40 04-09-2012 807
Unbelievable Easter

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.

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Posted: 8:37 04-09-2012 806
Trail Journal

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.

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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.

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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.

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Posted: 14:03 04-07-2012 801
Day 20 - Roosevelt Campers

Another 25 mile day but with much more fun and adventure.
I had to reach the Roosevelt Marina by 4pm to pick up my food box or else wait until 8am the next day. So I fasthiked ahead of PapaBear for a few hours and got there just in time. I also bought some pop and ice so we had a treat when he arrived.
On the morning hike, we ran into Swami who is hiking SOBO as part of his huge year of hiking. You can find out more about it at HikingLife.com
We had to find a place to camp around town so we walked down by the lake. As it turns out, there is a community of campers in there RVs, trucks, and tents that practically live here for months. We said HI to some of them until one asked what we were doing. Once we started talking, and they got to know us, they invited us to visit their campfire later. Well, we wound up uaving drinks, steak, and applesauce provided by our new friends. It was a very enjoyable evening with Bill, Diane, Ben, and Jerry. Plus, we have a nice, quiet, flat place for our tents. A nice time with new folks makes the work of the day fade away.
I walked 58968 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 26 miles today.

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Posted: 14:01 04-07-2012 800
Day 19 - Reavis Creek

I walked 59531 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 26 miles today.
Back on the trail to Utah after a wonderful rest in Tempe. It's about 50 miles to Roosevelt, AZ so we did half today and hopefully half tomorrow. I have a food box waiting for me there.
Montana mountain climb was grueling but the rest of the hike was good. Reavis ranch was a known water source so we pushed on into the dark hiking but found water in Reavis Creek and a flat spot in the trail to stop. It was a long day.
Met some folks out doing botanical research by the trail and asked them about cactus and other plants. Also passed a family that had gotten lost but were now on their way back to the trailhead.
Since we've gained elevation, it is cooling off quickly tonight.

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Posted: 13:59 04-07-2012 799
Rest Day

Spent today with PapaBear in Tempe trying to regain some lost weight and get a few things taken care of.
This pic is from the top of Mica Mt a few days ago. It's a cool camp high in a majestic pine forest with views forever.
Chuck at REI was very helpful with the tips of my trek poles which are wearing out. He found a spare part that fit so I have a spare for when one finally fails. A few more oz to carry, but some insurance.
Got 2 days of food to get me to Roosevelt Marina where I've already sent a 4-day box. It's about 50 miles.
To gain weight, I had a large DQ chocolate shake, onion rings, bacon, eggs, biscuits, peanut butter, milk, clam chowder, apple, banana, 2 oranges, snap peas, grapes, and am now having dinner of chicken, cowboy beans, french fries, and cake. That should help a little!
I'll tell you more about PapaBear later.

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Posted: 21:42 04-03-2012 798
Day 17 - Picket Post Trailhead

I walked 29416 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 13 miles today.
Picket Post Mountain was the end of today's hike, close to Superior AZ. An early start got us walking in cool temps but some cactus needles in a leg, overgrown trail, chatting with hikers and bikers slowed us down a bit. We got to the trailhead just fine, got phone coverage, and our ride to Tempe picked us up.
So, another short backpacking trip is complete. After resting a day, I'll start a week long trip to Pine.

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Posted: 7:26 04-03-2012 797
Day 16 - Real AZ Scenery

I walked 54864 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 21 miles today.
Passed over the Gila River this am, which is the lowest point on the AZ Trail. After our open pit copper mine tour, Erik caught up with us and hiked awhile. But he was in a hurry and went on ahead. Met Lee and David who have helped create many miles of the trail.
Covered the new portion west of Kelvin which was beautiful, especially the view of the old train tressle.
This pic is similar to what I got to enjoy all afternoon and am now camped among. We could not find the new trail at Walnut Canyon so wound up going the old way past the artesian well.
All in all, a terrific day on the trail capped off with Mexican Rice and a Snickers bar.
Tomorrow should get me to a real bed and shower!

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Posted: 22:06 04-01-2012 794
Day 15 - My New Friend
I walked 42762 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 18 miles today.
I actually hiked more like 20 miles but the rounding of miles the past two weeks has pushed the total a bit higher than reality.
How do you like my little friend I met on the trail today?
Actually, I hiked with a new buddy named PapaBear today. Our paces seem to match fairly well so we're planniing to hike two more days, take a rest day, then see how it goes.
That afternoon rest break today was a great idea. We climbed the hill when it was a bit cooler. We're now camped on a ridge and the hot wind is really gusting. Hopefully, this little shelter will hold up.
We also got buuzzed by two military helicopters zooming past - pretty cool.
Awesome teriyaki rice and tuna for dinner, plus Oreos for desert! Here's a tip - generic poptarts aren't as good as the real thing.
Check out my current location on the map.

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Posted: 6:09 04-01-2012 792
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