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Arizona Trail Progress

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Offline Keepa

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #30 on: April 23, 2019, 03:54:18 PM »
The total miles I have hiked are 346.8, from the border of Mexico to Roosevelt Lake bridge/dam.

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Offline Keepa

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #31 on: April 23, 2019, 04:20:03 PM »
Trail angels are truly special people. Today I called one who lives in Apache Junction, and asked him to bring me to Phoenix. He said he would, and that he is also bringing two other hikers from Superior to Mesa.

They really are angels.

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Offline Keepa

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #32 on: April 23, 2019, 04:33:24 PM »
I have met more than 30 hikers on the trail, each with an interesting story and experiences. I enjoy that part of hiking, meeting people, just as much as the trail itself.

For example in an earlier report I talked about a hiker named Legend, who was trying to set a new fastest known time record for the AZT. We met him in Summerhaven, where he told us he was hiking about 53 miles per day. Yesterday I learned that he had finished and set a new record.

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Offline Keepa

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #33 on: April 30, 2019, 09:40:11 PM »
Back on the trail. I was out for a week to attend my cousin's wedding and to let my right foot heal.

But because of time constraints, I skipped about 110 miles, between Roosevelt lake and Pine. I will do those next year.

Tomorrow I will begin from Pine and make for Utah.

7 days off the trail felt a like very long time.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 01:41:13 AM by Keepa »

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #34 on: May 01, 2019, 05:19:14 AM »
Good luck and keep up the forward progress!
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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #35 on: May 01, 2019, 10:48:13 AM »
Go, Keepa, go!

Utah should be awesome. With the rising temps, you may be glad you skipped those 110 miles this season. Looking forward to the next installment.


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Offline PacingTheCage

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #36 on: May 01, 2019, 11:26:39 AM »
Great report and you are a great story teller.


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Offline Keepa

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #37 on: May 08, 2019, 02:09:38 PM »
Monday, April 22

Capitan, Honeydew and Cheetah arrived around noon. We spent the day at the Marina store and restaurant, whose staff are the rudest and most hostile people I have ever encountered. We met 4 other AZT hikers who arrived but did not stay the night.

Tuesday, April 23

I woke up around 5:30. Honeydew and Cheetah had left already. Capitan had to stay until 8 because yesterday she left her power pack in the U.S. Forest service office to charge and they locked up at 4.
I hit the trail at 6:55. My right foot began to hurt immediately. The trail went up into the hills and around a couple of drainages, pointlessly and needlessly. Sometimes a trail does not make sense, and this segment, from Roosevelt Lake Marina to Roosevelt Bridge, was an example of that. There were no compelling views and two needless ascents and descents. It was 1.5 miles of bland hiking. The walk on Route 188 from the Marina to Roosevelt Bridge was only a half mile and hugged the lake. That would have been a much more enjoyable route.

As I made my way to the bridge the pain in my right foot intensified. It was very uncomfortable.

I reached the bridge at about 8:10 and walked across it, as I had to, to reach the trail, which continued on the other side of the reservoir. I got there at 8:25, and stopped at a large pullout on the south side of 188, a vista point. My foot was hurting badly. I took off my shoes and allowed it to rest for about 30 minutes. Then I put my shoes on and walked on it to feel it out, and it still hurt badly. So I let it rest for about 50 minutes and tried walking on it again, but it still hurt the same.

Capitan arrived around 10 and I told her that I had to stop because the pain in my foot was very bad. Had I continued the next exit point, Sunflower, was 41 miles away, and I did not want to risk it.

Capitan understood and went on ahead. I tried to hitch-a-ride in the next two hours without success. Finally, I called a trail angel who lives in Apache Junction and asked him to bring me to Phoenix, and he said yes.

I walked back to the Marina on 188, it only took 20 minutes. I got there around 12:30. The trail angel, Henry Kirk, would come at 4, so I had plenty of time.

I went to the restaurant for lunch. I set my backpack on a chair at my table. The bartender told me I could not do that, it had to be set outside. As I said, I have never experienced such hostility before.

When Henry and his wife arrived at 4 we bought a few cold drinks from the Marina store. Right after we paid for them at the register Henry opened his Coke, and the woman working the register immediately snapped at him and told him he could not drink that in the store. It was unbelievable.

Henry had picked up another hiker, who had also injured her foot, and the 4 of us made for Phoenix. We stopped at a very nice Mexican restaurant on the outskirts of Phoenix and I bought dinner for all of us, to show my appreciation for these wonderful trail angels. Henry and his wife were elderly and super nice.

They dropped both of us off at Sky Harbor airport. The other hiker had a flight to Canada, where she was from, and I got an Uber to bring me to my cousinís house in Glendale.

Tuesday, April 30

I spent the last 7 days with my family. My cousinís wedding was on Friday, April 26. My mom and two younger sisters came for the wedding from Chicago. My cousinís sisters and parents came from London, and other cousins came from Sweden. It was a lot of fun. It made me appreciate family and its importance, especially since I had been hiking essentially alone for the past month.

I needed a ride from Phoenix to Pine, where Capitan, Honeydew and Cheetah were taking a zero today. The day before I posted a message on the AZT Class of 2019 facebook page, asking if anyone could give me a ride. A woman answered yes, as she was heading from Phoenix to Wyoming. I met her in Fountain Hills and we set out for Pine around 1. I arrived in Pine just before 3. I gave her $20 dollars for the ride.

The girls were staying at a winery owned by a trail angel. I met them there and gave them a treat, a piece of very delicious baklava for each from my cousinís wedding.

They also gave me a treat, as it was my birthday today.

Capitan and I walked to the Tavern for dinner around 5:30, where I had the most delicious hamburger I have ever had. She gave me a birthday gift, a Western novel called Hondo. I very much appreciated the thought and I thanked her very much. We then returned to our sleeping quarters, a large metal garage converted into a dorm. It had a shower and a wood burning stove.

The stove had been burning all day and it was very warm in there. I asked the girls not to feed the fire anymore and they agreed. But it was still too warm for me, and I had to step outside a couple of times in the course of the night to cool off. But I did finally fall asleep.

Wednesday, May 1

We all woke up at 5:30. I was ready to go in a couple of minutes, as I had not unpacked anything the night before. I had bought a breakfast burrito, yogurt and an orange juice the night before and ate those while the girls packed.

Honeydew could not find her stove and spent 20 minutes looking for it but to no avail. She ordered a new one from Amazon and had it shipped to Mormon Lake, our next stop.

We resolved to camp at General Springs Canyon tonight, on the Mogollon Rim. It would be our longest day so far at about 22.5 miles.

Ray, the owner of the winery, drove us to where the AZT intersects Beeline Highway (87). We said our goodbyes and hit the trail, first Cheetah, then Honeydew a few minutes later. I waited a few minutes then hit the trail at 6:07. Capitan would follow a little later.

The trail was a very nice and smooth single track and relatively flat, with minor elevation changes until the very end, where we would climb up to the Mogollon Rim.

I caught up with Honeydew about thirty minutes later and leapfrogged a couple of times, and then she passed me and continued ahead.

I had terrific views looking back and down at Pine, and starting about 7 miles later terrific views of the Mogollon Rim to my the left and front.

Water was plentiful but I only carried two liters, as it was in the upper 50s in the morning.

I made good progress, keeping a steady pace of 2 miles per hour. The trail went around several drainages and hills, but still the elevation changes were trivial, 200 feet or less. But it had been steadily climbing gently since the very beginning.

At 10:30 I arrived at a creek and found Honeydew and Cheetah sitting there eating. I filtered a liter and sat for a few minutes. Vaz, an AZT hiker, arrived a few minutes later, followed by Capitan. We sat for about 45 minutes. A married couple arrived while we were sitting there. We chatted for a few minutes and they left. Vaz departed a few minutes later, followed by Capitan.

The next water source was the headwaters of the Verde River, at the base of the big climb to the Mogollon Rim, at mile 19 of this stretch.  It was about 11 miles ahead. I made it there by 4:50. I saw Capitan standing on the bridge over the river talking to Vaz.

The husband and wife were camping there for the night, as was Vaz.

I had two liters of water so I did not filter any. Capitan went ahead and I followed about 5 minutes later. About 30 seconds after I left I heard the voices of Cheetah and Honeydew. I looked back and saw them standing on the bridge.

The big climb had begun, 1000 feet over two miles. The trail met an old dirt road about half mile later and followed it for about one mile as it climbed up to the Mogollon Rim. It was not bad, but I knew the meat of the climb was still ahead.

About half mile from the Rim the trail left the road, which I could have followed up to the Rim, and began seriously climbing, 500 feet over half a mile. It was very rocky, with some boulder hopping. But I had my second wind and did not feel tired.

Just past the base of this last climb there was a side trail to an old railroad tunnel and I saw Capitanís trekking pole at the intersection. She had left it there to indicate she had gone to the tunnel. I was focused on the climb and proceeded forward.

I made it to the top at 6:04 and rested for a couple of minutes, then continued on for about half a mile to General Springs Cabin. Then I went ahead about a quarter of a mile to the trailhead. I waited for Capitan for a few minutes. It was cold on the Rim so I put on my down jacket. While doing that Capitan arrived.

At about 6:20 we set out for General Springs Canyon, about 1 mile ahead, where there were nice campsites next to the creek.

We arrived at the first intersection of the AZT with the creek at about 6:45 but the camping sites were not good, so we continued ahead about another half a mile were we found a nice campsite with a fire ring. It was about 7. Capitan wondered if Cheetah and Honeydew would make it.

Capitan started building a fire, but it was difficult as everything was damp. While she was doing that I made dinner and Cheetah and Honeydew arrived. Capitan managed to start the fire after about 20 minutes but it did not last long.

We all had dinner then we pitched our tents. It was already cold, there was fog coming from my breath. I knew it would be a cold night. I put on two top layers and two bottom layers and my socks, as well as a fleece cap. I had bought a sleeping bag liner for this part of the AZT from the Rim to the end, because it would be between 7000 and 9000 feet elevation and I knew it would be colder. The liner added about 5 degrees of warmth to my 30 degree quilt. Would it be enough?

We had done 22.4 miles for the day. It was my longest so far.

Thursday, May 2

I woke up around 5:30. I did not sleep well. It was cold, and I did not fall into the deep R.E.M. sleep all night. I just dozed off and kept waking up.

Cheetah was almost packed. She hit the trail about 5:45. Capitan followed about ten minutes later. I made breakfast then quickly packed up. I had to filter 3 liters of water for the next stretch. It was cold and my fingers got wet filtering the water. But as I was using my Steripen so it was quick, 90 seconds per liter. I had to wear my gloves for the next 15 minutes to warm up my hands.

I hit the trail at 6:45, about ten minutes after Honeydew left. It was easy going on the Rim, as it was mostly flat, with only a couple of climbs coming up. There were a couple of water sources coming up but I didnít need them, as it was cool and somewhat shady in the Coconino National Forest. It smelled nice with the scent of Pine.

But all that I could think about was going home.

My destination was East Clear creek, 7 miles ahead. As I made for it the thought of going home overwhelmed me. I knew the AZT would intersect Beeline Highway 13.7 miles ahead, and there I could hitch back to Phoenix.

I made it to East Clear creek by 10. It was a 500 feet descent to the creek, where I found Capitan and Honeydew sitting on a gravel bar in the middle of the creek, having lunch. I joined them.

From the beginning Capitan had a Tyvek sheet which she used as a ground sheet and for other things. It was such a great idea that I brought mine, which I had with me in my car in Phoenix, along with all my other gear. I spread the sheet on the gravel and sat on it and made lunch.

Then I made the decision to stop. I told Capitan and Honeydew that I was ending my hike at Beeline Highway. They asked me why, and I am not sure I knew the reason, but I knew I wanted to stop. They were very saddened by it, as was I, as we three had become a family and we enjoyed hiking with each other.

We said our goodbyes, hugged each other, and they left. I remained for about 20 minutes then hit the trail.

It was an immediate 600 foot climb in .8 miles out of the creek, but I did not feel it. The highway was about 7 miles ahead.

I felt comfortable with my decision, but I was thinking about why I made it. The preliminary answer was the week I spent in Phoenix for the wedding, with my mother and sisters, with my cousins, had changed me. It had brought focus to the importance of being with your loved ones. While I enjoy being alone, and do it often on short trips during the year, I felt that one month was enough for me.

I looked at the map to see if there was a forest road I could use to reach the highway faster, and there was. I hit Forest road 751 2.5 miles later. From there it was 4.5 miles on the trail to Beeline Highway, but going west on 751 was only 1.5 miles. So I took the road. Several cars passed me in both directions. About a mile later I got a hitch to the Blue Ridge Ranger station on Beeline Highway. It was 12:30.

I did not have mobile coverage, so the U.S. Forest service ranger, Amelia, let me use the landline to call for a ride. But none of the trail angels could come and get me. She overheard me and asked me where I was going, I told her I had to get to Glendale. She said she and her husband were going to Sun City, only a few miles from Glendale, at 5 and she would be happy to give me a ride. I accepted and thanked her profusely.

It was about 1 and she would not leave work until 4, so I sat at the picnic table in front of the office and made lunch, then I spread my Tyvek sheet on the ground and lay on it for a couple of hours.

At about 4:15 we left for Pine, where she lived. I met her husband Dennis, a very nice guy. At around 5 we drove for Glendale.

Amelia and Dennis are extremely nice people, very genuine and sincere and I liked them very much. We had great conversation during the two hour drive. They drove me to my cousinís house and told me that if I was in Pine again I could stay with them. I said I would treat them to dinner the next time I was there. They went for dinner at their favorite Mexican restaurant, Mextica, only a half mile from my cousinís house.

I had done 380 miles on the AZT and thus my adventure ended.

But not quiteÖ

Saturday, May 4

Had I continued the hike our next stop would have been Mormon Lake, where I had sent a resupply box. The girls were arriving there on Saturday morning, so I decided to meet them there and also claim my resupply box.

I left Glendale at 9 and made it to Mormon Lake at 11:10. I went to the post office and got my box. I sat at the Saloon and waited for the girls. Capitan arrived at about 11:30, followed by Honeydew at about 11:45.

Honeydew went to the post office to get her stove, which at first could not be found, but she got it. We met Cheetah, who was ending her hike at Mormon Lake, as planned, and her friends, who had picked her up the day before. They were going to drive to Sedona and to Prescott, where they lived.

Vaz was also there and he was also ending his hike, as planned.

Cheetah and her friends left at about 12:30. We went to the lodge where there was a BBQ buffet and had a great lunch.

I gave all my food to Capitan because she had not sent herself a resupply box. I also brought Capitan and Honeydew a treat. I brought 5 packets of Land-O-Lakes cocoa for Capitan and a box of Starbucks Via instant coffee for Honeydew.

We sat at the restaurant until 4 then moved to the Saloon. It was very difficult to pull myself away, but I finally did and hit the road at 4:30. I left with profound sadness.

But we talked about doing another hike together, we three, and I recommended the Tahoe Rim trail.

I finally left for Chicago. I drove to Grant, New Mexico, where I spent the night. The next day I spent the night in Joplin, Missouri, and on Monday arrived home in Chicago at 5, just in time for rush hour!

It is an adjustment from walking 15-20 miles a day to sitting at home with nothing to do.

I will return to work on June 3. I am not sure I am looking forward to it. I had read that doing a thru-hike changes you. Now I know it is true. Even though I only did 380 miles, it has changed me. I feel it. I am processing it, trying to understand the change, but it has changed me.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 04:37:11 PM by Keepa »

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #38 on: May 09, 2019, 06:18:55 AM »
Keepa, so sorry to hear that you decided to stop your hike but understand when an overwhelming feeling comes over you to decide such a thing.  You did knock out a big chunk and got a real feeling for being a thru hiker too. 

Did you ever figure out what was up with your foot pain?
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
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no shade, no water
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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #39 on: May 09, 2019, 09:08:45 AM »
What an amazing growth experience, Keepa. I've always thought long, long hikes in the wilderness, and especially ones that involve a lot of solo travel, provide really valuable opportunities for introspection. I think they test and refine our values. Sounds like this one was no exception. You accomplished more than 99% of the population will in a typical year. Sorry you didn't get to complete your original goal, but I'm sure this will still rank as one of the most intense, stimulating, and memorable experiences you've ever had. I bet that, over time, you'll find your experiences on the AZT informing a lot of surprising aspects of your life.  Not a bad investment of your time, energy, and resources.....

"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Keepa

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #40 on: May 09, 2019, 11:03:22 AM »
Keepa, so sorry to hear that you decided to stop your hike but understand when an overwhelming feeling comes over you to decide such a thing.  You did knock out a big chunk and got a real feeling for being a thru hiker too. 

Did you ever figure out what was up with your foot pain?

Thank you. I don't know what the pain in my foot was, but it went away the week I was in Phoenix for the wedding and did not return when I hit the trail again.

But after I returned to the trail my ankle on my right foot started hitting the top of my shoe, and it was not doing that before, so I suspect the shoe might have had something to do with it.

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Offline Keepa

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #41 on: May 09, 2019, 11:08:09 AM »
What an amazing growth experience, Keepa. I've always thought long, long hikes in the wilderness, and especially ones that involve a lot of solo travel, provide really valuable opportunities for introspection. I think they test and refine our values. Sounds like this one was no exception. You accomplished more than 99% of the population will in a typical year. Sorry you didn't get to complete your original goal, but I'm sure this will still rank as one of the most intense, stimulating, and memorable experiences you've ever had. I bet that, over time, you'll find your experiences on the AZT informing a lot of surprising aspects of your life.  Not a bad investment of your time, energy, and resources.....

It was a terrific investment and worth every second. In fact, I plan to complete the trail next year, picking up where I left off and completing the section I skipped.

My friend sent me the following article. I agree with it 100%.

https://dailyhealthpost.com/traveling-happier-experiences-than-buying

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Offline Quatro

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #42 on: May 09, 2019, 09:16:38 PM »
We (and I include myself) sometimes get locked into the mindset of measuring our journeys in miles or days.  You just found what you were looking for a few miles earlier than you originally expected.  Well done.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro - HST

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Offline Keepa

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #43 on: May 09, 2019, 09:38:03 PM »
We (and I include myself) sometimes get locked into the mindset of measuring our journeys in miles or days.  You just found what you were looking for a few miles earlier than you originally expected.  Well done.
Thank you. Hike your own hike, that is the most important thing to do.

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Offline Keepa

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Re: Arizona Trail Progress
« Reply #44 on: May 16, 2019, 08:38:51 PM »
Here are a few pictures from my AZT hike. There are hundreds more and videos at the link below.


The southern terminus of the AZT


Mexico.




Parker Canyon Lake.




Tunnel Spring.


Kentucky Camp.




Trail magic.


I10 underpass.


Coati at Colossal Cave Mountain Park.


Manning Camp in Saguaro National Park, elevation 8000 feet.


A few miles from Summerhaven.


Capitan (left) and Honeydew.






Mountain View Tank.






Trail magic: chairs, water and food.


Job? What job?


Bridge over Gila River.


Gila River.




Alamo Canyon.






No comment!


Picket Post Mountain.


Capitan found a terrific lunch spot.


A great camp site.




Roosevelt Lake










The Mogollon Rim

More here: http://www.ninevehsoft.com/hikes

 


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