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mini location map2015-06-08
13 by photographer avatarDave1
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Arizona TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Backpack avatar Jun 08 2015
Backpack122.00 Miles 15,800 AEG
Backpack122.00 Miles4 Days         
15,800 ft AEG40 LBS Pack
 no routes
My original plan was to hike the Arizona Trail from Utah, heading south to I-40 in Flagstaff. I only made it as far as the South Rim due to foot problems, other issues, etc...

Monday: Left home around 2am. On the way to the canyon I cached some water off of HW180 near segment #34. Once at the South Rim I took the TransCanyon Shuttle towards the North Rim. They were cool and allowed me to get dropped off at the start of House Rock Rd (after the Vermillion Cliffs and before the start of the Kaibab Monocline). I walked House Rock Rd for about 4 miles (loaded up with 10 liters of water) until a nice couple from Austria picked me up in their rented camper van. They were headed north to 89 in Utah but had no maps or GPS. I think they were happy to have someone confirm they were headed in the right direction but it took me some convincing at each road intersection. They dropped me off at the State Line Campground and the northern terminus of the AZT, saving me about 16 miles of walking under the ever warming sun. I believe we stopped to photograph every cactus flower along the way. Hope they made it to 89.

I started on #43 as soon as I arrived. It was the middle of the day and already quite warm. The trail wastes no time in gaining elevation via many long switchbacks. I was expecting lots of shade along this segment but the junipers come up a little short. Found some water jugs at the 43/42 junction (and pretty much every junction after that) so I really didn't need to start with so much water. Oh well. I set up camp somewhere along segment 42. Finished with about 19 miles for the first day. Fell asleep as a pack of coyotes howled in the distance (at least I told myself it was very distant :scared: )

Tuesday: Cloudy with very light rain off and on all morning. Much cooler than yesterday though. Ponderosa Pines started appearing more and more. Took a side trip to Jacob Lake to get a bacon cheeseburger and an oatmeal cookie (best cookie I've ever had!). The rain picked up as the day wore on. I was soaked by the time I found camp in the evening, somewhere along segment 40. About 37 miles for day 2.

Wednesday: Packed up my drenched tent, not looking forward to crawling into a wet tent tonight. Heavy rain most of the day. My sneakers were soaked and my feet were feeling very tender and starting to blister. The rain finally let up as I neared the Grand Canyon NP border. This passage is very beautiful but the pain in my feet made it tough to enjoy. I thought about stopping to dry out my tent as the sun made a few appearances but wanted to make it to the North Rim today and didn't have extra time. I sent a message to my wife via Delorme inReach and their superior Iridium Satellite network to see if she could find me a room at the North Rim. At about 6:30pm I checked to see if I had received any messages only to find my inReach was no longer in my pack :o . I knew I must have left it somewhere during a break but couldn't remember where. It was too late to turn back as I would need to make camp soon but didn't have a permit to stay in the park (my plan was to stay at the NR hiker's campground which usually has spots). I continued on to the campground and spent a near sleepless night racking my brain as to where the inReach could be. My coughing and gas-passing neighbor (the campsites are very close together) didn't help much. About 33 miles for the day.

Thursday: I woke up early to more rain and lots of wind. Fought hard to take my tent down and pack it up. I started walking along HW67 north towards the entry station and the end of segment 39, close to where I thought the inReach might be. After about 6 miles and 21 vehicles (not a lot of people leaving the north rim this early in the morning apparently) I finally got a ride. A nice woman who happened to be a park employee drove me a few more miles north where I could pick up the trail. Luckily after only about 2 miles of walking I spotted the inReach sitting on rock. I was overjoyed! It was wet from the night's rain but still working. I got back on HW67 where I was almost immediately picked up by two older brothers in a sweet RV. They drove me all the way back to the North Rim so I could start my walk back to the South Rim. So about 9 miles for a morning warm-up before the real hike started.

I headed down the North Kaibab with a lot of pain in my feet. It was very slow going. Took me about 6 hours to reach Phantom Ranch but I made it just before 4pm (closing time) so I could buy a lemonade and 2 bagels at the canteen. I met a group of four who had a permit for five at the Bright Angel Campground. They offered me their extra spot but I very reluctantly refused as I had almost no food left. I did stay for a ranger program though: GC Triva put on by BCO Ranger Casey. Very similar to Jeopardy, it was actually a lot of fun. Left PR around 5:45pm and hiked out Bright Angel. My feet felt much better hiking uphill for some reason. Topped out around 9:30. Pizza at Maswik. Thanks to all the kind people who gave me a lift! :y:

Did you know a Garmin Oregon 600 only holds tracks up to 10,000 points? I do now. I put together a route on HAZ RM of segments 32 to 43 and loaded it onto my GPSr at home. When I got to the canyon I found it had only loaded from Utah to the Colorado River, exactly 10,000 points. Mistake number 4,256 and another reason I decided to call it quits at the south rim.
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