Twig Adventures

AZT Day 10: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Danish

October 16th, 2019 Cedar Ave off Flagstaff Urban Route mm 6.5 to near Pine Grove Campground mm 241.4 Distance in miles: 26 0930-1820 We try to get an early start on the trail but this town just really is a vortex. I’m at least up early, working on my blog. Then Sharon makes us delicious omelettes and we linger over coffee. Finally, Sharon needs to be off to teach a class at the univeristy and we make our break. We get as far as half a mile down the road before a bakery pulls us in. I have a pumpkin cream cheese danish. A few miles later, we stop at a local hardwear store that, local word has it, sometimes[…]

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AZT Day 8 & 9: Flagstaff

DAY 8: October 14th, 2019 Moto/Chimney Trail Junction mm 194.2 to Cedar Ave off Flagstaff Urban Route mm 6.5 Distance in miles: 11 0615-1000 It’s a short distance into town and I am looking forward to it! I want to eat all the Pad Thai at all the Thai restaurants. And also not smell bad anymore. We call ahead and get the last room at the Motel DuBeau. It’s operated by the same people that run the hostel (where I stayed last time I was in Flagstaff). It’s in a nice location downtown. We take the urban trail into town (there’s also an equestrian bypass trail going way around the city). We see some early morning mountain bikers and runners.[…]

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AZT Day 7: The San Francisco Peaks

October 13th, 2019 Cedar Ranch Trailhead mm 163 to Moto/Chimney Trail Junction mm 194.2 Distance in miles: 31.2 0605-1820 It’s a good campsite overnight. The road is quiet, it’s a lot warmer than previous nights and coyotes sing in the distance. We start the morning by climbing out of the desert scrub, back into the ponderosa forests. We’re on the flanks of the San Francisco Peaks, a chain of mountains that are the highest in Arizona (12,600′) and may have once stood 16,000′ before the super-volcano blew its top. The most recent eruption was about 900 years ago, according to a pamphlet I read later. That’s not long ago by geologic time. The sides of the mountains are speckled with[…]

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AZT Day 6: Trekking Pole Defense Methods

October 12th, 2019 Mm 126.7 to Cedar Ranch Trailhead mm 163 Distance in miles: 36.3 0605-1820 It’s cold overnight but not too much below freezing. Certainly not into the low 20s as forecasted. Unless I’m just tougher than I realize. My water bottles don’t freeze, anyway. I hear Stellar rustling at 4 am and wonder what he’s up to. He’s getting up? His phone has somehow reset to DST so he thinks it’s 5 am. It takes quite a bit of convincing that he’s an hour off…brain cells don’t work as fast this early. I am awake after this so I make coffee and blog. We get a good start and theorize that we can make it 36 miles to[…]

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AZT Day 5: The Starbucks Vortex in Tusayan

October 11th, 2019 South Rim Grand Canyon mm 100.2 to mm 126.7 Distance in miles: 26.5 0620-1800 I’m perfectly warm overnight but it’s hard to get moving in the cold morning. The bathrooms are heated, so that helps. We also only have a 5 mile walk to Tusayan, where there is a Starbucks waiting. We have to stop by since Stellar has a resupply package waiting at another business. There’s a paved bike path that takes us there, so it’s very easy and fast walking. The path is empty, save for one guy riding a bike to work. At Starbucks, we run into a hiker, Mary Poppins. Stellar recognizes her from her blog. She did most of the AZT in[…]

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AZT Day 4: Rim 2 Rim

October 10th, 2019 North Rim Grand Canyon mm 76.2 to South Rim mm 100.2 Distance in miles: 24 (including a bunch of tourist and town walking) 0610-1130 Oh what a day. This will probably be the highlight of the AZT because we are walking the Grand Canyon from rim to rim, YO! What a buzz word it is to say this phrase: rim to rim. I never gave much thought to what this entailed nor to its role on the AZT. But having spent a day around the North Rim, I’ve quickly learned what a draw this particular hike is. It apparently carries a lot of prestige. For starters, the whole hike is about 21 to 23 miles, depending on[…]

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AZT Day 3: North Rim of the Grand Canyon

October 9th, 2019 Mm 60.1 to North Rim Grand Canyon mm 76.2 Distance in miles: 16.1 plus about 4 miles walking around, being a tourist 0610-1130 I have a hard time warming my sleeping bag but once I do, I sleep pretty well. I wake around 2:30 am feeling pretty hungry, so I decide to try to get down the rest of my dinner. I manage it, followed by a chocolate bar. Then I go back to sleep until my usual time. I don’t know what was wrong with me the night before but I seem to be back to normal. We have a pleasant morning, beginning with meeting a few SOBOs. They are just packing, so we stop to[…]

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AZT Day 2: Walking the Highlands of Arizona

October 8th, 2019 Orderville Trailhead mm 27 to mm 60.1 Distance in miles: 33.1 0545-1800 We get on the trail super early and walk with our headlamps on for a bit. Arizona doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time so we have to take advantage of the daylight in the morning. That’s fine by me, since I usually like getting an early start. Except that this morning is very cold and I can’t seem to warm up as I walk. I start out wearing even my puffy and mitts. We walk uphill in a small valley which acts to trap the cold air. The first rays of sun don’t hit us until 8 am. Once they do, it becomes very pleasant. I[…]

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AZT Day 1: Another Start

October 7th, 2019 Arizona Trail Northern Terminus mm 0 to Orderville Trailhead mm 27 Distance in miles: 27 plus 1.5 walked on road to trailhead. 0910-1830 We’re up early to cram breakfast and coffee before we try to hitch a ride to the trailhead. Stellar makes awesome omelettes using the leftover Caprese salad I made from the night before. We say our goodbyes to our wonderful trail angels and hosts. Richard drops us off at the outside of town. It’s still dark and we stand in the cold, having no luck. It’s hard to get a hitch to the middle of nowhere. After about an hour, a truck pulls over. Two workers are on their way to Page and can[…]

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CDT to AZT Interim

October 1-6, 2019 For continuity sake, I’m providing a brief description of some of the events happening in between finishing the CDT and starting the Arizona Trail. I decided to hike the AZT because Stellar, my good trail buddy from the PCT, is also hiking it this fall. The timing worked out well and I also like the idea of finishing at the Mexican border without retracing hundreds of miles of the CDT. This way I can more confidently say I hiked from Canada to Mexico for the second summer in a row. I take 6 days off in between, spending about half that time trying to figure out how to get from Grants, NM to Kanab, Utah. Mac graciously[…]

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