Twig Adventures

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 by the light of our headlamps 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 all my layers, including 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,[…]

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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 goodbye to our wonderful trail angels and hosts. Richard drops us off just 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 drop us[…]

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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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SOBO Day 98: Grants for the Finish

September 30th, 2019 The Narrows Trail, HWY 117 to Grants, NM Distance in miles: 21 1030-1720 I wake up with no clear agenda for the day. My strategy for finishing this thing is a bit amorphous. I can walk from Grants to reconnect my footsteps or I can try to hitch a ride out to the point where I left off and walk back. There are also 2 ways…a direct roadwalk on highway 117 or the Zuni-Bonita alternate through a canyon and about 7 miles of walking over lava. I had wanted to take the alternate but now I’m feeling lazy and just want to do the road walk. I could just do nothing and call it good. But I[…]

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SOBO Day 97: The Last Mountain

September 29th, 2019 Cattle trough mm 2445.4 to Grants, NM, via Mt Taylor alt. Distance in miles: 34 0610-1900 I’m going to climb Mt Taylor as an alternate today. I don’t need to climb it since it’s not the official route of the CDT but this is my second to last day, so heck yeah I’m going up. I’m treating it like Mt Katahdin on the Appalachian Trail. It’s sort of the finish line. And why not. It’s a tall and prominent mountain at 11,301′. There’s even a registry to sign. Let’s go! Except I’m reluctant to leave my perfect campsite, it’s so nice. I walk the road in the dark, not paying very close attention. Just like that, I’m[…]

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SOBO Day 96: Towards the Finish

September 28th, 2019 Mm 2410.9 to cattle trough mm 2445.4 Distance in miles: 34.5 0610-1800 What a great night and a far cry from the previous one. There’s not a sound, save for the very distant, soothing hoots of an owl. Then as I’m eating my breakfast in the dark, a buzzing invades my space. A single mosquito is trying her luck with me but gets smashed as a result. I have to laugh…a mosquito out here? Where did it come from and what has it endured? And to have come to such an end. It’s tragic. I’m on the trail in the dark again, playing the game of finding the next cairn. I keep my headlamp on its lowest[…]

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SOBO Day 95: A Trail of Rock & Sand

September 27th, 2019 Mm 2375.1 to mm 2410.9 Distance in miles: 35.7 0600-1830 Dogs bark and trucks rumble down the nearby highway all night long. I should have put my earplugs in but I sleep ok. It’s an awful campsite but I would have paid $20 to tent right next to the highway if I stayed in town at the RV park. All the hotels looked a bit run-down and with a few creepy guys sitting outside their rooms, staring at me. No, I was better off escaping into the darkness outside of town. I wake at 4 am, no longer able to ignore the dog’s incessant barking. Seriously, how can a dog enjoy barking for hours? Don’t they ever[…]

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SOBO Day 94: The San Pedros & Cuba

September 26th, 2019 Mm 2340.9 to mm 2375.1 Distance in miles: 34.2 0620-1920 I sleep very well and for the first time in a long while, wake up feeling hot. It’s so warm and also dead silent overnight. Not even the crickets are stirring when my alarm goes off. Some coyotes start up while I’m eating breakfast…they too have a thing for the sunrise. And what a sunrise it is… quintessentially New Mexico. Oranges and pinks reflect off the bluffs, pinnacles, and canyon walls. It’s delightful. Just before I cross a highway, a hiker calls out to me from his cowboy camp. It’s Paha, the guy whose footprints I’ve been following and that the artists told me about. Except he[…]

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