Arizona Trail – Day 19 (25 miles)
Cake and I got up just before dawn and started hiking at sunrise. The first few miles followed a dirt road slowly up into the mountains and continued our ascent from Roosevelt Lake yesterday.
About an hour in Cake stopped walking and said he was turning back. He was still feeling awful with the same thing that he was suffering from yesterday. The rest of the day was steep, exposed climbing and he did not want to get stuck in between hills without water.
Fair enough, but it is unfortunate to see him go.
I continued on and very quickly came to the first hill. It was not very tall, maybe 1,000ft (300m) but it was quite steep. I headed up and got a sweat going fairly early in the morning.
It was totally worth it. I was on an exposed ridge with some great views and some epic light rays spilling into the valley.
The ridge continued on for a couple of miles and then dropped down into a valley and back up the other side. Climb number two. It was not as steep as the last but it was definitely not PCT grade.
Again, another short ridge leads to another descent into a valley. It was a bit weird that the trail could have stayed up on the ridge and traversed around but decided to have the steepest descent and ascent of the trail instead. Going down was slow and going up was extremely sweaty work.
At about 5 pm I walked up to a pair of hunters heading back to the trailhead. I ended up speaking to them for a while and walked the mile or so with them.
I headed back up and onto another ridge. It was a dirt road with plenty of camp sites. All of them taken by people out for the weekend. There was no obvious campsites further up the trail so I went into the quietest campsite and asked if I could share.
It turned out great. It was a father and two suns out hunting for the weekend. We ended up talking around the fire well into the night.
P.S. Cake made it back to Roosevelt, spewed a couple of times and then hitched around the mountains back to Phoenix. It seems like a wise decision to turn back.