Arizona Trail – Day 3 (20 miles (?))
I woke up at Gooch’s place in Patagonia. Last night a Havilina (similar to a little boar) wandered up to me to say hello and eat my food. It took a couple of goes to scare it away.
I then had a delicious omelette with Free Bird and Raven. I heard more stories from them. One of interest was that Raven lived in a no money community for almost 2 years. I kind of want to hear more of that one day.
I packed up as Free Bird produced a few maps of a couple of alternatives I was interested in. After I finished packing, I hit the trail, or should I say road. The next 11 or 12 miles would be road walking.
It started with a short sealed road, but the majority was a dirt road. The road walking was fairly easy until a few miles to go when it started to climb. Here it was steep and I became hot and sweaty. On a side note, I hope I adjust to the desert soon!
At the top of the climb, the trail turned right, but I turned left. Time for the alternative 2: Mt Wrightson. I have to say this was one hell of an alternative! I loved it. Instead of staying low and walking around the mountain, I headed up to the summit and then traversed along the ridgeline. (If you are planning to hike the AzT, I highly recommend this. It is slightly shorter, has about 3,000ft more climbing. But the views are stunning and way better than the ok official trail. I will post a route description tomorrow once I finish it.) As I climbed, the views continued to get bigger. Arizona is known for its big views, but this takes the cake. I could see 4 different sky islands and all the flat desert floor in between.
I got to the top just as the sun started to set. I was like a kid in a candy store. I could not put my camera away. In every direction I looked, there was another great view.
This was under unexpectedly awesome afternoon! The only downside is that hat I am writing this from a shitty, slopey, rocky campsite. I passed a few better options, but the sunset kept me going. After the sun had set, I looked at my map and picked out a saddle for the night. It was not good, but it was the best around and it is well worth the fantastic afternoon I had.