Connie's Appalachian Hike

A web history of my training, preparation and history of my Appalachian hike adventure. Then any other hiking tales I like to add.

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Volunteer with the Phoenix PMI chapter and the Northern Gila County Fair.  Retired in Payson AZ.  Original home town, Gloversville NY. Writer, Gardener, Hiker and more.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

It's been a long time- Potato Lake

Sorry for the long delay since my last post. My original email was not only hacked, but hijacked. It's taken me awhile to get around to all of the sites, links, addresses that the stolen email address was linked to. So, Most Recent Hike was to Potato Lake, north of Payson Arizona. We drove north on Highway 85 and turned off just past mile marker 281 onto the 300 Control Road. Following that road for about a 1.7 miles, we pulled off to the left onto forest road 9362T and parked in a camp site. A trail leads from there along 9362T to the white stake and go right. At 1.2 miles you'll reach an intersection just past several huge logs across the trail to forest road 147B. Follow that to the left along a fence on the left. It's about 2 miles downhill to Potato Lake. The lake is at 34 27.771N, 111 20.796W elevation at the lake is 7262 feet.

There were about 25 of us Tuesday. The day started cool. Cool enough at that altitude (7000+ feet) that a few people put on light jackets. We've just entered monsoon season and the day was pretty muggy for Arizona. Anyway, we trekked downhill, through ponderosa pine and a LOT of ferns. What with the ferns and the humidity I felt as though I were back in upstate New York.
Once at the lake we all sat on this fallen log, yeah, it was THAT long, and had a snack. There were some pretty pink water plants in the pond. My flowers of Arizona book doesn't list them.
The hike out was uphill all two miles. It was getting hot too, so we all took it pretty slow. A side benefit of going slow was that we found wild black raspberries. We all started picking. What a nice treat. Too bad the guys with the cameras weren't there, I'd have liked pics of all of us adults grabbing raspberries like wild bears. Anyway, we were back in Payson by noon. It was about a four mile round trip.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Havasu Falls Backpacking Trip Part 3 of 3

We wanted to be on the trail by 0615. Since the cafe doesn't open until 7am, that meant we needed to have breakfast in our rooms. I had brought my backpacking cereal and it was nothing to boil up water and add nuts and dried fruit for a hearty breakfast. Others made do with food bars of some sort. TK and Yvette, since they had missed supper, decided to go to the cafe for a big breakfast. I told them they'd probably catch up to me, I go so slow up hill. We all met in the courtyard (minus TK and Yvette) and I think all of us left packs for the mule train to take to the top for us. Randy, John, Jerry and I had decided the previous day to take advantage of that offer. Randy and I had to figure out how to put our spare gear somewhere other than our packs.
We only brought the full packs, no day packs. Eventually we decided to use a trash bag. I took the bag I was using as a bag liner out of my pack and we began stuffing it with my extra food, our spare gear and dirty clothes, as well as Randy's tripod. John and Jerry had a spare trash bag so we could double bag it then wrap it in duct tape. Hooray, I wasn't going to have to carry the extra 15 pounds out of the canyon. Our packs at the Lodge gate where they would strap them onto the horses and mules, we trudged off out of Supai. It was just dawn, the coolest part of the day. It was lovely to hike along the Havasu Creek on the mile out of town. So many birds were singing! At the mile point, the trail moves away from the creek and back into the Hualapai
Canyon. This part of the trail is mostly level but it was cool to see the sun changing the light in the canyon as it rose higher in the sky. I was moving along but not racing, probably 1.5 to 2 miles an hour. I wanted to save my strength for the 1.5 miles up the switchbacks. Subsequently, I fell farther and farther behind the rest of the group. Randy stayed with me. Jerry was moving at about the same speed I was so the three of us moved at our own speed, enjoying the morning cool. About 9am I decided to take a break. The sun was fully up but at this juncture there wasn't much shade. We were about 4 miles into the canyon. Here we ran into a small herd, about 5, of horses, freely meandering along the canyon floor, munching on whatever they felt like munching. It was at this point we caught up with Lisa, finishing up her break. I had a snack and a good drink of water and watched while
Jerry took off his shoes. He thought there was a rock in his shoe. Nope, a nice blister. So I dug out my moleskin, sports tape and pocket knife and we got his blister taken care of.
I also felt something wrong in my left boot so my snack done, I took off my boot. Sure enough. My left baby toe had a blister on the end and just at the bottom of the toe nail. This is even though I had taped all of my toes up before we left the Lodge. I took off the old tape and re-taped that toe. It felt much better when I got it back in the boot. In the meantime, the baggage trains were passing us by, headed to Hilltop. Break
over, we moved on. Both Jerry and I felt much better for getting those blisters taken care of. The last level mile went by very quickly. Almost before we knew it we were at the base. We took another quick break and let a couple of baggage trains go by, then started up.
If I haven't mentioned it before, I hate going uphill. Not only do I get out of breath and overheated, my hips and knees start to hurt. It doesn't matter. If I was going home, I had to hike up that cliff. The first part isn't too steep, I only had to stop to rest a couple of times. About the halfway point, there's a walled space with stone benches. We rested there a good 10 or 15 minutes. Had water and a snack. Randy lay down on the bench, pretending to take a nap. We watched another couple of baggage trains go by and spotted our packs on one of the horses. That was actually pretty cool! Of course we'd been passing hikers since about 8am, going into the canyon. Now there were more. Not a lot, but a steady trickle of them coming down hill. We got back going up the now steeper trail. This was the worse part for me. Trudge, trudge, trudge in what I call granny gear. Put one foot in front of the other, set distance goals, that bush, that turn. There were lots of stops for resting. We had to get
off the trail a few times to let the baggage trains by. Eventually, I could see the top and our friends up there, waving. The last two switchbacks were the worse, but I grit my teeth and pushed though, gasping for breath and red faced while our friends cheered us for making it to the top. We weren't there 10 minutes when TK and Yvette caught up to us in the parking lot. They are hiking fools! Good for them. So the baggage trains had brought all of our stuff up and we picked it up and headed home. It was a wonderful trip, one I had been wanting to do for several years. Despite the climb up the canyon walls, it's one I'd recommend for the simple reason that it's a unique environment, and beautiful. I hope you can make it there someday.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Havasu Back Pack Trip Part 2 of 3

OK, this is the day! We all were pretty excited about actually hiking to the falls today. First, a good breakfast.

We walked to the cafe and were there when the door opened at 7am. Remembering last night's fries, I asked about the size of the oatmeal bowl as the price on the board was $4.50. The clerk showed me a normal, 8oz paper bowl. I said OK and asked for 2 scrambled eggs as well. We sat down to wait and soon we noticed other patrons getting their food. The oatmeal was coming out in giant bowls. Soon I got my order, a normal small bowl and the scrambled eggs. Excellent.
Then one of our group got her oatmeal. Yup, giant bowl. Could have served 6 people. She got some smaller bowls and handed out oatmeal to 2 or 3 of our group who thought they could eat a bowlful. Seriously. She had to throw out about half of it. What a waste. So, breakfast done we met back in the courtyard after brushing teeth and picking up our day packs. The first falls, Navajo Falls is only about a mile and a half from the Lodge. It was another beautiful day in Arizona. We watched the sun coming up
and topping the red canyon walls with gold in a clear blue sky. We trudged along the trail, really it's the road that leads through the village, all powder soft sand.
The houses along the road all had yards, some with horses, most all with dogs. A couple had small gardens. The whole canyon smells like a barnyard. The Havasu Creek ran parallel to us on the other side of the canyon. I thought we were hiking south and east but in reality, looking at a map now, we're hiking north and west. Finally the creek and the trail closed together at Navajo Falls. This falls isn't dramatic, it's pretty. There are actually several falls here, starting with a small water fall at the top, then a series of tiny cascades, covering 1/8 to 1/4 mile. We stopped at the first view point to get a group picture.
After that, we stopped at several vantage points to see the falls from different points of view, taking lots of pictures of course. This area is striking because of the
contrast between the dry, red canyon walls and the brilliant green of water plants in the quiet places among the rocks in the creek.
Just half a mile past Navajo Falls is Havasu Falls, now on the trail's right. Previously much wider than it is now (there was a flood here a few years ago that changed the water flow)evidenced by the limestone formations all along the cliff it flows over. The falls makes a fair drop into a wide pool. The creek and the pools are a clear green caused by the mineral lime dissolved in it. The mineral covers everything in the water. Randy stopped to take some pictures while the fall was in morning shadow but the rest of the group moved on. We caught up to them about 1/4 mile on, at the start of the campgrounds. This area is well wooded and very pleasant to walk through. The camp ground had several camping sites, many of them empty this time of year. About halfway through the campsite we came to the Fern Spring. The spring comes out of the bottom face of the cliff and has been built up so that it's easy to get water from. We had known about the spring so we all were carrying just minimal water, a liter or two, because we knew we could refill here on our way back. The spring created another small stream paralleling Havasu Creek and eventually joining it before reaching Mooney Falls. Our hike leader, Lisa, did warn us there would be a bit of a ladder climb down to the bottom of the falls. When we got to the falls, we were at the top. The highest falls of the three, we looked from the top down into the canyon to a good sized shallow pool at the bottom. There were already several people down there.
She'd been here before and led us along a rocky path to an overlook. There, curled up in the shade, in a hollow at the base of the rock wall, was a dog.
View admired, we continued down the path, leading us down the cliff and there was
another dog at the next view point. I guess they just hang out there and go home when they're ready. I was admiring the view from there when I noticed one of our group going into a hole.
"Jerry, what are you doing in a hole?" Turns out this is the way down. You have to go through this tunnel to get to the spot where you climb down the cliff. Already 2 of our group had decided to stay at the top, they had a little trouble with vertigo. Now one of our group was having a bit of trouble with having to go into this tunnel. She overcame it though and came through with us. Lisa was ahead of me, then Arlene. Jerry had gone first and the rest of the group was behind me. There's just barely enough light to see. We have to be careful not to bump our heads and we have to feel the floor for sandy, irregularly spaced steps. Ahead, I can hear Jerry call, "I'm out!" I relayed the message so Sally would know it isn't far. When I come out of the tunnel we're still 3/4 of the way up the cliff face. A woman and her daughter are waiting for her husband to come back up (he'd led his son down just before our group arrived) and lead the daughter (11 or 12 years old) down. I can see why.
Chains are attached to the canyon walls. We're supposed to hold onto the chains and strategically placed rebar and crawl down the face of the cliff. Backwards.
Many in our group are in their 60's and 70's. I'm in my 50's and my heart was beginning to flutter. Lisa and Arlene have already started down. It's my turn. Looking over my right shoulder I start down. Lisa is talking Arlene through where to put hands and feet. I'm paying close attention because some of the steps down are very long. Longer that a 5 foot 2 inch person would like to drop while clinging to a slick (spray from the waterfall) rock and steel chain. Amazingly, we all get down safely.
A big cheer meets each of us as we reach the bottom. We claimed a picnic table and boots started coming off and water shoes went on. We couldn't wait to go wading in that gorgeous pool of clear green water. I don't even want to know how there managed to be two picnic tables down there. We all waded, took pictures and had a snack.
We lounged around there for quite a bit. Finally, we decided to go back. All except for TK and Yvette. They decided they wanted to hike the two miles farther to Beaver Falls. So we put on our boots and waved to them and headed back up the cliff. Randy and I were the last to go up. I find going up scarier than going down. For me it's easier
to hold on and drop than to hold on, pull up and try and find a foothold. So up we go with Randy behind me. Sure enough, we get to a spot where the foot hold is at my mid-thigh. To high for me to step up to. I finally wrapped my arm in the chain, found a fingerhold with the other hand and pulled, getting my knee to the foothold. By now, I'm into the rapid, shallow breathing of the terrified. Just a little panic setting in. So regardless of the places where I needed to change the foot I was standing on to the other so I could make the next step up, I made it. Just before we reached the tunnel, I was struggling up the next step and in front of me was an Indian looking guy in an orange safety vest. He was waiting for us to get up so he could go down. I thought he was a guide as there were two other people up there waiting to get down. I found out later that he was one of the tribe police who goes around helping the lost tourists and stuff. He did me the courtesy of not laughing or offering to help. I was so happy to reach that tunnel. We climbed up the tunnel much easier than we went down and emerged at the look out point, shaking and out of breath. Lisa was there waiting for us. Ambling back up the path we greeted both dogs again and reached the top where some of the group was waiting for us.
Jan and Paul had found a lovely spot back from where the falls goes over the cliff and led us there to rest and get a drink of water. We sat there at more picnic tables in the shade, enjoying the water flowing by and letting our shaking legs recover. Jerry, Sally, John, Lori and Arlene had gone ahead. We had a good time telling Jan and Paul harrowing tales of getting down and up. We sat there a bit then started back to the Lodge. Now going uphill, gently but still up, I went slowly. My legs were still shaky and we had all afternoon to go about 2 miles. There was no reason to rush. We enjoyed the walk and when we got to Fern
Spring, refilled our water bottles. There's nothing better than fresh spring water. At Havasu Falls we climbed down to the pool where several other people were picnicing and playing in the water.
Paul and Randy took a ton of pictures. The rest of us went wading again. The falls lands in a deep pool but in becomes shallow quickly. It flows over a 5 foot drop
into another pool where people were swimming. A very nice spot. It was about 80 degrees and the combination of warm weather, cool water and blue sky made the day perfect.
The mineral laden water is so full of lime that you can actually feel it on your skin. There were a could of tree trunks in the water, both coated in a thick skin of minerals. It was like a spa treatment for our hot, tired feet. Having our fill of fun, we put our boots on and started back up the trail. Still going uphill I continued to go slow. The afternoon sun was beating down and the powdery sand made huge clouds of dust. We were in no hurry so I took my time walking with Randy.
Lisa, Paul and Jan pulled ahead but we caught up to them at Navaho Falls where Paul was taking advantage of the afternoon light to get more pictures of the falls. Randy did the same. We all stayed there awhile then headed back to the Lodge. Again, I was dawdling with Randy so the others went ahead. Just inside the edge of
the village we saw a dapple grey horse to our right. He wasn't tied and didn't seem to be fenced. We passed him by but soon, we heard him coming up behind us. We moved to the side of the road and let him go by. A few houses later, he went into a yard, through a gate and to the back of the house. Shortly after that, we were back at the Lodge. After showers and chit chat in the courtyard, at 4:30pm the others went to the cafe. I stayed behind and made a backpacking meal (I brought 2 just in case). The cafe only had the one thing I could eat and I didn't want it again so I just boiled some water and made my own. It gave me a chance to make notes about the day and let my hair dry. By quarter until 6 the others were back in the courtyard. It was starting to get dark and TK and Yvette still weren't back. I mentioned it to the others and we decided to wait a little while yet before panicking. We all stayed in the courtyard, chatting about the day. By twenty after 6, we were starting to get concerned. After some discussion, and even though we didn't know if TK and Yvette could get a phone signal here in the canyon, we decided to have one of us call them. Just as Jan was dialing the number, TK and Yvette came strolling into the courtyard. We all gave a big cheer. They had gone to the cafe to get supper but were too late, it had closed. Offers of food flowed their way but they had plenty of snacks of their own. Their story: The trial after Mooney Falls becomes difficult with several creek crossings and terrain changes up and down. They got there and took lots of pictures and ran out of water. They had to wait at Mooney Falls as a large group of people were climbing out. One of their group had fallen and broken an ankle. He and his wife were going to be helicoptered out. (Not sure how that would happen as that area was too small for a helicopter to land.) Once up, they missed Fern Spring so had to do the whole hike from Beaver Falls to the Lodge with no water. I took them (a 6 mile hike) 3 hours, including the wait at Mooney Falls. So in the dark of the courtyard we traded stories about our day and our adventures. Tomorrow, the 8 mile hike out, with the dreaded 1 1/2 mile climb back up the canyon walls.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Havasu Canyon Backpack Part 1 of 3

Several of us decided last year to go to Havasu Canyon in October 2012. In the end, 12 of us did go and we had a great time. The group was: Me and Randy, Yvette and TK, Jan and Paul, Sally, Arlene, Lisa, Lori, John and Jerry. We went from Sunday Oct 14th, a pure travel day, and got home about dinner time, October 17th. We broke up into groups, 3 or 4 to a car. We all left on Sunday, to stay overnight nearer the canyon. John drove the car with me, Randy and Jerry. We stayed in Seligman and everyone else in Peach Springs. From Payson we went north on 260/87 and then west on 260 to Camp Verde where we got on I17 north. At Flagstaff we got on I40 west, getting off at the Seiligman exit onto old Rt 66. The town is pretty small, making it's living off of Rt66 nostalgia.

We stayed in the Delux Inn Motel, the sign out front claiming it's an historic building. Rt66 is the Main St. and we wandered up and down it peering into the tourist traps selling Rt66 doodads.
We hit the grocery store for stuff to eat in the morning. The plan was to leave at 6am because locals were telling us it would take two and half hours at least to get to the Hilltop Trailhead on the reservation. The grocery is small, mostly a quick, bread and milk kind of place. Locals must shop in Flagstaff or Williams. After that, we stopped in what appears to be the only bar in town where we saw the
end of the football game, Arizona vs The Bills. That was disappointing. We went to dinner at a cafe across the street from our hotel, this was a higher end tourist trap but they had a menu so instead of driving to the west end of town, we just ate there. It was alright but we might have done better to drive to the Roadkill Cafe or the diner across the street from it. Live and learn I guess. In for the night, Randy and I got to see the opening season episode of Walking Dead. Our provider doesn't carry AMC, so that was a plus. The hotel may be old, located between the main drag and the railroad tracks, I could hardly hear the trains going by. I slept well enough even though I was excited about getting to the canyon the next day. On the 15th, we were up early and on the road by 6:15. We got to the Hilltop Trailhead by 8am so it did take us nearly 2 hours. The Indian road turning off of Rt66 was paved and in good shape so there were no surprises.
We met the rest of the group when they arrived by 9am, the original meeting time. Some of the group was hiring horses to carry their packs down. Some of us, including Randy and me, carried our own. By 9:30am we were headed down the trail.
Hilltop is 1000 or more feet above the canyon bottom so the trail zigzags down the canyon walls to the bottom, a mile and a half away. The trail is pretty wide because the Havasupai drive the pack animals up and down the trail. Hikers need to be alert to the horses and mules, mostly running free with a driver or two behind them, and get to the uphill side of the trail and out of the way. It took us about 2 hours to get down. We weren't in any hurry and we were enjoying the views.
Once on the bottom, it's another 6 and a half miles to Supai, the village where the Lodge is. All of us had reservations there for two nights. The trail winds along the canyon bottoms following dry stream beds. The scenery is just stunning.
Huge, water sculpted, red rock cliffs surrounded us topped by a crystal clear blue sky. The canyons twist and turn and there were times, looking ahead, that you'd think the trail would just end at a canyon wall. The whole time we were hiking, there was a helicopter buzzing overhead. For those who don't want to hike, or ride a horse to Supai, there is helicopter service. Every 20 minutes or so, it would fly overhead between Hilltop and Supai. About half a mile from the village, we ran into Havasu Creek. This is the creek, that further downstream, creates the waterfalls we were there to see. The gravelly trail surface turned to soft sand, a lot harder to walk in. We followed that into the village and to the Lodge.
One thing to note, the large number of dogs in the canyon. They were everywhere, lying in the dust of their yards, following the pack trains, loping along at the rear, sitting on porches. Nice enough dogs, most of the time they didn't even bark at us. But they were everywhere. The village is fairly non-descript. Small houses, most only marginally maintained, few gardens or livestock was in evidence.
One thing I did notice though was pomegranate trees. At first I thought they were late apples but passing one yard, the tree was near the path. That's when I discovered that pomegranates grow, apparently quite well, at the bottom of the canyon. The bright red fruit hanging from the branches. How cool is that! After checking into the Lodge and ensconced in our rooms, we gathered in the courtyard to chat. All around us we could see the canyon walls, looming over us, creating a marvelous view in every direction.
Lodge accomodations are adequate. The room and bathroom was clean but there were odd bits of disrepair. In our room one end of the curtain rod was broken, so we couldn't close the curtains. Randy had a zip tie and made a repair. The wall light (and the only light by the way) was missing the knob to turn the light on and off. I had to turn it off by unplugging it from the wall socket next to the bed. There is no TV or telephone in the rooms. We found out the only place to eat was the cafe we had passed on the way to the lodge and they close at 6:30. So at 5pm we all trooped over to the cafe. No supper menu, it was all fast food, burgers, fries, chicken sandwich, grilled cheese, etc. The only thing on the menu I could get was a burger so I ordered a burger, no bun. It was $8.50 and I felt a little pricey but I paid for it. Orders in, we waited. After awhile our food began to come out. My $8.50 actually bought 2 burger patties with cheese, lettuce and tomato. Others at the table had ordered grilled cheese with french fries. They got a triple decker grilled cheese, huge, and a whole plate of french fries, enough for 4 - 6 people. We all felt they should have mentioned the portion sizes when we ordered. Often, the food came out cold. We weren't sure how long it had been sitting before they called the order number. After that, there was more chatting in the courtyard, the office was locked and there was no lobby or common room to use. Once it got too dark to see, we all went to our rooms. Since I didn't bring a book (concern about pack weight) I made notes about the days trip. After that I was bored. I think I went to sleep at 7:30pm. I'll continue the trip report in the next blog!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Failed Highline Hike

Well, I lived to tell about it. John C, Jim and I started out on Wednesday morning at 7am. Randy, of course, was there to take a group photo of the intrepid team starting out on their amazing journey.

The initial hike is 1 hour and 20 minutes up hill. That is a foreshadowing of the rest of the hike. We started out strong. I really don't know where that initial blast of energy came from but the guys let me set the pace so, I have to say, it's all my fault. The planning too. I'll take credit for that as well. I felt good that first 5 hours. There was great scenery as we reached altitude. We could see the whole Pine valley. Up and down the highway 87 from the vantage point we reached about 2 hours into the hike. The hike was mostly on exposed, south facing mountain sides. Good thing I had my sunblock on. By 10am we'd reached a small finger of ponderosa pine wood. We had a nice 15 minute or so break where we all had a bit to eat and drank a lot of water. Then we trudged on. Our mileage seemed to be about 2 mile per hour across fairly level terrain, now that we were at elevation. As we approached Geronimo Springs, the elevation started to creep up and down. No matter. Even though I had anticipated going a couple of miles past Geronimo before lunch, it was noon when we got there. A half hour to lounge and eat, gave us a good rest but I already knew I'd blown my energy level. The initial plan was for a 17.5 mile day, from the Pine trail head to the Washington Park trailhead. This was because the Forest Service would not confirm any flowing surface water. So, we planned water drops by husband and friend for the 4 day hike. The first access road was Washington Park. Randy and I had scoped out an alternate, less lengthy spot but it wasn't accessible by vehicle so Washington Park it was. Based on that into, my intrepid team decided to slack pack the route. So, while we had water and food and emergency equipment, we didn't have camping gear with us. Oh yeah, it all leads to misery. The mileage from Pine to Geronimo is supposed to be 7.7 miles. That may actually be accurate based on my now fresh acquaintance with the trail. The mileage from Geronimo Springs to Washington Park, I'm not sure of. The maps say 17.5 miles. It was the longest 10 miles (and my group and I think it was actually longer, maybe a 20 mile day) of my life.
Not to say there weren't some beautiful spots along the way. But by about 15 miles, both John and Jim, who were carrying only 3 liters of water were out of water. I had 4 liters and was carefully conserving. I have to say, I've never been thirstier in my life. And I had 3/4 of a liter left. John and Jim (I have to say we all carried water filtration stuff) stopped at the first likely looking tiny stream and tried to filter and purify some more water. It was pretty cloudy. It turns out that later in the last approximate 5 miles there were actually better water sources but none of us knew that at the time. I was wiped. The trail was a constant rock filled gully either going steeply up or steeply down. Either way was treacherous. My bane was uphill. I've always hated uphill climbs and this trail seemed to be all uphill. John's bane was down hill. His knees were agonizing over every down hill step. Poor Jim was in the middle, he was encouraging us both.
Because I was smallest, I led, to keep a pace. But I'm stubborn and I hate to be the one to be slowest. Even so. On those uphills I was dragging. I had to go granny gear slow and for me, way too often I had to stop, gasping for breath. I actually was at the point that every time we stopped, I fell asleep for a few seconds. Yeah, I was that tired. As it got closer to dark, I pushed harder. And it was hard. Every uphill was a challenge for me. Every downhill a challenge for John. At dusk it just got harder. I stepped in a hole and fortunately, only suffered temporary pain. Jim fell over a round rock in the dusk. It was full dark and we were still an unknown distance away from our destination when we heard my husband, Randy, call out in the dark. Oh happy day! Our little band had given up talking. We were all too tired, but Randy saw our little lights and the noise we made falling and crashing over rocks and through the brush. I have never been so happy to see my husband in the entire 37 years we've been married. He led us through the last mile to the camp. Thank goodness because there were some tricky turns that in our tired state and in the dark, we probably would have missed. He had brought a huge lantern, shedding so much light. Wonderful. Anyway. We finally made it to Washington Park trail head at 8pm where he had already brought in 7 gallons of water, laid a fire, ready to light in a fire pit. He carried gear from the car to the campsite and helped us set up. Then, it was a camp out, cheery fire, lots of water to drink, he even brought chairs for us to sit in. I was too tired to eat much, I managed to choke a food bar down with lots of water. I hit the sleeping bag early. I suspect Jim and John did too.
The next morning I decided to call the hike quits. John and Jim joined me and we shuttled ourselves out of there. Today is Saturday and the hike was Wednesday. I'm glad I called it quits. I have 3 blisters and a huge ugly bruise on the bottom of my right foot. All of the toes on my right foot are bruised, I may loose toenails and there is a blister on both my big toe and the next toe. My left foot has blisters on the end of my little toe and the toe next to it. All of those toes are also bruised. I never felt the wearing of the back of my left heel. It's worn completely thru a 1 inch high, 2 inch long scrub of the skin clear through to blood. Somewhere on the hike I wrenched a muscle over my left hip. Every time I stand up and twist, even a little bit, it hurts. Don't even talk about the lactic acid build up in calves and back. So. yeah, I'm in a little discomfort. It was my first backpack in Arizona. I'm not discouraged. I'm finally getting to know my environment. I'll be a better planner next time. Oh yeah, there will be a next time!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Highline Trail: Pre-hike Day

Hoo! Tomorrow is the 1st day of our 4 day back-pack. I've got my pack ready. My husband, Randy, is going to camp with us the first night. We're hiking 17 miles to a trailhead that my husband can drive too. He's bringing water, plus anything we want to have that night and don't want to carry. That's quite a big deal. I weighed my pack, 4 liters of water, emergency kit, snacks, lunch and necessities like lip balm, sun screen, toilet paper, etc., about 15 pounds. The rest of my gear is in a trash bag, ready to be loaded into the car tomorrow afternoon for Randy to bring to me. The other two hikers are doing the same. That will make that 17 mile day a little easier. He's bringing camping popcorn and maker, firewood for a campfire, all the comforts of home just about. It doesn't matter, I'm finally getting back on the trail!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Backpacking is On!

So my last post was all gloom and doom. Now, I've got my requisite number of other volunteer hikers (2 more to be exact) so my backpack is ON! I'm so excited. I cannot wait. We had a planning meeting today. This being AZ, I've arranged to have water delivery to appropriate trail heads each day. That leaves open the opportunity to have other comforts delivered. Beer, Wine, firewood for fires, the list is endless. I cannot wait. I just figured out it's been 3 years since my last backpack. No wonder I'm so excited. Did I mention I'm so excited!!!!