Backpacker on the Arizona Trail's Happy Jack segment, winding through flat, open terrain with some trees in the distance.
We woke up this morning before dawn, camped just inside the Happy Jack segment, to the eerie, yet captivating, sound of an elk bugling. The strange sound echoed through the woods and was so cool to hear. 

Ed and I had a hard time deciding on a plan today. The original thought was for him to drive to the Gooseberry Springs Trailhead, which is the end of the 30-mile Happy Jack (Passage 28) that I’d be starting today, then hike in to meet me. 

But because of all of the talk of deep mud and water, we weren’t sure how long it would take us and if we could meet halfway, in 15 miles. If we couldn’t, one of us would have a tent at night and the other wouldn’t. That’s too risky. Plus, since cell service is terrible here, we couldn’t count on communicating. So Ed left the car and hiked with me. 

An Interesting Day on Happy Jack

The first 5.1 miles of Happy Jack were heaven. We trekked on soft singletrack that wound through pine forests and was relatively flat.

After that, the path followed a lot of forest roads. Many of these were rocky and unpleasant. Toward the end of the day, though, it changed back to singletrack in the woods. Ahhh!


Tonight we’re camped by a burbling brook – nice! – and some very “scenic” power lines. Ed moved all of the old cow pies out of the way so we could set up our tent in a poo-free zone. (If I haven’t mentioned it yet, this trail is full of cow pies!)

The night is chilly again, so we cleaned up and ate quickly so we could dive into the tent and warm up under our sleeping quilts. 


We’re not sure what the plan for tomorrow will be, but it will likely involve Ed trying to get a ride back to the car while I hike on. I’m a planner, but you just can’t plan with this trail.


21.2 miles today
481.5 miles to date
318.5 miles to go

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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