Backpacker hiking on the Arizona Trail through pine forest with snowy patches, near Mormon Lake.
Today’s destination was Mormon Lake. The day started off on the frosty side. We woke up to chunks of ice in our water bottles and frost on our tent. But it helped to have Ed in there with me. It really didn’t feel that cold.

Today we both hiked close to nine miles to the end of Happy Jack. A trail angel had left some Coke and Coors Light at the trailhead, so of course Ed and I had to split a beer. Cheers!

Taking A Chance on Mormon Lake

From here, I headed into the next passage, Mormon Lake. Ed began hiking down Lake Mary Road and back to our rental car. It was about 30 miles away. We were hoping an Uber would come from Flagstaff to transport him, but nope. So his other chance was trying to find someone to help. I’ve always prayed when I’m in trouble on an trail, and help always comes. So I prayed someone would stop and drive Ed back to the rental car.

Mormon Lake was also reportedly a mud bog and awful. Thankfully, the seven or eight miles I hiked today were great. Mostly pine forest again. Sure, there were some stretches of snow, mud and water, but nothing too difficult.

The worst part came near the end of the day. I had to take a 1.1-mile connector trail to Mormon Lake Lodge, where Ed would be waiting to pick me up. (Yes, a kind soul did give him a ride to his car – I knew it!) The connector trail was very unpleasant, with lots of rocks and few markings. But I made it!


Tonight we are ensconced in the Best Western Pony Soldier Inn & Suites in Flagstaff. At other times in my life, I might have scoffed at this lodging as low-brow, but it seems positively decadent to me. Ed did our laundry and called out for pizza, while I tried to re-do my itinerary for the next few weeks. It will be scary to have him depart in two days with my suitcase and laptop, leaving me a true-blue backpacker with nothing but my pack. Yikes! I don’t know if I can do this, but I guess I will have to since I won’t have a choice once he leaves.


16.9 miles today
498.4 miles to date
301.6 miles to go

Disclosure: This entry contains affiliate links (among regular links) to products I own and like, or which I think you might like. This means that, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.


©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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