Success was in sight this morning! But let’s back up a minute to last night. So, how many items have I lost this trip? Too many! I realized last night that I’d lost my second spork the same way as the first – I washed it in a motel sink, then left it there to dry and forgot to pack it. So last night, I got my second use of the cholla key, this time as a utensil to eat my backpacker meal.
Interestingly, last night also felt like the coldest of the hike. Brr! It was freezing this morning, too. Yet I wasn’t an hour into my hike when it warmed up significantly.
Just as I was getting warmed up, I passed a guy hiking the Hayduke Trail, which briefly joins the AZT. He said Nat Geo was a few miles ahead of me. So he was also homing in on the northern terminus.
Return of the Rocks Won’t Stop My Success
I wasn’t happy to see rocky terrain returning. But as I keep saying, this trail never makes it easy. For most of the day, the trail rolled up and down these scrubby, rocky hills.
Around noon, Cake caught me. He was down to a few crackers to fuel him to the terminus, so I gave him a candy bar. Then Long Hauler passed. His leg is better and he’s been logging 25-mile days. He said some people were bringing beer and trail magic to the finish.
That news perked me up and helped me go faster, but only for a while. That stupid toe is still bothering me.
The End Nears
With less than three miles to go, the path showcased gorgeous views of Utah in the distance – red rocks, green hills and even a snow-capped mountain. It also rolled downhill.
As I neared the end, I heard people cheering. Nat Geo, Cake, Long Hauler and the trail magic folks were cheering me in! They took pix of me at the northern terminus, then invited me to indulge in hot dogs, chips, beer and other goodies. One guy even grabbed my sunglasses and cleaned them! A fantastic end to a memorable hike.
Trail angel Deena Farmer picked me up and drove me to Kanab, Utah, where I’m staying with Lynn and Richard Jenkinson, another great couple.
Tomorrow, it’s off to Vegas, where I’ll stay overnight before flying home the next day.
Gosh, I can’t believe this hike is over, and that I did it. It was so hard, but so incredibly rewarding. On to the next adventure!
16.1 miles today
732.8 miles to date*
0 miles to go!
*You may have noticed a mileage discrepancy. The AZT bills itself as an 800-mile trail, but it’s actually 788.7. I did not realize that initially, so I was calculating my miles-to-go based off of 800 miles. In addition, due to the snowstorms that prevented me from hiking up and over Mt. Mica and Mt. Lemmon, and despite my hikes around the bases of these mountains, I ended up hiking about 50 miles less. My hike is still an official thru-hike, however.
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So proud of you!!