Today was a zero day in Vail, at Sandy’s home. It rained quite a bit again, plus the winds were very strong. I’m sure it was snowing on the mountaintops. So while I missed hiking, I was glad to be warm and safe. I took the time to revise my itinerary – an itinerary I’d spent several months creating. It wasn’t easy!

Arizona Trail winding through the open desert near Vail.As I mentioned previously, there are no easy detours around the mountains. Even if we go to Summerhaven, past Mt. Mica and Mt. Lemmon, we’d still be in trouble. Summerhaven is nearly at 8,000′ and the forecast for the next several days is for highs in the 40s and lows in the teens. The TEENS. I’ve camped several nights when it was around freezing, and once when it was definitely in the upper 20s, but I’m not doing the teens. That’s too dangerous for the gear I have with me.

Contemplating Complications in Vail

To complicate matters, my friends Amy and Diana were flying out today to join me for a week. Amy plans to hike with me all day, every day, while Diana wants to serve mainly as our crew, dropping us off, getting supplies and hiking just a few miles daily. Well, there are storms everywhere, apparently. Amy got stuck in Denver (en route from Grand Rapids, Mich.) and won’t get in until tomorrow morning. Diana got here on time.

While Diana got in, picked up a rental car and did some restaurant story research in downtown Tucson, I plugged away on our revised itinerary. I also was in touch with Lance, who dropped off my vest at tonight’s hotel. Yay! Everything I lost has been found.

Flexibility Is Key

Diana picked me up early-afternoon from Sandy’s home in Vail. We drove to Walmart and REI to get some supplies, then checked in at the Comfort Suites in northeastern Tucson. I’ve got our next week sketched out, which is some hikes on the trail around the base of both mountains, then skipping ahead to the Oracle area, past the frigid zone around Summerhaven. This was recommended by park rangers and locals alike.

I didn’t solve all of our problems, though. Later in the week, when we’re north of Oracle, there are very few spots where the trail crosses a road that Diana can drive on to come in and meet us. I’m not sure what we’ll do. Probably hike without her, and she’ll have to find a motel somewhere. Or sleep in the car! We’ll just have to take it day by day, and punt when necessary. And that’s really the key to life, isn’t it?


0 miles today
131.6 miles to date
668.4 miles to go

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