AZT Day 1: Rainclouds, an obelisk and a mountain to climb

April 6, 2019

Miles hiked: 15.6

Camp Elevation: 6,726 ft

9:00 pm. I have spent the last 20 minutes trying to get warm. I am layered up, I even have my rain skirt on underneath my sleeping bag. Warm to 20F myass, sorry Zpacks. I miss my Western Mountaineering bag! I also miss being able to make hot food. Maybe Hurlgoat is right. Maybe the extra weight is worth it? I ate cold refried beans tonight that weren’t fully hydrated and I tried adding coconut oil that I melted in my bra but the water that I plunked it into was so cold, the oil just tured back to a solid. It’s kind of strange to eat that way with a wierd oily texture, but also sort of good. Well, enough of my gripes, I think I am PMS’ing big time!

Gripes aside, today was a brilliant day, I couldn’t have thought of anything that would make it better (excpt hot food at the end of the day), ahem….The weather was a comfortable 65 F and there were gorgeous clouds all day long, accenting the mountains and making for great photos. My Mom and Todd dropped me off at the TH at 11:00 and I left them with I love you’s and see you soon’s.I headed South to tag the obelisk at the Southern Terminus, for what seemed like longer than 2 miles, but alas reached it and had it all to myself. When I took my pack off, the first thing I saw was that my sunscreen had exploed everywehre, dousing my mesh pocket, with my newly added medicine pouch and dream catcher adormnemts, all smothered in sticky, oily sunscreen. Huh, mishap number one. Oh well. I quickly cleaned it all up and turned to face Mexico.

After a snack and some photos, I decided it was almost time to walk. But first, a blessing was in order. I sat on the monument with a stick of burning Palo Santo, saying a prayer and giving thanks for the beginning my journey.

I started walking at 1234 thinking that I would record exactly how long this takes me since I have announced to the world that this is my Personal-FKT or Personal Best. What that means to me, I will be finding out along the way. I know that Legend is planning on an FKT attemppt starting today also, but I didn’t see his name in the register at Montezuma pass. I wondered what he will wind up doing as I signed my trail name in the Register

“Mary Poppins” 4.6.19 “And So It Is”.

As I climbed this afternoon, clouds grew thick and released little drops of rain, wetting the Earth, causing that magnificent smell to rise up. I love the scent of wet Earth! I blessed the presence of rain and clouds as I began my journey; it seemed appropriate, and I hoped that more of this weather would grace my hike. I know I am starting this thru-hike late in the season, so I may not get many more rain showers. I have to enjoy this while it lasts, I thought.

I hiked for 7 hours and called it a day with 15.6 miles undermy belt. My body feels a bit achy, not weak but uncomfortable. I was shaky when I started today, adrenaline, butterflies, coffee, cold air? The climb was solid and I kept it steady, enjoying the changing scenery, as the trail entered pine forest and the views became more and more magnificent.

The downhill was much more comfortable on my body and I was so fortunate to catch the golden hour from on the ridge just as the sun was setting. I dropped down a gazillion switchbacks facing West, so I got to enjoy a stretched out sunset with it’s glowing sky through the trees and I descended each switchback.

At one point, I heard the sound of the “Washington” bird, the one that sounds like trickling water. What is it doing here in Arizona? Is it possible? It was a magical melody that floated through the forest amidst the light of the glowing pink sky. I stopped to listen to it. Then, I never heard it again. Did this bird come here to sing to me? To wish me well on my journey? Is this a special spirit messenger bird? Well, I say yes. Why not.

I continued to descend and saw deep purple-gray in the valley below measured against a tangerine sky. There are so many beautiful colors and textures out here already in the little bit I’ve seen, I am truly loving this trail, it is stunning. I walked in the night with my headlamp fully illuminated, during which I realized I really dont like night hiking, it gives me the creeps and I miss the beautiful scenery. But, I am going to have to do it if I want to make the miles I intend to make, humph .

You see, I’d been happily jogging down all those switchbacks, then suddenly remembered that mountain lions live here. I just finished reading Anish’s book Thirst, an account of her journey when she set the FKT on the PCT and had to night hike every day. She has four Mountain Lion encounters. It’s on my mind. Probably a good thing. I slowed down. I set my headlamp too the brightest setting and that was much more pleasant.

Here in my camp it is utterly silent. Today I was blessed with only sounds of nature, no human sounds, no machinery, not even an airplane. Just silence. What a gift.

13 thoughts on “AZT Day 1: Rainclouds, an obelisk and a mountain to climb

    1. I am thankful Hurlgoat mentioned you were busy working on your blog. I found it! Your writing is very enjoyable. I am looking forward to following you. Mike Anderson

      1. Hey Mike, thank you, I am so glad you are able to follow along! I am currently hiking the Arizona Trail and am writing every day, the posts will be trickling in slowly but surely. Hope you are enjoying Hurlgoat’s SHR videos!

  1. Have a wonderful hike. Your writing adds dimension and meaning to the photos and/or video. We are rooting for you all the way!

  2. It was great to chat with you and your hiking partner at Collossal Cave yesterday! As I mentioned I’m contemplating getting out on the trail on my own journey. Meeting you and seeing the other hikers made a big impact on my decision. Thank you and safe adventures!

  3. I’m starting to read your blog closer to real time this time. Looks really beautiful so far like you described. Nice that you got dropped near the trailhead by fam as opposed to hitching as well. Auspicious start to a memorable hike!!! 🙂

  4. Forgot to mention that I think you’ll meet your FKT especially based on your Colorado Trail time which was very impressive to me. Good luck 👍🍀

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