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The first day of hiking after 3 zero days was pretty tough. My backpack didn’t fit me right, my legs hurt, shoulders hurt, back hurt…Everything was kinda meh. So you see even if you’re blessed with the best experiences, sometimes it’s hard to appreciate it even if you want to. Sometimes you just gotta complain a bit.
From cold German winter to unusually hot Arizona spring back to winterly cold Arizona beginning of April. The weather seems kinda moody here too, hah.
All our friends caught up and got some rest too and so reunited on a mild sunny morning we hiked out together up the Mogollon Rim. Everyone was happy to be hiking and vital and running up in full capacity of strength after some rest. Not me though. I wasn’t friends with myself nor my backpack which wasn’t packed correctly. I had a hard time appreciating all that beauty of switchbacks going up the hill through Manzanitas and little Pine Canyons. By the end of the day, we saw big rock walls next to us shoot up into the sky. This is where we were supposed to go up to.
But first, it was about to get cooooold. We crashed next to a creek so I knew it’s gonna be chilly, so I slept in all my clothing and rain gear to trap my body heat as good as possible. It worked – I was warmer than some nights before, comfortable sleep is something else though. After a final push up to the rim, it was pretty flat and easy and was about to stay like this at least until Flagstaff. Soda and I were cruising down the trail. Discussing the mileage we could do on this terrain and how long it might take us to Flagstaff where warmer sleeping bags were waiting for us and how we could have not-miserable nights on the trail until then – side note: we were the only ones with 32°F/0°C rated sleeping bags.
Well as we were getting to the Blue Ridge/Mogollon Rim Ranger station on Highway 87 to fill up water and starting to hydrate our food for dinner the weather was about to turn bad and cold again after a sunny day. We watched the clouds running by and felt the freezing wind, it didn’t take much to convince ourselves that it would be a great idea to try to hitch-hike up to Flagstaff and come back with warmer gear. Easily said in a state that hard for hitching, even for me, a girl in a skirt…Come on.
Luckily after about an hour of sticking out our thumbs on this not so much traveled road an employee, an archeologist, of the ranger station picked us up on his way out and home. He wanted to drop us off a bit further up north closer to Flagstaff. So we’re riding in the car chatting, it’s about to get dark, the road beside us is empty, a huge, dark, mean locking cloud is ahead of us. It’s starting to rain, to hail, to snow, the wind gusts are enormous and lightning strikes light up the dark sky. At this point, our trail angel decides to drive us all the way to Flagstaff, thanks there.
We step out of the car in snow, happy to not be out there, hide in a hotel room for the night and wake up to warm sunshine the next morning. What the…is going on here with this weather, it’s changing so fast and so intense, it makes me hungry.
Town food had to wait though, first, we had to pick up all the new warm gear. I got some very heavy duty mountaineering socks for sleeping, exchanged my worn out Darn Tough socks by new ones and last but not least received a package from „Enlighten Equipment“ with a new 10°F/-12°C quilt in it. Quilts are an awesome and very versatile weight saving option when it comes to ground sleep systems. Mostly cheaper than fully enclosed mummy bags too. The idea is that you anyways compress the down below you and therefore are not insulated there. Quilts just get rid of the fabric and down in the back, you can drape it over you like a blanket or cinch it together at the bottom.
All geared up and well-fed we went up to hit the trail and test it all out. And it worked out just great – no being miserable and cold. Now the issue is getting out of the toasty warm quilt in the morning haha.
Mando and Geisha, who we met early on the trail and ran into in Flagstaff again, gave us a ride back to the trail where we got off some days before. We had a blast, 78 Miles in 3 days back to Flagstaff almost all flat and best weather besides some raindrops hitting us on the way in the town…So lucky.
Off to some resupply and shipping now before heading out towards the big Grand Canyon. Ahoy.