The Arizona Trail: Part 27

Friday, April 19th, 2019

My feet were blistered and had me hobbling all day long. It also took my usual speed down a notch. We saw some mule deer before getting water at Bargaman Park Tank. The trail was occasionally muddy, but soon switched to forest roads.

We’d lose the trail a number of times since the markers were oddly placed or completely absent at junctions.

I made a snowman from one of the snow mounds before we passed Gooseberry Springs trailhead, where we took lunch.

Behold! The most beautiful snowman you’ve ever set eyes on!

Once again, we were offered a beer, but don’t drink. That’s sadly been our only offered trail magic.

After we ate, we ran into a hiker named Phantom at the road. He started hiking the Arizona Trail after the heavy snow put his Continental Divide hike on hold. He was trying to hitch into town after taking a nasty spill face first, which rearranged his teeth and also appeared to have broken his nose. Poor guy.

We passed a lake before we reached the trailhead for Navajo Springs Trail, which would take us into Mormon Lake. Mormon Lake was settled by the Mormons, which then became a logging community, and is now a resort town.

We filled up at the spring and chatted with a tour guide who was leading a group on horseback, then hiked down to town.

Two obnoxious mountain bikers drinking beer stopped us as we approached the general store asking us stupid, smartass questions.

“So, like, the trail was poorly marked like eight miles back. So what was up with that?”

All I was thinking was, “I don’t do trail maintenance. I’m just a hiker. Now you’re delaying my date with a pint of cookie dough ice cream. Shut the fuck up.” I was a little bit hangry at the time.

After picking up our resupply box and our intimate 10 minutes with ice cream, we went inside the lodge to locate the restaurant. The bikers were at the bar, looking at us as if they wanted our company. Nope.

We found the Steakhouse which was just opened for the season, and ate some delicious burgers, a salad and steak fries. My hiker hunger was in full effect. My plate was clean.

We sat on the benches out front and with Frisbee’s help, frantically searched Guthooks for a business willing to accept a box for me. I realized that I’d be out of my medication before reaching the Grand Canyon, and we’d have to linger around Flagstaff until it arrived. We’d arrive there on Easter Sunday and wouldn’t be able to get it shipped there until Tuesday or Wednesday. Bummer.

Frisbee got a yes from Absolute Bikes, so my panic subsided. While sitting out front, a hiker named Larry Boy showed up, who we hung out with for a hot minute before returning to the trail.

There were a pair of section hikers camped at the top of the trailhead who informed us that there was nothing but rocks for the next three miles, so tenting was limited. With blistered feet and a full belly, I was content stopping there for the night. I didn’t have three miles in me.


17.3 miles (27.8 km)

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