I’m doing much better today. Lots of tall pine trees intermittently shade the morning sun, some north facing slopes sheltered from the morning sun.
With less direct heat the miles seem to go much faster. I feel like I’m carrying too much weight, mainly the extra gear in case the GET but that’s only a few pounds. I’m carrying some extra weight that I took last minute that can likely do without.
My main thoughts today are why am I hiking this trail. Ordinarily I’d never want to hike this trail. Part of it is seeing if I can be okay with limited resources and near no planning.
I don’t want to just thru hike trails, I’d rather focus on a long adventure like walk across Asia or to the North Pole, or sail across the ocean. That’s what I liked about the Hayduke.
It just feels like life is short, I’d rather attempt something more challenging than just miles. It feels like I’m trying to find reasons to want to hike the AZT to elevate it.
Perhaps hiking the AZT is a mistake. Perhaps it would have been best to do what was necessary to attempt the GET or something else.
I just put my auto insurance on hold.
It’s getting intensely hot.
Feeling stronger on the downhills and in general in contrast to yesterday.
Yesterday I only hiked 8.3 actual miles. But ascended 4K ft in the heat.
I’m starting to feel much stronger mileage-wise. I’ve been taking frequent preemptive breaks but am starting to feel strong enough to push harder miles.
I’m not sure I want to be on this trail but seeing as I already am I may just finish it and use the fitness and heat training for the GET.
The only reason I wanted to hike the AZT was because it’s summer in the desert. I don’t like being seen as a thru hiker. The AZT feels like a second rate trail, or at least not a trail to my liking. Of more significance, I’m not really sure that I want to be doing it, which means it may have been a mistake. I could hike the John Muir trail or the Sierras or spend a week in the Maze district. There’s a lot of things I could do.
Today just feels like hiking the Kaibab again. It’s not fun. At all. The only redeeming quality is perhaps doing this midsummer. Because it’s hard. I don’t think I want to be here very much.
My legs are already feeling stronger. Part of me wants to leave here and go hike the PCT. I don’t think I can justify taking 4 months right now I have obligations that accrue over time. Maybe I should buy a gps and attempt the Hayduke this winter instead of waiting to yoyo it and then doing it with just map and compass. I’m afraid that thru hiking the AZT is just going to burn me out.
My hiking schedule seems to be roughly 6am to 8:30pm (seems like Arizona is an hour back) give or take, or almost 15 hours. If I was compelled it could be 4:45am to 9pm+.
It’s 5pm I’ve hiked ~14 miles so far today, an improvement. Biggest hardship is pack weight and wanting to quit.
I came into the next water source carrying 3 liters which is too much. I even passed a couple poor sources as was carrying so much. Am willing to carry more weight if it’s fresh crisp spring water. It just seems that if I can do 5 miles into the evening and 10 in the morning I can go at least 15 miles on only a couple liters before it gets too hot and need more and need to rehydrate. If I can get to a good water source I can potentially not carry 3 gallons all the time.
It’s almost time to set up camp, it’s getting dark, I have to stop to eat a packet of tuna as I need the protein to recover. I’m barely eating 1000 calories a day right now. Just have no appetite. I’m afraid of bears and don’t want to eat tuna where I sleep.
Birds are suddenly very loud in a focused area, I look up towards the ridge I just descended and there’s a massive wolf or likely large coyote running along the ridge towards the descent, large bushy trail. Visible against the sky and between the pines, moving fast. Somewhat disconcerting to say the least, as I make a smelly mess trying to finish up and go.
It keeps getting darker as I try to place distance. My food is not currently in smell proof bags. The trails are covered in large coyote and bear scar.
There’s obvious small bear tracks directly on the trail now. I’m trying to find a spot that is visible from distance to help avoid conflict. It’s getting dark and I have no choice but to set up my tent here.
Stirring at the minutest noise as I try to sleep.
Twice as many miles as yesterday but still under 20.