Day Forty: The AZT

Map Miles: today: 26.8/ Total: 659.1

GPS Miles: Today: 27.0/ Total: 695.9

Today’s Miles Sponsored By: Anonymous

Best night’s sleep I’ve ever had on trail. I was completely out and didn’t wake once til 4:30 when the sky was starting to brighten. I laid back down til 5, which usually means I pop up every 3 minutes thinking I’ve overslept, but I was out again! 

Today went super well. Warm and sunny but not too hot with a slight breeze and great roads or trails to follow the whole day. It was also super neat passing through so many diverse eco zones.
I started off down in the valley among the grasses and sage and globemallow which gave the appearance of an orange sea in he middle of all the green.

A sea of globemallow added amazing flair to the meadows.


Then the road gradually began to ascend the hillside and we were in the low pinyon and juniper forests of the Kaibab National Forest. I was also back on the Great Western Trail again, which as far as I can gather is a border to border trail but for ATVs. At least this section was nicer than the section after Bryce.

The Great Western Trail. The PCT for ATVs

More climbing ensued, this time through what would have been ponderosa forests, but ended up being an 11 year old burn zone That scorched the area and took us all the way to the 8500 foot Kaibab Plateau where we intersected with the Arizona Trail in some lovely ponderosa forests.

Lovely open stands of ponderosa abound on the Plateau.

What joy!! The AZT runs lengthwise through the state for about 800 miles and in this section on the Plateau the Hayduke follows its course. There was actual trail tread! Dirt and pine duff. And not only that, the entire thing was signed every quarter to half mile. It was so exciting. The miles just seemed to zoom along by. I even took an hour lunch break at the wildlife tank where I filled some water.

Once the floaties were out of the way this was actually the best water of the day!

The trail mostly parallels Highway 67, the only paved road into the North Rim. A lot of the time it’s actually in your view. I watched as three pickups drove the road back and forth every thirty minutes or so all afternoon. But the trail is still nice! The open forests gave way quickly back into the burn zone where we stayed for about 7 miles.

A small part of the 2006 Warm Fire that scorched much of the area.

Then it was finally back to the woods, but mixed. Half ponderosa and half fir. 

More of the lovely (if slightly monotonous) Kaibab National Forest

There’s just something so amazing about the ponderosa. It’s reddish hue. The thick chunky bark. The high branches. The Straight trunk. The open airy feeling of ponderosa forests. The fir forests are denser. Lots of snow patches still amongst their trees. 

There were also a few open meadows too! Aspen, Beautiful green grass and a couple of ponds to fill water.

One of the many grassy meadows in the Kaibab, Crane Lake is just visible under the snowy knoll.

The new sawyer in action at Crane Lake. Thanks Phil!!

 

Two more miles brought me by my first folks of the day (AZTers Doug and Bianca) and then to the small corral where I’m camped tonight. It’s only supposed to drop into the 40s so no tent. My eyelids keep dropping though so I should head to sleep.

I made up some of the lost ground today. Hoping for more tomorrow.

Camp!

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