Higher elevation

For most of the rest of the trip – except the bottom of the Grand Canyon, the weather will be cool and it will be early spring. Around Pine, AZ where I am now it still looks like the end of winter with a few signs of spring

This place is mostly mature oak and juniper and harbors a lot of wildlife.

Saw several deer and elk,and lots of bear poop, but no bears

Paula came down for a visit/hike yesterday and brought some Easter cheer – her infamous Easter coffee cake and a special treat

A few more from today

Paula also brought a bathroom scale and I weighed myself. After two 12 oz drinks and a 20 oz milkshake I weighed 132. I suspect my “straight off the trail” weight was less than 130. My usual weight is 145.

Soooo, I’m still in Pine fattening up, and getting ready to head out tomorrow. Paula brought me all kinds of good food, so I should be in good shape in the AM.

It’s hard to eat enough to keep up with my calorie consumption, so I’m cutting down on my miles and stopping more often in places where I can get real food.

Making some adjustments that will get me to Utah,


East Verde River and Pine, AZ

Did some rapid descending yesterday to get to the East Verde River, on of the main water ways in northern Arizona

The river valley is deep and beautiful

I spent most of the day wondering what parts of the higher elevations in AZ hadn’t burned to the ground in the last 20 years.

Much of the northern forest has been pushed to the sky islands and now even the sky islands are turning into new environments. Where are the ponderosa pines and the Douglas firs gonna go?

On the positive side the new growth has a beauty of its own

I love to find the beauty in nature and every day there is plenty

I shared my tent site with some agaves last night.

Now I’m in Pine, AZ fattening up

Let’s hear it for the great state of Arizona!!!


The San Francisco Peaks

Just caught my first glimpse of Flagstaff – the 12000+ foot San Francisco Peaks – 175 miles away

The fire damage here is extensive but oddly beautiful

The trail is very rocky here – lots of rock slides

Slow upload so I’ll save some photos for tomorrow.

Wondering about the role/necessity of forest fires,


Mazatzal Wilderness

Here I sit on the north side of the wilderness – devastated by the lightning-caused Willow Fire of 2004 – all those grey sticks are dead trees

It’s still beautiful and small trees are coming back.

I’m surrounded by migrating birds.

The elevation here is over 7000 feet – I got caught in a hail/rain storm last night and got very wet and very cold.

Here’s my hastily pitched tentsite – you can see the frost on my warmest piece of clothing – which got wet due to poor planning in my part.

Still some snow up here

Other than that, pretty much perfect

The storm that got me

I’ll be ready next time!!!

A few more

Oh and by the way, 400 down and 400 to go.

Half way,


The Tonto National Forest

After rising to nearly 6000 feet elevation yesterday in the Four Peaks Wilderness of the Tonto National Forest, the trail changes to a wide forest service road over rolling hills for about 10 miles.

Then,mercifully returned to narrow single track, which I love.

Here’s a shot from two days ago with Paula at Roosevelt Lake

And a look back at the four peaks wilderness with snow on the peaks

And a few more from a long 23 mile day

Hoping for more single track today,


Roosevelt dam, Lake, and cemetery

The Roosevelt dam was constructed in the early 1900s to help manage the flow of the salt river. It protected the people in Phoenix from periodic flooding. It was an engineering marvel of its time. Arizona was still a territory and hadn’t achieved statehood.

The water that backed up behind the dam flooded the area of the salt River Valley and also Tonto creek. This created a water supply for the local communities and the city of Phoenix as well as the recreational lake in the desert.

The building of the dam was dangerous work. I wandered through the local cemetery. It is estimated that 75 people died in construction injuries.

The grave yard

When I was visiting the Roosevelt Lake, it was nearly 90°. After climbing 3000 feet into the Mazatzal mountains, it was lightly snowing – a bit of a cold night last night

More from today and yesterday

And a few flowers, of course…

And some strange wood


Not sure if I’d rather be too warm or too cool,


Distinguished Guests

I was joined yesterday by my wife, Paula, and good friend Elizabeth Harding. They drove down from Flagstaff and met me. We camped out at a campground on Roosevelt lake. Then today we did a nice hike up the Arizona Trail on section known as the Vineyard Trail.

Elizabeth was pleased to walk up on this fella

We hiked through some remarkably tall grass

And saw some Arizona beauty

And landscapes

Here’s the Roosevelt dam on the salt river as we climbed up the Vineyard Trail

It was so great to be joined by Paula and Elizabeth – and be spoiled by their trail magic!!

A really lucky guy,


Rolling in to Roosevelt Lake

Long hot day today in the Superstition Mountain Wilderness. This part of the AZT is uncharacteristically steep and rocky and dry.

I bypassed a few stock ponds before I found some water that didn’t scare me

Saw some interesting wood

A huge (and living) alligator juniper

A pinkish white version of my favorite flower

Some great cacti

And some beautiful scenery

I see one or two rattlesnakes almost every day around 4 pm.

This guy was not too active but completely blocked the trail

350 miles into this thing,


I was so much older then. I’m younger than that now.

A line from Bob Dylan’s My Back Pages, and a tribute to these guys:

First Bilbo, who is a meteorologist/climatologist from the DC area.

He’s 75 and has hiked very long trails all over the world

Secondly, to “Yeah, but” (husband and hiking partner of “No butt”) who has thru hiked the AZ Trail 4 times and is now 80!!!

Finally a huge shout out to my great friend Mike who drove a long way on a difficult road to find me this AM, deliver some delicious trail magic, and hike with me for 7 miles.

How great is that???

I’ll leave you with this

Be vigilant!!!


Back with the gang

Kim and Maureen joined me for a 40 mile section from Kearny to Superior. They set a blistering pace and I’m still recovering

And a Native American relic

Heading to Roosevelt Lake to see Paula and Elizabeth