Arizona Trail day 6 and 7: there used to be more

8/20 and 8/21/21

Zero miles and 20 miles

A zero day is a day where you hike zero miles. We take one in a motel in Tusayan, cranking the heat, exploding our gear everywhere, dirtying the tub, putting our shoes outside. All I do for an entire day is eat and edit videos and blogs in bed, plus one excursion to the South Rim Village to do laundry. I’ve been craving carbs and over the course of a day and a half I eat an entire box of rice chex in almond milk, chips and salsa, several tubs of potato salad, a burger on a gluten free bun, some dissapointing nachos, part of a rottiserie chicken, four bananas, a large mcdonalds french fry, two salads and most of a head of romaine. The north rim was cold as f*ck and nothing brings on my hiker hunger like hiking in the cold.

While Jessica and I peck away at our phones Matthew (who only has a flip phone, paper maps and no social media) does newspaper crosswords until his pen dies and flips through the channels on the TV- scientology, shopping networks and reality shows, mostly. I haven’t watched actual television in a long time and I feel like there used to be… more? As a woman attempts to sell me a sweater with a rhinestine applique camo pumpkin on it I think “Is this… societal collapse?” It’s a question I ask myself a lot these days. And the answer is yes, of course, but it turns out that destabilization is so slow you can live your whole life inside of it, like a swallow making its nest on a wooden bridge that’s dropping its boards one by one into the river below.

We stay going to bed at 8pm and the second morning we wake in the dark, make motel coffee and flutter around gathering our gear, which consists of two things: pieces of actual trash and things that just look like trash but cost $100 to $600 each.

By 8 a.m. we’re back on trail, which consists today of flat jeep roads through soft warm ponderosa forest. We run into two AZT bikepackers, who have one thing to say about carrying their bikes across the Grand Canyon: “It sucked.” Today they’re zipping along, tho, and I envy them. I know when the trail gets rocky I won’t.

We reach a fire tower lookout in the afternoon and climb the steps- in the distance we can see the mountains around Flagstaff. An interpretive sign tells us we’re on the Coconino Rim now. There are some oak trees mixed with the ponderosas here, and it’s not as cold as the north rim was, so that’s nice. Camp is near a wildlife guzzler of greenish but pleasant water, and the sunset glows fire in the trees, and the yellow moon rises.

I’m using this AZT blog to raise funds for Trans Queer Pueblo, a rad org that provides funds to trans and queer people seeking asylum and/or in immigration detention along the US/Mexico border. Here is the fundraiser– it was at about $9k when I first posted it, let’s see if we can reach their $15k goal! For every $150 raised, I’ll post another blog post. And thank you!