Arizona trail day 17: Pine


13 miles

My legs are tired this morning. Now that the trail is rocky and up and down it’s time to get strong in… an entirely new way. I’m excited! Tired this morning though. And sweaty- it’s hot already. I turn off my brain, put in my heaphones, let things get wacky. Matthew and I stop at a cement trough of spring water 7 miles in, wilt in the shade a little bit. More heat is coming in the coming sections. I mix a nuun tab with emergenc. Ok. I can do this. My body can remember what it’s like to hike in the heat.

At the trailhead are a few other AZT hikers, and they wave me over. They’re friendly, sunburned, about to hike out. As jaded as I am, I still sometimes just really love long distance hiking culture. Being in the middle of nowhere, getting stoked to see another human being who’s doing the same thing you are, just because they exist. Having everything in common, all of a sudden. Even though you might never have a reason to connect in the regular world. It’s a glimpse, I think, especially for white people like myself, of what it might look like to form human social structures around place, community, natural cycles. It’s impossible, in my opinion, to truly create this world within the larger container of global capitalism, but we can have glimpses of it. And one day we’ll all have it back.

By lunchtime we’re at the brewery in pine, eating burgers. They have gluten free buns here! I’m blissed out. There’s a wonderful trail angel on the edge of town, Shannon, who is hosting hikers, and a young volunteer names Alex picks us up in his built out subaru and shuttles us out there. Laura is there, as well as some other wonderful hikers, their stuff exploded everywhere. There’s laundry, a shower, loaner clothes! There’s a bunk room with air mattresses on the floor, a friendly, wriggly chocolate lab, and Alex is cooking everyone dinner- roast chicken, mashed potatoes, salad. We eat while all talking excitedly with each other, asking each other questions, we can’t stop laughing! Why is everything so funny? Laura and Alex drive to Payson to go bowling, I work on this blog, Matthew tries to whittle down his pack weight (I can tear out the ones I’ve already done! He explains, holding up his paperback book of crossword puzzles).

By 10 pm we’re all in the bunk room, rustling in our sleeping bags, then quiet. I hope I don’t fart too much tonight…

Day 18 of this AZT blog is written and ready to go- I’ll post it (and its corresponding tiktok video, (which you can see here) when this fundraiser reaches $11,700, and thanks so much to everyone who’s contributed so far!! 🤗

I’m using this AZT blog to raise funds for Trans Queer Pueblo, a rad org that provides support 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!