Arizona trail day 41: finally feeling strong


30 miles

In the morning in the dark in our motel room I drink drip coffee, eat muesli and a banana, stuff some snacks into the empty cavern of my bag. Alan, is gonna slackpack Spacemaker, another hiker, and I from here until the border, which means he’ll take all of our camping gear in the rental car. All we need to bring today is what we’ll use on our 30 mile day hike! He’s meeting us sixteen miles into the day, for lunch, and then thirty miles into the day, for camp. In the trunk of the car will be all the food we bought at sprouts yesterday, plus several gallons of water. This is gonna be so fun!

The sun is throwing cool yellow over sleepy Patagonia as Spacemaker and I walk the couple of paved miles out of town. The trail, when we reach it, is smooth like butter, and my legs feel super strong and rested after that zero. We’ve got five thousand feet of climbing today but when the hills come I barely feel them. I think I’m in trail shape? Finally? After forty days out here? Just in time for the trail to be over- tomorrow is our last day. Where was this power when I needed it the last few weeks? Oh well. So it goes.

The yellow grasses of the Canelo hills look extra clean today after last night’s rain, and the sky is a flawless blue. There was more rain forecasted for today, but the sky is clear and bright. I haven’t had to hike in rain once on this trail. The only time it’s rained at all is when we’ve been in town, and a few nights where a handful of drops fell on my tent and quickly evaporated. It’s hard to even conceptualize precipitation anymore. Water falls… from the sky? And gets everything wet? Eww. That sounds like a huge mess. Must not actually be a thing!

Spacemaker and I catch up with another hiker, SP, and the three of us take a break at a clear pool of water in the bubblegum colored rock, eat chips and talk about the end of the world. We all have different theories based on the different podcasts we’ve listened to, but the cool thing is it doesnt matter what we think. The cool thing is how little we actually know. The cool thing is how little control we actually have, as humans. We’ve pushed our land base too far and now? Now we’re just waiting for the earth to grind us back into dust. To show us how powerless we really are. Gaia take the wheel. You’re neither as terrible or as important as you think you are.

For lunch we eat pecan pie and coconut whipped cream with Alan at a trailhead, sitting in the dirt in a patch of shade, passing around a carton of almond milk and a bag of broccoli stalk salad. It’s just 14 miles to camp and my legs continue to carry me along like some sort of vespa that I’m just… riding.

“Today is easy,” I say to Spacemaker as we cruise the last few miles to Parker Canyon Lake in the dark.

I should know better. I do know better. You never say the trail is easy. Never.

At camp, Alan has set up the huge tent we grabbed from my storage unit in town, and we all sit inside out of the wind, eating the feast we brought from the sprouts deli- roast turkey, sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, potato salad, another bagged salad, the rest of the pecan pie and a small, dissapointing gluten free pumpkin pie. The wind continues to whip as I’m drifting off, shuddering the fabric of the tent. Is this… a storm coming in?