I got up and got going hoping to push as far as I could today knowing the next couple days would be challenging. I continued on the rough single track road from yesterday for another couple miles then eventually got back on a hiking trail. The ridges surrounding me continued to grow more dramatic and beautiful. Some wildflowers popped up but it was nothing like the fields of gold from the past week.
The terrain was a little easiesr than expected so I was able to push miles. I had to do a small creek crossing which had me changing my shoes to crocs. My feet appreciated the icy chill as I made my way across. I eventually made it to a tunnel that crossed under a fast moving road…no snakes in this one!
I had very nice creek water to drink today and I enjoyed the moderate temperatures. I reached the Mazatzal wilderness boundary and not long after I hit the 400 mile mark. It was the same phenomenon on the AT…100 takes forever but the rest come up faster than expected.
I made camp in a large flat area near a stream. A few other hikers had already arrived. I’ll enjoy falling asleep to the gentle flow of water.
Got up early and set out to conquer this elevation to Mazatzal Peak today! Like most of the AZT we don’t actually go over the top of the peak but we get pretty close and then skirt around the surrounding peaks and eventually descend a bit. The day was good hiking weather, not too hot or windy. There were a few others at the camp site last night and I think I will see them again at the next one I am heading to.
The ascent was surprisingly gentle, lots of switchbacks and fairly even footing. I found the climb out of Roosevelt Lake area to be much more challenging. I hiked pretty steadily noting the pines surrounding me. I had no issues with water as I followed a nice little creek for a while. I got cell service briefly but lost it…oh well. Looks my beacon will continue to be my main way to check in with Eric. I also saw some trail riders again which is always fun to see. Not so many wildflowers again but a few little white ones did stick out.
By mid-day I started my descent and was a little nervous about the steepness and grade based on some comments in Farout but I really didn’t find it to be so terrifying. Some of those rugged single track roads we have walked have felt much steeper and have had worse footing. I was relieved it wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be but I knew tomorrow would be another big day with almost 4000 feet of ascent and 5600 feet of descent throughout the day.
I arrived at camp and enjoyed a quiet night. I’m counting down the days in to town!
I got up and out, trying to be quiet as some other hikers had arrived at the campsite while I had been sleeping. This was my first campsite that I had to hike slightly off trail to get to. The terrain was a but tougher with more loose rocks. My altras are taking a beating. I did notice some lovely and fragrant bushes with white blossoms from time to time.
I ran into half a dozen other hikers that I will see in Pine, the next town. Some I had met before and some are fresh faces. I moved quickly hoping to squeeze out as many miles as possible, making my day into town much easier. I put my head down and pushed, having headphones on is the perfect thing to keep you going.
I had another creek crossing that I was very lucky to crossing during the heat of the day. Less than 2 weeks ago people had commented how high it had been. When I crossed it was mid thigh and very refreshing. I couldn’t help but notice how clean my legs looked after!
I saw some more wildflowers as I climbed up to an area that looked like some sort of mud flat with strange smooth rocks. The mud was dry for me but the footprints show hikers that would have struggled through this section weeks ago. I ended up camping on a flat dried mud space. I could see large elk or moose type prints in the area as well. I got comfortable on my mud flat and cooked my last dinner. Tomorrow I’d be eating some real food!
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