Circlestone, Reavis grave,Reavis Ranch, Az

001-DSCN1020 1-DSCN1034   A trip I have been wanting to do for a long time so finally the time has come! Connie, June, Nancy & I headed out from Pnx, it took 2 1/2 hrs to get to Rogers Trough & 200 miles later. Temps were in the 70s for the high & 29 to 32 for low.
First we stopped off at Reavis Grave as the girls had not been there before. The cross had been redone & looked like a postcard. Manzanita, wall flowers & Fuchsia were in bloom to set the scene. 007-DSCN1028 010-DSCN1031 127-DSCN1187 128-DSCN1188 004-DSCN1023
Our goal was to find Circlestone which the next morning we set out to hike up Fireline Trail. It was right on target that I had down loaded on my gps so here is the coordinates to help anyone else out. The cairn was large on fireline trail at this time – N 33.48761 W 111.13240. The trail up to Circlestone was steep but cairns were placed so no issues. N 33.47777 W 111.13430. This is also located NE of Mount Mountain the highest Mt in the Superstition’s. When you read about Circlestone there are a few theories but most agree it is a ancient solstice & equinox sun watch station, ceremonial site. Built by ancient Sinagua which dates back to 1250AD. This is also called Az Stonehenge, we have a few around the state.042-DSCN1078 049-DSCN1090
051-DSCN1093040-DSCN1076Circlestone in Superstition MtsThe next day we did a day hike to the ranch which was only 1/4 mi from where we camped, to my surprise all the apple trees were in bloom! Oh my gosh I thought most of them had died off since they are quite old, so this fall there should be plenty of apples. I miss the old ranch house, only a foundation stands, vinca still come up around the steps, old machinery still lay around. I had seen the place before it burned down but no matter what its still beautiful! We also met up with a solo hiker that was doing section hikes of the Arizona Trail, she was a stewart from passage 40b, I believe her name was Liz Good. 101-DSCN1155077-DSCN1126


The day only gets better as once we got back to camp I ran into a gal from Flagstaff, Deb Linda. We did a trip in Colorado a few years ago, so we got caught up on what was happening & hope to hook up with her for a hike in the future, it’s such a small world! We met 2 Arizona Trail Hikers coming out but only got one name which was Porcupine- Kara from Alaska.
Be aware of bee’s we had to go by 1 nest coming & going, rattlesnakes are out do to the warm days.054-DSCN1098035-DSCN1070 This time of year it gets very cold at night so be prepared for that as day temps you sweat like its summer and freeze like its winter! Also best to be aware of unusual activity from animals as at the trailhead mentioned rabid fox in area. Here are a few flowers & bushes that were in bloom, fernbush, catclaw acacia, juniper, oak, ponderosa pine, western wallflower,firecracker, desert marigold, thistle, fleabane, tidy tips, tufted evening primrose, verbena, love grass.

Take time to check out the rest of the pictures on the media, great time by all!




AZT Pass 16-17

  • AZT Passages 16-17, In 2008, we hiked through these passages. At that time the trail was marked intermittently with many ribbons and cairns going in different directions. Some were surely put there as a potential trail to follow but as we tried we encountered miles of bush whacking through mesquite trees, thorny bushes and cat claw and found ourselves further away from our waypoint. We did find our way but with much distress. But not this time! Thank you Arizona Trail Association and all the volunteers!
    January 16-19, 2015, Starting at Picket Post Trailhead, we knew we would have more water holes than in 2008 as the area was covered with snow and rain just 10 days before. Pass 16 was greener with many damp spots but nowhere a sign of a puddle. FR4, Trough Springs and the metal tank was totally dry and no sign of water in the creek, but then a miracle, Judy found a small pot hole by the road. Our spirits were lifted with the discovery. Another few days and this would have been gone too. Several Jeeps and quads went by so I think we may have been able to bum some water had we not found the pothole. Not sure they would have given us 9 liters. We were each able to get 3 liters to carry for the next 11 miles. Arriving at the dirt tank we found we had to share the water with the local live stock. It certainly needed filtering, boiling, and Clorox for good measure but always thankful whenever and wherever we find water.
    Day 2: 1 mile from camp was Ajax Rd. There was 1 1/2 gallons of water left by a trail angel but we already had 3 liters each so we left it for the next hiker in need. The new trail must have been a feat to construct. It was beautifully done. The new AZT book described it as “dramatic geology and one of the best sceneries compared to the Grand Canyon.” We agree! For several miles we were blessed with the shade of the mountain making the experience even more delightful! We were still hopeful to find water in the catchments but it was as dry as Pass 16. Eleven miles later we arrived at the Gila River near Cochran. This area may be quiet during the week but arriving on a 3 day weekend was anything but quiet. There were SUV’s, quads, kids, people using axes and chain saws (after dark) and at midnight a couple of people were target shooting with a 6 shooter and rifle for an hour and 15 minutes. With no moon we could only guess what they were shooting at. None of us slept very good this night.
    Day 3: We started out early today to avoid the heat of the day. It was in the low 70’s but still seemed very warm carrying the extra water weight. Putting deodorant on our feet helped with the sweating perhaps avoided more hot spots. We were told there was no water going forward even though we bordered the Gila River for 15 miles. However, we did find 3 places to access the Gila through Tamarac forests (salt cedar)so next time we won’t carry so much water. Other times we were high on the ridges overlooking the Gila and railroad track. We passed several mines and examined artifacts of mining equipment. Around 3pm and 10 miles later we found a beautiful spot we would call home for the night in a large wash near the Gila. Tomorrow we would be ending our trek at Kelvin Bridge so it was unanimous to relax and talk about our adventure around a nice fire. We devoured anything we had left except for breakfast food. The stars were amazing. We could see forever into the universe! Thank you God! You always give us more than we expect.
    Day 4: This morning it was 6 ½ miles to Kelvin Bridge where we would be picked up and taken back to Picket Post TH for our car. The original trail followed the railroad track but the new trek goes up the ridge, following the mountains coming close to Ray mine. We agree these passages are amazing but be prepared to carry extra water.
    Helpful hints: Carry at 3 liters of water or cache at FR4 & Ajax Rd. Absolutely need an umbrella, big hat and blister aid products, 2 cold breakfasts and dinners to conserve water usage. Carried apples that had lemon juice on them

IMG_1189 IMG_1175 IMG_1165 IMG_1151 IMG_1134 IMG_1125

Picket Post-Kelvin Bridge 40 miles

Picket Post-Kelvin Bridge 40 miles

AZT Passage 22, Sunflower

March 22, 2014  We hiked a really beautiful 11.5 miles hike today through the Sunflower, Passage 22 of the AZT. Parked at the Bushnel Tanks sign and found the “access” trail leading to the main trail.  This was new and really was great to be able to get to the AZT so easily.  We haven’t hiked this area in such a long time. Brought back some really wonderful memories of hiking the AZT in 2008.  There was 3 places to get water if we needed to. Paw prints of unknown origin and lots of frogs by the creek.  The cactus are in bloom along with Evening Primrose, we think.

IMG_0224 IMG_0223 IMG_0219 IMG_0217 IMG_0216 IMG_0213 IMG_0210 IMG_0208 IMG_0227 IMG_0225

AZT, Grand Enchantment trail pass 16 & 17

AZT, Grand Enchantment trail pass 16 & 17 3-2010

AZT Pass 16 & 17 AZT (Arizona Trail) & part to the Grand Enchantment Trail seg 3

 Started off as Nancy inching her way through the AZT, ended up calling it Glenda’s Big Girl Hike! Fun 3-day 2nighter. Starting at Picket Post shuttled by Nancy’s sisters, Carol & Maxine that were heading to Thompson Arboretum a mile down the road.
It was a 80-mile from Phoenix so got a nice start on the day. Beautiful scenery, wildflowers, & lots of water. The trail was one of the best & only got better till about the 10-mile marker. There were crews flagging, & building on the hillside, by passing the 4 wheel drive rd in the near future. We had a lovely camp & a cool evening. The next morning we started in hiking in more my type of territory, rock cairns & questionable 4 wheel drive roads & a bit of what I call Billy Goating. That is about the time the tune changed in Glenda’s 1st real backpack. The bit of quiver in her voice asking if we were doing a Big Girls Hike & not a beginner’s hike. We tried to explain that the AZT changes frequently & never really knowing what the changed are. This was to be about Nancy inching her way through the AZT but got changed quickly. Glenda’s knee started to feel sharp pains going down hill, as we’ve all experienced this sometime in our career of hiking, we did the normal, Advil, knee brace, & rest for 5 minutes & off again. We told her rest with elevation soon with trail ale would do the trick. We stopped ½ mile from the artesian well, but to our delight we got more than a good campsite. Three UTV’s were ready to leave, after nice conversation; we got more than brownie crumbs! They gave us banana’s, strawberry’s, lunchmeat, dip & vegs!! To boot, one guy’s mother made homemade zucchini muffins that we saved for breakfast! We thank you boys for the special treat. Glenda was desperate knowing she only had 4 oz of wine left so she asked if they had any wine or beer in the ice chest, with dismay they did not. We remarked they were the healthiest male eater we’ve seen! After they left we made it to the creek for our feast! The buzzards were migrating through, saw many animal prints but only saw a rock squirrel,  The next morning was a relaxing one, as Possum would meet us at the Artesian Well for our shuttle home. We did 20 miles, & yes it was a Glenda’s 1st Big Girls Hike!

AZT Pass 16 & 17 (Arizona Trail) & part to the Grand Enchantment Trail

Judy writes

AZT Pass 16 & 17 AZT (Arizona Trail) & part to the Grand Enchantment Trail seg 3

 Started off as Nancy inching her way through the AZT, ended up calling it Glenda’s Big Girl Hike! Fun 3-day 2nighter. Starting at Picket Post shuttled by Nancy’s sisters, Carol & Maxine that were heading to Thompson Arboretum a mile down the road.
It was a 80-mile from Phoenix so got a nice start on the day. Beautiful scenery, wildflowers, & lots of water. The trail was one of the best & only got better till about the 10-mile marker. There were crews flagging, & building on the hillside, by passing the 4 wheel drive rd in the near future. We had a lovely camp & a cool evening. The next morning we started in hiking in more my type of territory, rock cairns & questionable 4 wheel drive roads & a bit of what I call Billy Goating. That is about the time the tune changed in Glenda’s 1st real backpack. The bit of quiver in her voice asking if we were doing a Big Girls Hike & not a beginner’s hike. We tried to explain that the AZT changes frequently & never really knowing what the changed are. This was to be about Nancy inching her way through the AZT but got changed quickly. Glenda’s knee started to feel sharp pains going down hill, as we’ve all experienced this sometime in our career of hiking, we did the normal, Advil, knee brace, & rest for 5 minutes & off again. We told her rest with elevation soon with trail ale would do the trick. We stopped ½ mile from the artesian well, but to our delight we got more than a good campsite. Three UTV’s were ready to leave, after nice conversation; we got more than brownie crumbs! They gave us banana’s, strawberry’s, lunchmeat, dip & vegs!! To boot, one guy’s mother made homemade zucchini muffins that we saved for breakfast! We thank you boys for the special treat. Glenda was desperate knowing she only had 4 oz of wine left so she asked if they had any wine or beer in the ice chest, with dismay they did not. We remarked they were the healthiest male eater we’ve seen! After they left we made it to the creek for our feast! The buzzards were migrating through, saw many animal prints but only saw a rock squirrel,  The next morning was a relaxing one, as Possum would meet us at the Artesian Well for our shuttle home. We did 20 miles, & yes it was a Glenda’s 1st Big Girls Hike!”



We left Phoenix about 5:30 AM.  Drove to Marshall Lake first and cached 3 gallons of water, lots of food for Connie and Nancy.  There was absolutely no water in Marshall Lake!  Drove to Mormon Lake Village and left car for end of trip.  There was a Hell’s Angel Biker Convention going on.  Packed!  We than drove to Walnut Canyon and cached 3 more gallons of water and more food.  Both places were very easy to get to.  Surprise Connie!  Don’t think we will have any trouble finding.  David and Ronnie did a fine job shuttling.

We made it to the Snow Bowl by 12:30!  Connie didn’t need to worry so much after all.  We couldn’t find the exact Az trail.  We thought we were on the right trail, but according to Connie’s new GPS, we were parallel to it.

We hiked the Kachina Trail to Schultz Tank where we intended to go.  It was 9700 elevation most of the way.  A lot of huffing and puffing.  Going up hill was a killer! Kachina trail was covered with fern up to our waist and many flowers in full bloom – Lupine (the biggest I’ve ever seen), owls clover, fire crackers, and many more.  Connie was doing a great job on the GPS, but found out not to walk and read at the same time.  She surfed down hill and not on her feet.  No major injuries, scrapped elbow and knees.  And hates to get dirty!  Got that over with the first day.

It was good to see the Az trail signs going to Schultz Tank.  The water level was a lot lower than it was when Connie and Judy came through last April and a lot muddier.  We were able to strain the water OK.  We found a nice place just a little down the road.  A very nice first night camp.  Had just a little spitting of rain while we set up camp.  A cute little fire just enough for our dinner and tea.  Nancy was really tuckered out but was able to stay up till 8:30 PM.   It was a good long day.

Had a nice morning with birds all around.  Started hiking about 8:30 AM.  Hiked down the road for a couple of miles till we finally found the trail.  Connie doing great with that GPS.  We had some more uphill, but not too bad.  Getting a little lower in elevation.  Than it started raining, not just spitting!  We waited it out under some low trees and our umbrellas, but still got very wet.  Really came down hard.  Finally let up enough to start walking again.  Trail was good. Got to the underpass at Hwy 89.  Followed an old road a little way to a gas station and started raining again.  The thunder started that morning and didn’t stop the rest of the day.  We had intended to fill up with water at the gas station and have lunch/dinner at Mary’s Café.  Connie went in to ask about a motel and was told one was about a mile further done the road. Connie called a friend’s daughter who lives in Flagstaff and she rescued us.  Patty took us to her place for a nice shower and chance to wash our wet cloths.  Had a chicken dinner and dry night in a house.  It rained the rest of the day. Patty took us back to the gas station in the morning for us to start up again.

Started hiking about 7:45 AM.  Clear skies.  Crossed old dirt roads many times.  Went by several homes and rows of mailboxes.  Never far from civilization.  While we took a break close to the railroad we heard a really funny noise.  Looked around and saw a big white chicken!  Started crowing at us when we started leaving.  What unusual wild life to see!  We saw a lot of trains go by.  It was hotter today, but did have some rain that cooled us off.  Also had hail!!  Made it to Walnut Canyon and found our cached water and food.  Couldn’t quite carry it all but did go about another mile before making camp.  Stopped about 3:30 PM.  Had a very small fire because of the wind.  A beautiful camp spot!

Started out in the morning about 8:30 AM.  Just can’t seem to get going very early and really should have this day.  Both feeling good.  Downhill into a canyon that was spectacular.  Since we went downhill we knew what was coming!  Steep climbing out but not too long.  Hiked through Walnut Canyon meadows covered in flowers and surrounded by colorful rock formations.  Saw a couple of horny toads.  They were colorful, too.  There was no shade for most of the day and no clouds in the sky.  We were wishing for rain!  The book says this is an easy hike, but we were going the opposite way.  Mostly uphill and hot.  Wasn’t that easy.  After one long climb, we took a break and put our feet up on a log.  Nancy got sick to her stomach which didn’t help with hiking.  Heat and her do not get along!  Because we weren’t able to carry all the water and knew there wouldn’t be any water through this canyon, continued hiking all the way to Marshall Lake and our cached water.  We were a day early.Made it there about 5:00 PM.  Set up another nice camp but no fire.  We couldn’t eat much dinner either.  It was just good to be able to wash up.  We were both very tired. Got a cell site so called Judy to make sure she was really coming.  Nancy said if she wasn’t, she was DONE.  It was a good thing we called her.  She was going to surprise us and come a day earlier so we would have missed her.  She was coming the morning to bring us water and treats.  YIPPEE!

Connie and Nancy had a leisurely morning. Had a good rest after such a hard day.  Heard elk bugling all night but didn’t see them.  Judy came about 10:45 AM for the rescue.  It was soo good to see her.  We drove to Double Spring Campground to check out camp sites.  Very nice.  Cost $16 a night.  Nancy treated.  Judy drove Connie and Nancy to road south of railroad tank so they could hike back to Double Spring camp.  Judy drove back to camp and set up camp and met Connie and Nancy about a mile away.  Only hiked about 4 miles and only carried day packs.  A nice easy hike after the day before.  Judy brought lots of treats.  Had celery, carrots, chips and humus.  For dinner we had bread, apples, veggies with gorgonzola fondue and a bottle of wine.  A great fire for the evening.  A very good day was had by all.

Next morning of course was leisurely with Judy making coffee for us always.  Judy left her car at the entrance to the camp ground and we all hike together.  Another easy day of hiking.  Judy gave Connie some more lessons on her GPS.  Was a very pretty hike following very old remnants of a railroad.  There were two signs along the way explaining the history. Very interesting.  We hiked to Navajo Springs where water was coming out of a pipe.  Very easy water duty!  Judy and Connie had stopped here last April.  We had a very nice afternoon.  Was able to finally do some reading, word searches and beading.  A beautiful place with all the aspen and pine and flowers.  A wonderful finish. We late rising the next morning.  There was no hurry.  We only had about 1 ½ miles to Mormon Lake village.  When we arrived at the village, we ran into Dale Shewalter.  Told him we were hiking the AZT and hoped to see him in September. Connie’s car was just where we left it.  So we all took off for home again.  Was another great hiking adventure.  Even with the hard parts, Nancy kept telling herself it was better than being at work! Another great time had by all! 

Coronado National Memorial to Miller Peak

10.6 miles round trip


It was unseasonably warm for this time of the year. We didn’t get started till 10am, & of course all up hill with lots of garbage on the way. Every time I go up these Mts I wish I would bring a huge garbage bag to fill up. We saw no one as we climbed up, but we did talk a lot just in case some one wanted to hide before we got to them. The trail I figured would be better in parts, but was still quite rocky. We made it to the top of Miller Peak had lunch & started our beautiful hike down. The sun was just perfect to hit the Mts, bushes etc to make beautiful pictures. We heard voices so started to talk louder, but here it was runners, making us feel pretty wimpy as they ran up hill. We reached the bottom right about sunset 5:30p & headed off to meet Colleen Hunt & Barb Bayless for a great meal at her place. Great pic’s don’t forget to check them out.

Mormon Lake Rendezvous AZT

9-26 through 9-28 2008 

We were able to get 8 of us together, for our 1st AZT Rendezvous. The AZT & volunteers did a great job of putting it all together. Chili, & dessert we all brought turned out well with entertainment from Madam Mattie Brown from Jerome, Az.

Introducing some of us that finished the trail. Sirena, which I had been keeping track of her hike was there with her family. Also meeting Dave Hicks, Tenzing a thru hiker, stewards that were so helpful when we were planning our trip this spring.

Sat was breakfast again furnished by the AZT Asst, a bird walk, exhibit from the Adobe Wildlife Exhibit, a hike to Navajo Springs & Terry Woolston  “Tenzing” put on a lightweight backpacking class. He & Kyle finished the AZT 2 weeks before us at a much faster pace than we even dreamed of, like we said many times “ doing the AZT the leisurely way!” Supper furnished by Mormon Lake. (Which I have to say they did a super job) & entertainment by Gail Starr. Finally after all these years was able to meet Dale Shelwalter, looks just like his pictures & a few more hikers that came in.

The weather was perfect, hundreds of elk out in the dry lake, bugling most of the night, what a way to go to sleep!

Sunday morning was a leisurely one, had coffee & returned home by noon.

Allan Lake to Utah, Northern Section, 250 miles AZT

Allan Lake to Utah, Northern Section, 250 miles. By Connie Simmons

Date: 4-26-08 Allan Lake to Navajo Springs, 7 miles   

Ronnie drove us to our starting location close to Allan Lake.  Judy and Connie started hiking around 10:00 am.  It was a lovely hike in the aromatic forest of pines.  The aroma was strong do to the dampness.  There were patches of snow around but nothing that would hinder the pleasure of the hike.  Walking on pine needles was music to our feet.  The dirt ponds were full and looked clean compared to southern Arizona.  We were entertained by a heard of elk running by the edge of the forest and ravens cawing.  We could definitely feel the stress of breathing in the 7500’ elevation.  At Navajo Springs we set up our campsite on top of a hill overlooking the meadow and stately white aspen trees.  It was picturesque with the snow close to the concrete troughs that was the central focal point of the area.  We strolled around the area trying to figure out what the troughs would have been place for but could only imagine, maybe mining or cattle.  There are 8 large troughs, in a large U-shape placement, each around 10’ long and connected by a 4” pipe.  There was also a concrete structure, appx. 6”x 6” sq. with one entrance on the top.

The spring was the highlight!  The spring water was coming out of a 2” metal pipe with wonderful tasting water.  This was our kind of water duty.  With more time on our hands we played with our newest toy, the varmint call.  We were laughing so hard there was no way anything would have come close. 

            Tea time would have been delightful but Connie forgot to pack any.  Judy brought 2 different kinds so it was an experimental combination in our 3 cup titanium pot.  While Connie was looking for her tea she also discovered that she had packed the wrong breakfast for this leg.  Judy traded one hot breakfast for a Power Bar. Oh No!  Connie also discovered she forgot a long sleeve shirt for the cooler evenings.  You would have thought she was practicing ultra-light, but then out of here backpack a jar of lotion and a 3 oz. tube of sunscreen!  She did put in a hooded sweatshirt so she should keep warm anyway.

            Our evening campfire was short lived.  We wanted to make a small fire using only small branches and twigs but due to the dampness it spit out fire balls that put holes in both our therma-rest pads, Judy’s hat and wind-pants.  We tried to repair our Therma-rest with duct tape with no success.  We were able to keep warm throughout the night anyway.

 4-27-08  Navajo Springs to Railroad Tank, 13.4 miles, 32/60’s

            Beautiful morning! 34 degrees when we started hiking.  Many meadows with elk, deer and coyote to keep us entertained.  Along the trail there were placards to give us great history lessons on the remaining railroad tracks that we were following.  The railroad started in the area around 1907 but this area was started in 1923. 

We hiked through Double Springs Campground close to Mormon Lake.  This would be a terrific place to come back to.  The Mayflower Spring was running through the area also.  The out-house had its usual smell but there were spigots to get fresh water.

            We arrived at full Railroad Tank around 3:30.  A beautiful meadow behind us and pond in front with a lonely Mallard Duck greeted us.  We tried our new MSR hydro-filter but after 2 gallons it plugged up.  L

            Just before supper 8 elk came down to drink at the tank.  Many more came during the evening to keep us company.  Great entertainment!!

 4-28-08, Railroad Tank to Marshall Lake, 14 miles, 13/72 degrees

            To Judy’s surprise, her mat stayed inflated!  However, Connie’s was still flat.  At 13 degrees she stayed cold most of the night.  All our water was frozen except the couple of bottles we kept under the vestibule that was slushy.

            It warmed up quickly to 36 degrees by 9:00am when we started hiking.  Still following the railroad ruins for a few miles we arrived at Hwy 3 where Ronnie was to leave us a gallon of water. But apparently he didn’t find the right culvert.  However, we did find 4 gallon containers under another culvert and was able to get enough water to sustain us till we could get more.

            The terrain changed once we past Hwy 3 topping out on the plateau.  It was very open with pinion trees and juniper.  All the lakes and tanks were full that made it all delightful to hike by. 

            Our lunch break was at Horse Lake where the frogs croaked a song, nice Pine trees for shade and great butt rocks. 

            As we were hiking a Pronghorn leaped across the terrain in front of us. 

            After 14 miles we arrived at Marshall Lake in time to set up camp.  We found an established campsite that was very unkempt.  Lots of garbage L but with a little effort we had it cleaned up so we would be comfortable.

            It was a must that we get water but Marshall Lake was not an easy place to get it.  It had around 50’ of muck around the edges.  We had to settle with what we got which wasn’t a pretty picture.  Our MSR filter could not be back-flushed and so we settled for pouring the water through our bandana and using tablets.  This water tasted awful!

            4-29-08, Marshall Lake to Flagstaff, 14 miles, 42/72

            It was warmer than expected last night as it only got down to 42 degrees.  People drove by at all times of the night.  Some drove way too slow for our comfort and kept us on edge all night. 

            The scenery changed to high pines and sandy washes near Fisher Pt.  Walnut Canyon was beautiful with its wind swept high cliffs in shades of pink.

            With the awful tasting water from Marshall Lake and no other water found on our way to Fisher Pt. we decided to continue hiking to Flagstaff where we were staying with Rachael.  She wasn’t expecting us till 4/30 but was gracious to let us come early. 

            Taking a detour to head toward Flagstaff we bush-whacked a little ways only to find a very clean and organized camp with a distraught, postal, 6 year Navy bashing, psychotic, paranoid man, named Theodore.  With only long-johns and boots he told us his life story.  As Judy had her hand on her Pepper Spray and I had a good hold on my walking stick we heard his stories of how he did not like people and particularly women but said that we were ok because we were menopausal and he had sympathy for us and instructed us not to take HRP because his mother had died from the side effects.  We heard horror stories of the Indians in the area that had come up there to beat and assault him.  The police had arrested him twice for camping in the forest and took all his guns away. (Thank God!!)  He was a druggie from 1973 to 1986 during which time he had joined the Navy and only had high regards for Ronald and Nancy Reagan who helped him get off drugs.  His life’s ambition was to get to Greenland or Switzerland where he thought life would be easier for his type.  As we were trying to walk away he was advising us to beware of crazier people than him throughout the forest.  He was still talking as we were walking away.  This was our first experience with a wacko.  Yikes!!! 

            We stopped at Circle K on the way to Rachael’s to pick up a hot dog and chips for dinner.  We arrived at Rachael’s around 4:00pm. and didn’t have much time to visit as she was off to school at 6:00. 

            Judy called Possum and found out that there was a fire at the X-10 Campground near Tusayan.  After some research we now know that the fire is where we are to hike in a week.  FR 303, 302 and one other one is closed and that is where we want to go.  Hopefully, all will be safe in the area when we get there.  We do have a plan B if the area is blocked.

4-30-08, Rachael’s House, R & R            Spent the day doing some R&R, washing, packing & repacking our backpacks with supplies we had left here a couple weeks ago.  Tried to make our packs lighter but only managed a pound or two.              Had dinner at Stromboli’s, downtown Flagstaff, great food! Later went to Peace Surplus, located across the street from the train depot to get Connie a new Therm-a-rest.  Judy decided to get a patch kit for her Therm-a-rest.  She bought the Big Agnes patches just in case.  However, duct tape seemed to be holding. Later she tried to apply the patch but with no success, should have left the duct tape on. 5-01-08, 33/56 degrees, 7 ½ miles, FR 522 to Lew Tank, elev. @ Snowbowl 9250’            Got an early start this AM so we could get to the trail in good time.  Stopped at McD’s for breakfast and then drove to Shultz Pass where we decided that perhaps we should drive a little further in case we needed extra time to get through the X-10 fire area and we were told that we may need an extra day to get our permits to go through the Grand Canyon.  Started hiking at FR 522.  Two deer were there to greet us.  The walk up Snowbowl Hwy. Was beautiful, about 5 ½ miles.  The change in altitude made us huff n puff a little.  At Snowbowl we put the gallon of water that we had cached earlier in the month in our packs.  We weren’t sure if there would be water in the area but there was. Snow was still on the ground in places but was easy to walk on.  Fell through in a couple of places up to our mid-calf.  Aspen was in groves everywhere.  This would be a great place to come to in the fall when the leaves are changing color. Judy tried replacing the Big Agnes patch with a new one….no success.  It was only a pin hole but we couldn’t get it to stop leaking.  Apparently you can’t use Big Agnes patches on a Therm-a-rest pad.            Set up camp inside the dry Lew Tank where there wasn’t so much lumpy deer grass to cause an uncomfortable night’s rest and the wind wasn’t as bad either.  Had a nice fire but it started popping like the one at Navajo Springs so we weren’t going to chance it again with Connie’s new Therm-a-rest or have it get out of control so we put it out and went to bed. 5-02-08, 22/62 degrees, 7 miles, Lew Tank to Kelly Tank            Very cold and windy last night.  Judy’s pad is still flat and Connie couldn’t get warm in her –5 sleeping bag.  Seems to be a bad draft through the zipper.  Neither one of slept very well.  Down the trail by 8:30am.  Snow in places to our hips but was still hard enough to hold our weight.  Saw 2 coyote.            There is 6 miles to bushwhack from Snowbowl to Kelly Tank.  We followed the National Forest Boundary signs for a while and then came to a cliff covered with snow.  Oh S_ _ T!  This can’t be the way……  Looking for options, we found a path that appeared to not have as much snow.  Maneuvering through the trees we finally made it to the dirt road below.  I just don’t think this will be the future route of the AZT.  We later found out from Tom (Silver) that you can follow the Boundary signs and gradually get to the dirt road.  Where was he when we needed him!            At the road there was another stand of aspens where we took a morning break.              Met a man named Al, who was driving down the dirt roads scoping out the route he would be taking 6-2-08.  He is a marathon runner and will be running from Snowbowl to Phantom Ranch all at one time!  86 miles!  Good luck Al!  (We are such wusses)             Arrived at Kelly Tank early enough to clean the area up.  People who come in cars to camp seem to be the worst about taking there trash with them.              This was another place we had cached h2o and food.  5-03-08, Kelly Tank to East Cedar Tank, 22/65 degrees, 13.4 miles            Nice day to hike!  Most of trail was on dirt roads.  No wildlife except for 2 hunters on an ATV.  We didn’t realize it was turkey season.            It was just after we collected our next cache that Tom Conover, aka, Silver, caught up with us.  He had found Judy’s bandana 1/10th mile back where we had lunch.  He was the first AZT thru-hiker we had met on the trail.  We thought it was terrific that he had come all the way from West Keys, Florida to do the AZT with just a 13# backpack (-water & food)!  Just amazes us that people can come in and do these long hikes with very little planning. We know AZ pretty well but we still plan out our trips.             Of course, Tom was glad he found us.  We were able to show him that you had to turn left at the intersection (the AZT goes right) and go about 2/10th of a mile to get to the water tank that you can get fresh water.  We also told him at Lockwood Tank you have to turn right at FR301 (the AZT turns left here) and go behind the dirt tank to get to the metal water tank that has fresh h2o.  He was happy and commented that no matter where he hikes he finds people that are happy to share good information.  Gave him a couple Protein Bars to help him along (and to lighten Connie’s pack)              Camp wasn’t as comfortable as other places but we made do.  Coming down in elevation the temperatures are getting warmer! 5-04-08, East Cedar Tank to Power Lines, 10.5 miles            Great hiking weather today.  Could have done more miles but agreed we would stop at our water spots.  Next one was 10 more miles.            Uneventful, and a little warmer today which suited Connie as she enjoys the warmer weather. Found a nice campsite off the AZT with lots of wood for our fire.  However, with the wind blowing constantly we forfeited the fire and left the wood for the next camper.              Judy was able to get some watercolor painting done and Connie worked on word puzzles and Suduko.              The area around the Power Lines has beautiful geodes and quartz.5-05-08, Power Lines Lockwood Tank, 10 miles, 33 degrees this AM            Flat terrain on this 10 mile section. To our surprise we did find the h20 we had cached over a year ago and had forgot where it was.  We left it on the AZT for other hikers/bikers.  The closer we got to Lockwood Tank the more young bulls we encountered.  Also saw lots of Pronghorn sheep. We decided to make camp at the old bunkhouse located on top of the hill.  Nice fire ring with ¼ of a 55 gal drum with a door that kept the fire contained and radiated nice heat.  Didn’t feel comfortable to sleep inside the bunkhouse due to the potential of pack rats but having the shelter there felt nice. The area was cluttered with tin cans and trash so we took time to clean it up and made the inside of the bunkhouse look a little more homey by adding some woman touches, like putting an old iron on the table and a few decorations on the shelves.  We would recommend staying here.Took our clothes down to the tank for washing and filling our water bottles. This tank is located in the opposite direction of the AZT.  It’s located on the opposite side of the dry Lockwood Tank. We had cached food here so it was nice to see what morsels, such as sardines, crackers and WINE, we were going to have for dinner.  5-06-08, Lockwood Tank to Russell Tank, 14 miles, 37/57 degrees            Woke to the sound of light rain this AM.  Down the trail by 7:30.  Clouds all around but only a sprinkle.  Made real good time to Moqui Station where we had cached h20 and food.  Thunder & lightning was all around threatening to dump on us at anytime so we decided to continue on leaving 2 gallons of h2o at the trail post there at Moqui Stat.  Connie’s boots are beginning to really hurt her.  The inside by the toes are beginning to collapse causing blisters and lots of pressure on two toes.  Laid down for a while and listened to the thunder.  Never did really rain but it was coming down in buckets all around us.              Judy went investigating Russell Tank.  Really nice campground with toilets and small lake.  Locals seemed to know about the area because they were there fishing.  The Russell coral was preserved by the 1906 Act to Beautify America.  Must be an archaeological site.  Able to get cell site so we did our broadcast to our friends via the voicemail.              Connie still has too much weight so we through out the laundry soap she was going to use at Grand Canyon and cached some protein bars here for future use.5-07-08, Russell Tank to Grandview Lookout tower, 13 miles            Great hiking weather! Really blue skies!              Followed the rim most of the day, great views but could smell smoke from the X fire.              Saw lots of different birds and butterflies.              Stopped at Grandview L.O.T where we met Kathy & Roger Hoffman.  Great people!  Roger works for the Forest Dept in the Lookout tower and Kathy takes care of the 1936 cabin.  She invited us in for some tea and then surprised us with a peach from Yuma and a big bowl of Indian Bean Soup!  It was so good.  It had peaches in it too.  Sounds strange but it was very good!              After taking full advantage of their hospitality we set off to find a campsite in the area. Kathy told us that she and Roger were going into the Grand Canyon Village to get a shower as their water had not been turned on yet.  Should have been turned on 2 weeks ago.  They offered us a ride into the village and after discussing rather we wanted to walk through the X-fire burn area or walk down the highway or take a ride, we decided a ride would be just great.  That way we can get a jump on getting our permits to get down the canyon.  Coming in the back way to the Canyon there are no gates to come through so it’s free admission!              This area has a big problem with dwarf  mistletoe.  Many trees are dying because of it.  Not sure was action is being done to prevent or destroy it.            Got a nice tent site at Mathers Campground, next to the showers and close to the Village for shopping. $6.00 each a night.  We had the campground pretty much to ourselves during our stay.  Showers were $2.00 but included a towel, no soap.05-08 through 05/10/2008            It took several days to line up our permits.  First day at the back-country office: get a number so you can get a better position in line for the next day.  Next day: get another number so you can get even better position.  It’s not like this all the time but that was the situation when we were there.  We were trying to spend 4 days in the canyon so we would come out on May 15th when the North Rim opened and Colleen was to meet us with our supplies.  One at Indian Gardens C.G., two at Phantom Ranch, and one at Cottonwood C.G.  Because we wanted Phantom Ranch reservations we had to go to the  Bright Angel Hotel Lobby .  We were able to get 2 reservations for 05/12/2008 and one for 05/13/2008. This is really getting sticky!  Going back to the Back Country Office we discussed with them what our plan was and Lon, an employee, helped us make our trip happen!   In our spare time we checked out all the history, gift shops, and did our laundry.  Shuttle buses are FREE!!!   05/11/2008, South Rim to Indian Gardens with side trip to Kaibab Plateau, 40/95            Took our time this morning because we are only going to Indian Gardens.  Highly recommend staying here!  Beautiful covered camp sites, accessible water, and beautiful red rock mountains to look at.  Took the 1 ½ mile walk out to the Kaibab Plateau.  Well worth the time. h2o at the end.             This evening, a deer took up residency in our camp.             After 150 miles doing southern AZ and now 150 miles in northern AZ, Connie’s legs hurt doing downhill.   05/12/2008, Indian Gardens to Phantom Ranch, 7 miles, sprinkled in PM            This is a great hike!  Took time to look at Beach/Toilet. Nice place to soak your feet.  Note on toilet said to pee in the river…..can’t win!              Arrived at Phantom Ranch in good time and then took rest by the Sycamore tree close to the cantina.  There we met Father Neil Brave, (nick name).  He was with a big group of guys that were doing the Colorado River.  Father Brave was a very quiet man but his attire said a different story.  He was wearing hiking shorts, leopard skin silk PJ pants, and different colored painted toenails. After some conversation we found out that one of the river runners was suffering from severe constipation and the trip was on hold till some meds came down on the mule run or his friend had a BM.  The story about the toenail was quite interesting.  Seems the group had a previous bad trip and when they came on shore an old gentleman, about 80, told them he could feel their bad karma and that he could help them.  Advising them to paint their toenails different colors seemed to make a big difference so all subsequent trips required all members of the crew to paint their toenails.05/13/08 Phantom Ranch

Woke this AM to big puddles, 6” of snow at South Rim and even more at North Rim.  Mule runs were cancelled due to snow. 

Took a hike to Clear Creek Plateau.  Could see the snow accumulations at both rims.  Hope it’s gone by tomorrow.  We both wished we could have stayed at Bright Angel Campgrounds.  Very nice accommodations.  It was noisy in our dorm with people going to the bathroom all night and most people getting up at 4:30am. Met Wolverine Bob, a friend of Father Neil Brave.  He said his friend still hadn’t had a BM.  We learned later this evening he was aerovaced out.Ranger’s talk was fun, Jeopardy game.  Learned a lot!  In the evening he did a talk about the bats.  Interesting too. 05/14/08, Phantom Ranch to Cottonwood C.G., 6 miles            Got up with the 4:30am alarm, breakfast at 5:00am.  Great breakfast: scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon, peaches, juice & coffee.              This is really beautiful hiking!  Follows a raging river down narrow paths with bridges.  Also took detour to Rainbow Falls.  Best place to take a shower!              Arrived at Cottonwood around 10:30am.  Wished we could have kept going.  Privy was really dirty with no toilet paper and camp sites had ants.  However, it was the day before the North Rim would open so could be no rangers have been here yet.  Spent the day water-coloring and Stickdoku.  Really pretty terrain but boring.  05/15/08, Cottonwood C.G. to North Rim C.G., 7 miles            The scenery along this section is gorgeous!  It’s the best of the canyon!  There were 2 areas where a rock-slide took out the foot paths and workers were trying to secure the area by moving rocks into place using ropes.  Scary job!             Arrived at the North Rim C.G. in good time. Very little snow was left but where it had previously accumulated it was now 5’ high.  The 1 ½ miles of flat land walking from the North Rim to the campgrounds cured Connie’s sore legs!            The campgrounds were just opening so not all the facilities were up and running.  Took a shower, $1.50 but no towels or soap.  Campground was $18.00 a night.            Colleen showed up with Pork Chops and Corn On the Cob for dinner! It was unlawful to use wood off the ground.  You have to buy it at the General Store, $5.50 a bundle.05/16/08, Kaibab TH to Boundary Line of Grand Canyon Forest, 11 miles, 9000’ elevation            Connie got up this am and made coffee, first time this trip.  Colleen brought a French Press Coffee Maker, looked a little out of place but was really yummy coffee!            This was by far the best hiking so far.  Mostly unbelievable meadows surrounded by forest.  No wildlife so far.

            Stayed at the DeMotte C.G., $17.00 a night.  No showers, no water.  Should have stayed in the forest. Had steak & baked potatoes for dinner thanks to Colleen. 

05/17/08, North Grand Canyon Boundary to East Rim View TH.

            Chilly this am with deer in the meadow. 

            This hike was the best yet with snow, creeks, springs, mini waterfall but no wildlife yet.  The views remind you of the Colorado Rocky Mountain Views.  On the rim you could see the Marble Canyon, gorge of the Grand Canyon, and the Vermillion Cliffs.

            Stayed at Kaibab North Rim Lodge.  $103.00 a night.  Nice room but the walls between the rooms were so thin we could hear the other party zip up their zippers.  Had trout dinner and wine on the patio overlooking the meadow for happy hour.

            05/18/08, East Rim Trail to FR 205. Gets warmer everyday!  (No access for 10 miles-warm fire)

            Nice morning.  Met neighbors next door from Florida headed to Tucson.

            The lodge gets 110,000 gallons of water shipped in every month so we made sure we drank all our water at breakfast.  Was hard to believe they didn’t have a well.

            Colleen dropped us off at the East Rim Tr.

As we came off FR611 we saw a coyote seemingly to stare at a deer.  We froze to watch the action.  The deer ran across the meadow as if in fear but the coyote never moved.  After a minute another deer came running back across the meadow right at us.  He finally realized what we were and changed directions.  Finally the coyote walked into the forest as if nothing ever happened.  Later we saw a baby horny toad and 6 turkeys.  As it was turkey season we think we saw more than they did.

            At 9500’ elevation we came across sea shells and barnacles!  This was amazing!  We learned later that this area was under water a million years ago!

            About 3 miles short of Crane Lake, on FR 224, we ran into Hein turkey hunting, great since of humor and born in the Netherlands.  He had his truck stuck up to the frame in mud and he was trying to dig it out with a stick. Took 3 hours and Colleen’s car to finally pull him all the way out. We all had a good laugh and a beer to celebrate.  Felt good to help someone along the way. 

            05/19/08, FR 205 to Jacob Lake

            We could still see where the Warm Fire, 2006, had play havoc in the area but still a great forest walk.  Colleen stayed at camp till early afternoon beading and reading.

            The night before we realized that we had made reservations at Jacob Lake on the 21st instead of the 19th.  Opps!  So arriving around 1:00 pm we were able to make the switch with no problem.  In fact we got money back. $103.00 a night for cabin #18 & 19.  If we ever stay here again it will be these 2 cabins or #28.  Both have a great patio with views of the forest and not your neighbors cabin. 

            Unable to get access to our room till 3pm we decided to drive to where Colleen would meet up with us on the trail tomorrow.  Driving down FR 248 to FR 247 we ran into shale rock and got a flat tire.  Within 20 minutes we were heading back to Jacob Lake to a private patio for happy hour.  Again a nice Trout Almandine Dinner!

            The tech at the gas station said he could patch the tire but would only guarantee it for about 3 miles.  Colleen thought that was good enough till she got home……

            05/20/08  Hwy 89A TH (Trail 101, Kiabab Trl.) to Winter Rd., 18 miles

            This would be our longest day, 18 miles and we were ready for the challenge!  We were surprised to see that the trail went through the forest and not open country like we thought.  We left bright pink tape at the Navajo sign at the intersection of FR 248 & 247 indicating that we had been there.  About an hour later Colleen caught up with us blowing her horn as she came over the horizon. We were so glad to see her and that all was well with her tires. 

            Made camp along Winter Rd. at an already established campsite.  Looked like a hunters paradise.  Dead coyote and deer legs about a 100’ away. 

            Our last meal that Colleen brought was hot dogs and sauerkraut! It was perfect!

            Slept with the tent fly off  tonight.

            05/21/08, Winter Rd. to Utah Border, 11 miles

Woke up this am to a surprise rumbling of thunder.  As we didn’t have the tent fly on and we wanted Colleen to get to a better location before the rain started we scrambled to get thing picked up and put in the car.

The trail was great going through junipers.  We studied the sedimentary rock, the views, sights, sounds and smells, trying to take up time as we knew this was our last day  hiking the AZT.  We starting seeing more flowers in the first part of the day as it was sprinkling just enough for us to put on our rain gear. 

As we approached the last 2 miles with switchbacks we started a slow jog as we didn’t want to be on an open plateau with lightning, rain, and hail.  The views of the Vermillion Cliffs with thunder clouds and lightning made us feel so excited.  God couldn’t have given us a  better send off for our final segment! 

Colleen was waiting for us in the parking lot with our farewell beer.  The storm had calmed as we took our last pictures and signed out at the registry with sweet sorrow to our 241 mile trip.  We saw where Tom Conover, aka, Silver, had signed out on 05/11/08.           

AZT a tidbit from the Judy Eidson

judy writes AZT a tidbit from the Judy Eidson 3-8 2008 to 3-21-2008

A trip of a life time! My husband gave me full support IF I found some one to go with. (knowing I would not, he felt safe of giving the go ahead, most people have not even heard of the AZT-az trail). I had finished off all BUT 260 miles of the 807 mile trip with either Colleen Hunt, Connie Simmons, June Storment or Nancy Vail, all of us in our 50’s. This was a broken record to these girls of completing the trip. Out of blue in Sept Connie Simmons came to me with a piece of paper from 1999 about doing this trip & said she would help me complete my dream. No questions asked I took it & ran with it, a surprise to my husband! My sis, loving nature & brother a backpacker were very encouraging. None of them were here to help out with actual trip but they had a bigger job of convincing a worrier which is my mother who also lives in Nebr why I was doing this & every thing would be fine. I now have time to complete my New Year’s Resolution which will help me physically with the trip the PF Chang ½ Marathon which was Jan 18, 2008. No convincing needed Connie, Nancy & Debbie Schmel started training with me in Oct. We finished with flying colors!

Now, the real challenge, the computer, maps, & the GPS. I had the software for Nat’l Geographic Topo’s & worked with it for a couple of years, but that was before Vista. Having to buy expensive cords to work with my Garmin emap GPS, many calls to support people from both Hewitt Packer, Nat’l Geographic & also the guru of the AZT Asst waypoints David Babcock, I was on my way, but still very frustrated I need to use my laptop because by that time I had most of my work on that system. Days before I left Nat’l Geographic called to work out the rest of the problems & hopefully for the northern AZT I will not need to spend this many hrs at it. A suggestion would be to check out the AZT maps that they now have made up to see if that would work for you, it would be a lot more expensive but less trouble. The good thing I feel I know the terrain & land marks very well as much time I spent working with them. The phone calls to stewards were very helpful. They gave out valuable info, thanks to Bernie Stalmann Passage 6, & for passage 13,14, John Rendall which was very knowledgeable on other passages too. Caching was must for this area, with a wet winter chances of us finding water in the dirt & cow tanks were more promising. I had e-mailed Buck Tilton from Backpacker Magazine on the best way to purify water from cow & dirt tanks, he suggested BOTH water filter & tablets. Our new filter did not show up by the time we left, which is the new MSR Hyperflow Filter so we only took tablets & filtered with bandana, coffee filters & cheese cloth. Once you see the tanks you see why all filters are needed. In southern Az there is not a lot of running springs or clear ponds. Another important tool was AZT Asst web page started to put out 3 different sources, 1 from Fred Gaudet, thru hikers log, Dave Hicks & the last which we did not have at the time is the data pages, use all sources! The books I used were helpful, Arizona Trail Official Guide & Crossing Arizona by Chris Townsend even though a few trails & info changed they were very useful. I will probably never meet Chis or the person he talks about frequently Jake but I’m truly fans of there’s.

Now the food, if you have not done trips like this before be prepared! 21 days of breakfast, snacks, suppers & keeping the daily quota to 1 to 2 lbs. My kitchen, & dining room was a sight- wish I would of taken a picture! My husband would come home from work, would look at the mess, listen to my daily struggle & would quietly go to his easy chair which was a good thing. After a couple of days I had every thing in baggies planned to a T, laid out & organized to put in my pack & shuttle bags. Then one night my cat Abbey, which had no intent to eat my food but I guess enjoyed listening to the bags rustle had bite holes or chewed into them. I had to cook & eat out of these bags, they could not have holes in them! I was close to tears. Off to the store for more freezer bags & repacking, no sympathy from my husband he stood up for the cat! By this time I wasn’t sleeping, would get up in the middle of the night look at maps, make up more list, etc. In the mean time Connie was doing calendars so everyone would have an idea where we would be, making up 2nd maps to give to spouses for rescue purposes, & sitting up lists what to share, & running to do errands for us. 10 days before leaving Nancy Vail announced she was able to get a leave from work & do the whole 3 weeks with us. It was an unsigned agreement we would do this trip “the AZ Trail Leisurely Way” Still working 40 hrs plus a week, had to yet prepare food, & pack & yet try to train on the Mts around the valley carrying her pack to try to physically get ready & make sure her old pack was prepared. I kept telling her it all has to do with attitude. I on the other hand had planned from changing from my external Jansport which I’ve had for 19 yrs to a new internal backpack, that’s what everyone is going to, so thought it would be a good think, wrong! The week before the trip I switched back to my Jansport. No matter what REI did to get the weight up higher it was resting way to low on my lower back especially when I tried to put in extra gallon’s of water for the 2 day dry camp. My shelf on my hips work well with my old pack. I can mount my tent & clothes on the top in a stuff sack, it made sense leave a good thing alone. FYI Jansport is excellent to work with, I’ve had zippers, rips, hip belt etc worked on from the past, never a question asked & did great work. Tension was building I couldn’t wait to get started, packing my backpack was much easier than expected, it weighted around 30 lbs.

The day finally arrived, it was such a great feeling to finally get started! I so enjoyed the smells, flowers, sounds, & scenery. The calming, relaxing feeling is something I can’t really explain, other than sometimes a brainless carefree feeling. But the days with no ribbons, cairns or trails was a different story. That’s where MR. Garmin & I had to go into 3rd gear. I can truly say we never once missed our trail or destination, those sleepless nights & being prepared paid off. The side trip we took up Palmer Wash because I got bored with the pipeline was fun. Connie went into her skit of the Wizard of Oz- If I only had a half of a brain I would go this way & then if I had a ½ brain I would follow Judy, so I guess I‘ll follow Judy. I could tell there was a bit of doubt when walking in sand & I know where to turn was a bit of stress for both of them. We came to a great tank filled with water & over flowing that we would of never found if we went the other way. The great sigh’s Nancy gave always caught our attention, but started to figure out it was more of a habit.

I felt like I packed most things well, the clothes did great until we had a shuttle & we were headed to Rincon Mts & traded my non gortex boots for gortex boots. My feet rebelled them, but expecting snow I switched to the sweaty, stinky, blistering rubbing boots! What was I thinking! Gortex has not been my friend in the past! Three nights before we were in a snow storm. Never thought twice, I put baggies on my feet slipped them in my boots walked them dry & they were happy campers.

Food again I did great until shuttle person came. I had an extra bag of candy & snacks, why I put them back into my suitcase to go home is beyond me- I know oz’s count but this is survival!! I was going thru my pack adding dry creamers to coffee, sugar anything to fill the empty whole feeling. At the end of the trip I was famished. Even after eating a full big meal my brain was not satisfied. I probably ate 3 times as much a day for a week before I could eat sensible again.

The accidents that happened was the typical ones. 4 out of 5 was falls, one burn. In our 1st aid kit we planned on the typical things with a small 1st aid book which did come in handy. The cell phone came in handy for the last fall for Connie so looked at it as part of the 1st aid. We had read before no real reason to take one because next to no cell sites, in our case that was incorrect. We were able to get one about every 3rd day, which we set up a distribution list so we could make 1 call that had Qwest phone message system & let everyone know we were fine & where we were located. Connie had trialed her cell phone out to see how long the batteries would last, we never got below ½ of power.

10 items that I really used & enjoying having with me:

1. Buff- used as my hat, headband, neck & ear warmer, very seldom did you see me with out it- thanks Yvonne

2. Croc’s- my tired feet rejoiced when I put them on, they were light weight

3. Therma rest chair, oh my weary back loved it, the oz’s it weighted does not count for the comfort it gave me

4. Water tablets, makes life easy & takes care of all the crud but expensive

5. Piddle pads, no messy toilet paper, during the day & worked for padding on my burnt foot so it wouldn’t rub up against my boots

6. Duc tape, used it for everything, especially for the small nicks you get(when band-aids don’t say on) & my gortex blisters

7. Bandana’s, – used to wipe sweat, wash, filter, sit on, etc

8. Swiss army knife, everything from pulling out the stickers on my legs, to opening a bottle of wine

9. GPS, there were times a map & compass didn’t do the trick

10. Baggies- to keep me organized

3 items I could of done without:

1. Gortex Boots- sweat to much

2. Silk liner- not cold enough

3. Hiking poles – I just as soon picked up a stick. although my hiking partners loved there’s. I will be taking mine to the northern AZT do to the Grand Canyon.

If you haven’t read Connie’s journal about the trip do so.

Next trip will start 4-26 to 5-22,2008 from Allan Lake to Utah Border, Nancy had to go back to work so Connie & I will push on & do 242miles. I have done 106 of these miles, but since Connie has not we decided if we can get permits in the Grand Canyon it would be nice for her to finish it too.

Shuttle- we could of done a different system but this worked out so wonderful! I can’t express how much it meant! Thank you again to all 3 husbands-David, Possum & Ronnie, Colleen Hunt for her repeated phone calls to help in anyway she could, Judy Bender working 60 hrs a week & still able to break away to help, Bob & Heather Lemons for the shuttle, steaks, beer & having a bed to sleep in, Mike Ginder my brother n law for keeping us informed on the weather, Connie’s mom Mary to give us her bright smile. All the phone calls to wish us good luck, to many to list.

Its not the destination it’s the Journey, this truly was a journey of a life time!

don’t for get to check out the gallory for pictures. j”