Time get up.
It’s cold, but it’s not below freezing.

Ideally, I’d start before sunrise. Maybe tomorrow. The sun finally rises, so it’s time for me to get up too.
Perfectly situated for rodent stealing
Nothing has disturbed my food bag, so all is well.

I’m not really sure if it’s necessary to put my food away from my tent on this trail. I’ve gotten mixed messages - some say there are only rodents, some say there are bears.

The only consensus is that no one seems to put the effort into hanging a bear bag properly. I take the safe route while going with the consensus - all scented items are not within my tent, put placed a good distance away and generally not on the ground.

I’m up. I’m packed up. Time to go.

The trees are massive, and the canopy allows only a little bit of sunlight. It’s probably around 40, or upper 30s.

I’m out of water, and dreading the filtering process. There’s a wildlife tank coming up just a little of the trail, so I check it out.

It’s full, but covered with a layer of ice.

I tap it with my trekking pole.

Tap harder.

Tap HARDER.

Oh look, little wasp-looking bugs swimming under the ice.

Hi guys!

After breaking the ice, I dip the dirty water bag in, and inevitably get my hands wet. This is a miserable process. After filtering 2 liters of water, it’s time to move on, but My frozen fingers are deflating my motivation.

A long snack break later, and I move on.

The trail requires going back down a hill, presumably to come back up again at a later point. Forget that. The map shows that the road adjacent to the tank connects eventually, and it’s parallel to the trail - lets just do that.
Struggling to hang on

Sometimes a dirt road walk is nice, particularly when it’s in the sun. Some folks are cutting down trees, presumably dwarf mistletoe infected trees.

An hour up the road, a truck pulls up with the people previously cutting trees and they ask if I need a ride.

No, I gotta walk it.

“Where are you headed?”

Mexico.

They stare in silence. We both stare for a solid 5 seconds. I look at the dog in the back of the truck. He stares back.

“Is this the Arizona Trail?”

Close enough. The official trail runs parallel to the road about 100 feet over there.

“I’ve been meaning to try that”

Well let’s go! I’ve already started us off.

A smirk, and they drive away.

I’m thankful for the offer; any other time, a ride would have been greatly appreciated.

3 miles later, the trail joins back up with the road, and there’s an unexpected water cache. This is great, but internally I roll my eyes that I spent an hour filtering freezing cold water when I could have gotten it all here.

It’s appreciated either way, and I fill up the remaining liter I didn’t have the heart to filter at the freezing bug tank.

It’s been a miserable day. I’ve been chilled, and my stomach is having random pains. Sometimes I need to stop and let it settle, but I keep on walking.

But!

I met a new friend. His name is Tarantino: the crosser of roads. I kind of wanted to help him. Kind of. I’m not to the point where I feel comfortable getting close to a tarantula. That’s outdoorsman level 7, and I’m still a 6.
No one understands Tarantino, but he is popular.
Eventually the landscape changes from a weaving path through the forest to a nice open landscape, and my mood picks up.

I filter some more tank water, this time to a nice view.

It’s getting late, so I start looking for a camp spot again. Unfortunately, most of the landscape is now covered with all sizes of rocks. Maybe I can find one free from scat; free from rocks is questionable.

As I continue, the landscape becomes more of an ominous weaving forest. It’s getting dark, but, there it is...

The perfect spot.

This time, I leave the vestibules on both sides of the tent open. Tonight, only the screen will be between myself and the wild, with the added benefit of being able to see the stars.

I drift off looking at the lights in the sky.
Today was partially miserable, but it all turned out just fine.

I hope Tarantino accomplishes his mission.

Tomorrow, I’ll start earlier. Tomorrow will turn out just fine too. And Tarantino will cross more roads.