The trail weaves through the hills, going around Picket post mountain, instead of the summit.

I’m a little disappointed, but not really. I can always come back for that. This is more about the larger trail.

The views of the peak are spectacular, but after a while, the rolling hills begin to seem repetitive. As Picket Post fades into the background, the hills are a new combination of yellow and green.

Though the hills go up and down, I have Mary’s Christmas treats.

I come across a hiker box with 8,000 gallons of water, lots of treats, and a tent stake.

Shnikies.

An extra tent stake is exactly what I needed. Trail angels are my favorite people.

On the road nearby, hipster golf carts run by. Hunters looking for Elk.

There’s a quite a climb coming, and the trail turns into a ridge walk along the side of a mountain. Some turns are lush with green grass, some are yellow rock, and others are red rock.
I will walk, I mean have walked, 500 miles


Today is a special day: I hit 500 miles, right around one of those nice Arizona Trail gates.

500 miles. I’ve walked 500 miles. It’s almost a rite I’ve passed. No one can say I’m not a thru hiker anymore.

This is easily the most beautiful rock landscape since the Grand Canyon; it looks a lot like the north rim, except there’s no people, anywhere.

It’s getting dark.

The ridge walk is nice, but I can’t camp here.


As I often do, I pray for a nice campsite.

For an open space that feels good.

Sometimes I get it.

Sometimes I don’t.

This time, I do.

It’s almost perfect. About 100 feet away, there’s a view unlike I’ve ever seen. I bet I could actually see Mexico from here. 100s of miles laid out before me, at least.

Something about this area feels exposed though.

I wonder what’s past that turn.

I question whether it’s a good idea to push farther.

I do it.

Turn.

Turn.

I ask, is this a good idea? In general? Or just for tonight.
This is exactly what it looked like. No filters.

Sunset it coming. It’s almost here.

And then I find a great spot.

Is it better than before?

I don’t know. But I feel good about it.

Darkness is coming soon, though. I think...I think I’ll cowboy camp again.

Lay down the tent as a ground sheet.

Cook some dinner.

Yeah.

This is great.