I walk into Walgreens, looking quite disheveled. The manager walks up from behind me and says hello, presumedly to get a good look at me. Satisfied, he nods, and walks away.

The backpack is always questionable. Hiker, or questionable homeless person?

Today, it was a hiker.

What to do.

I need to resupply, and potentially examine my gear. It’s after sunset already, so there’s no chance of setting up camp at this lower altitude.

2 miles away there’s a hotel with an included hot breakfast, for a relatively inexpensive price, so I begin the trek. I stop at Walmart on the way, but I don’t buy anything. It’s the cleanest Walmart I’ve ever seen.
There’s always Mexican

Check in, unpack, find food, and back to the hotel.

Now, I need to figure out what to do next.
Do I replace the sleeping pad? Do I find another solution?

Part of me says, the mountains were enough, you can quit now.

-

The next morning, I walk into a barber shop. I point to my head:

I need all this shaved, as close as you can get it.

“Jordan it? Are you sure?”

I remove my wool cap. Yes. It’s already been established.

Alright. One Michael Jordan coming up.

I don’t remember his name, but we’ll call him Jermaine.

“So what’s going on here?”

He’s referring to the fact that most of my head was previously shaved, but the back has grown in quite a bit more. He wants to know why I look like an air bender.

I tried to cut it myself, but I had no mirror in the wilderness, and couldn’t quite get to the back. So there it stayed, and now I’m here.

“The wilderness?”

Yeah. I’m thru-hiking the Arizona Trail.

“I know someone who did that. They quit there job and did it in 3 months”.

“But how do you live out there? Do you hunt? And do you carry a gun? You know there are mountain lions.”

He asks all the standard questions. I give the standard answers.

I tell him I used to carry a knife, but now I have nothing. I don’t need it.

“No way! I’d bring a glock. Shoot at every noise.”

Jermaine continues to talk about how crazy it is. I let him go on.

-

I ordered a closed cell foam pad, and a lightweight inflatable pad that provides padding for pressure points only. This will protect against rocks and give me appropriate padding. Next day shipping.

I spend the next several hours at Walmart and Family Dollar. I’m out of prepared food, as it took me longer to cross the mountain range that I had planned. It’s too late to get food shipped here, so I have to go full on standard thru-hiker faire.

Rice meals. Instant mashed potatoes. Cheese, tortillas, and chocolate.
Butter is fat, right?

I try my best to get appropriate macro ratios that would not result in losing a massive amount of weight.

It’s impossible.

No wonder male thru-hikers look so emaciated.

All carbs and sugar, very little fat.

So be it.

Food purchased.

Back to the hotel.

One more night in town.