Day 35: Staying High on the Arizona Trail

Thursday May 25, 23.9mi/38.5km

AZT at Buffalo Trick Tank (537.5/8400ft) to Dog Lake (558.3/8785ft) (AZ) +3.1mi GPS correction

We left our perfect little camp spot in the trees at 6:45am and hiked thru the morning light.

There wasn’t much exiting or notable today, just heaps of nice scenery. There was a burn area from the 2006 Warm Fire, and the aspens seem to have taken over.

Aspen tunnel!

Shadow and I hiked together for the first hour, and we paused when he heard a loud noise. Deer!

I stopped for a brief break at the Murray trailhead, and Shadow kept going. The bathroom was still locked from the winter, and the bear box was empty (often have water or snacks), so there wasn’t much reason to linger.

After a couple miles, we stopped at our first water source for the day. These are manmade setups that collect water using a big concrete platform, and funnel it into a square pool. Neat!

Spelling errors on signs always amuse me. GNCP? Grand Canyon National Park is GCNP!

I almost stepped on a tiny snake, he was trying to stay warm up here at 8600ft elevation.

Eventually the burn area ended and the green trees returned. The Kaibab plateau is beautiful.

Because of the high elevation, there were still 5 or 6 little patches of snow still lingering. They were super easy to just walk across, but still a little surprising to see.

It’s a green tunnel!

This little lizard posed for me on a log. It didn’t have a long tail like all the other lizards I’ve seen, so it must be a different species.

I crossed paths with the hiker named Malto again, whom we met last week coming out of Bryce. He is completing this section of the Arizona trail, before heading home. We chatted for quite awhile, and eventually I parted ways, I still had a mile to go for our lunch spot. We had lunch at the Telephone Hill trailhead, which had a nice fence to sit against.

It was warm in the sun, but a little chilly when a cloud would pass by. It felt good to sit and relax, but Shadow wanted to do 13 more miles, so off we went. Hiking kept me warm at this high elevation.

For the rest of the day we paralleled a paved highway. It’s a seasonal road (closed for the winter) that leads only to the park entrance, so there were almost no cars on it.

These high elevation meadows were cool to experience.

Our next water source was at an overflowing pond. I think all the water sources up here are running high because of the snowmelt. Shadow was napping on the shoreline when I got there.

I decided to do a bit of the same!

After a nice long break at the pond, we spent the rest of the afternoon hiking through high elevation meadows.

Shadow hikes faster than me, and after a while I could barely see him in the distance.

More alpine meadows! The sunshine made it look warm but it was not….maybe 65F/18C.

I arrived to our planned campsite after 6pm, which also had another one of these cool little water tanks.

Shadow had been there for a while and already set up his tarp in the meadow. It was pretty windy, so I decided to setup my tent in the trees where it was more sheltered.

It was an unexpectedly long day of 24 miles, and my ankle started hurting, but now tomorrow we have a very short day of only 15 miles which will feel very nice!

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