So, now that I am done with my Arizona Trail talk at Summit Hut, it is now time to concentrate on my planning for my Grand Enchantment Trail hike. I normally hike solo, which on a long trail translates into having to find shuttles so that I don’t have to retrace my steps back to my car. Thankfully, I have always been able to find generous souls to help me out.
The big news this week is that Arizona was hit by one heck of a storm system this week that dumped a significant amount of snow at higher elevations. I am very happy about this storm. Recent times have been very dry- our monsoon rains were only half of normal levels. Dry weather makes for difficult backpacking conditions, requiring long, heavy carries of water, 8.3 lbs. to the gallon. Last fall, I had to reschedule a couple of backpacking trips due to lack of water sources. I will be happily drinking this storm in the coming months.
The planning for this hike is much easier. First of all, I have all my gear already- no need to spend countless hours comparing gear and such. (however, I will share a great website for doing so: www.spadout.com) Second, the GET website and mapset are in easy-to-use format. For the AZT, I had to generate my own maps using the TOPO program. With the GET, you order the maps off the website and all the work has been done for you. The most important difference, however, is that when I started hiking the AZT it was only my third backpacking trip EVER. Now, I have 800 miles of mostly-solo Arizona Trail under my belt.
I’ve refined my meals, learned not to overpack, know what to do if I get off-track, and understand that it is a somewhat physical, but mostly mental challenge to hike a long trail. I know that the right song on a tough day can completely change my mood around. I have vast loneliness coping skills. I learned about many different things that had nothing to do with hiking- how to run a website, a fundraiser, and how to spread the word.
And now for another cute animal from the Wildlife Rehab- an 4-inch elf owl that came to us when it was very young:
Your donation of $10 will feed:
- One Hawk or one owl for one week
- Seed eating birds for three weeks
- Several mammals for two weeks