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Hiking Tip

When hiking, you may encounter a gate across your path. Whether open or not, the common action is to close it after passing through.
Maryann, the rancher I met yesterday, taught me that is not the correct thing to do. Sometimes, hikers may accidentally leave a gate open instead of closing it. If that happens, then livestock may escape and run wild. The rancher then has to round up the strays - a real hassle.
But if a gate is closed when the rancher wanted it open, livestock may be denied access to vital water and die.
So, leave open gates open and closed gates closed once you pass through.

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Posted: 21:28 04-11-2012 816
Ranch Breakfast

PapaBear enjoying his 4 eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, and cocoa at 6:30am just as the sun comes over the hill. Try to convince me of a better way to start the day!
LF Ranch is a perfect stop on the AZ Trail for anyone wanting to sample real rural Arizona. Maryann is a great hostess running a real family cattle ranch, working hard evry day. She is very knowledgable about the area and the outdoors.
By the way, the eggs are fresh from her own ranch chickens.

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Posted: 12:39 04-11-2012 815
Day 25 - LF Ranch

I walked 43412 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 18 miles today.
Spending the nite camping at LF Ranch. Maryann is making us spaghetti for dinner right now and we're relaxing after a wonderful shower.
The ranch is down in the valley by the East Verde river so it should be warm tonight, but we have a long day of 'up' for 23 miles to Pine tomorrow.
The plan was to go further but I'm nearly out of food so this will get me to Pine and the grocery store.
It was a real treat to reach our stopping point by 3:30 instead of the usual 'just by sunset' time. A couple hours to wash and relax have been refreshing.
Maryann just gave us some tangelos from her dad's tree - aaaaahhhh! They were great.
This is one of the many ranch dogs around. There are also chickens, horse, cow, and a dozen peacocks. We hear it tastes like pheasant.

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Posted: 12:38 04-11-2012 813
Day 24 - Mazatzal Wilderness

I walked 48684 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 21 miles today.
Half Way!!
I crossed the halfway point today in miles, maps, and passages. Tthe passages are rated Easy, Moderate, and Strenuous. Of the 16 strenuous we've completed 11. Of the 13 easy we've done only 2. It looks like more of the passages ahead are 'easy' rather than 'strenuous' like we've been having.
The Mazatzal Wilderness has been awesome so far. The trail tread, slope, and grade have been great. We're at Horse Camp Seep where we ran into Fireweed. We've had a nice chat and campfire with her this evening.
It was a good day.

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Posted: 10:18 04-10-2012 811
Jackalope Attack

(read the previous post before this one)
While following the tracks, we noticed many trees like this one that had been clawed down.
We soon found a rancher and asked about the tracks. He let us know that they were made by the meanest, orneriest, thieving varmint in Arizona - the Jackalope. He also said they often steal Easter eggs, toys, trinkets, and tools.
Wo, we tracked him nearly 2 miles until we finally found my Spot caught on the end of a prickly thorn bush. We never did find the jackalope.
It took us another couple miles to get back to the trail and continue on our way.
If you're ever in this area, don't leave your gear unattended!
Check out my current location on the map.

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Posted: 8:40 04-09-2012 807
Unbelievable Easter

This was the strangest Easter ever. I don't expect many of you to believe me, but I'll tell you anyway.
While hiking north of Sunflower, AZ I stopped to get some badly needed water as you can see in this picture. PapaBear was taking the photo so no one was watching our packs - bad mistake. Just as I finished filling my water bag, I heard some rustling by our packs.
I looked up and saw a flash of orange as some animal took off through the bush with my Spot tracking device. You can see the track of this date - Check out my current location on the map..
Not wanting to continue the hike without my Spot for emergencies, we took off following the tracks. This took us way off route as the map shows.
Check out the next post to find out what happened.

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Posted: 8:37 04-09-2012 806
Trail Journal

I walked 52982 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 23 miles today.
Thanks to 10 easy miles on forest road, we reached Sycamore Creek tonight with an hour of daylight. That made it easier to set up camp, get water, and cook dinner. It's still a very short evening and I'm in my bed now before 9pm. But, since hiking starts again by 6:30 in the morning, the rest is needed.
There was some awful overgrowth on the trail yesterday and today, making it very tough going much of the time. Unfortunately, it sounds like the Matzatal Wilderness is worse and we hit it tomorrow.
If all goes well tomorrow, I should cross the 400mile mark.

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Posted: 22:01 04-07-2012 804
Day 21 - Four Peaks Wilderness

I walked 41713 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 16.5 miles today.
After two long hike days, we kept today a bit shorter. It wasn't easy, though. There was over 3000ft of elevation and we're camped at over a mile high. The temp is down to 37 and it's just 8pm so I get to find out how well my quilt works.
Camp is on the only slightly level place around this entire mountain we've climbed. There's no room to set up tents so we are sleeping open to the stars and critters.
I'm just about in the middle of the Four Peaks Wilderness. Tomorrow, Pigeon Spring is 5 miles down the trail and our best bet for water. If it's dry, we may need to hike with no water for another 10 miles.
I've been using the solar charger provided by Northern Star Council to keep this phone going and it has worked wonderfully. Arizona is a perfect place for solar!
Also, I've gotten some fun pics of myself by attaching my Stick Pic to my trek pole - but I'll have to post those later.

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Posted: 14:04 04-07-2012 802
Ben - our personal chef

we packed up and were on our way when Ben asked if we'd like some breakfast. Well, what self-respecting thru-hiker would ever turn down a meal?
So, here I am having bacon and eggs on the beach beside a beautiful lake, in the desert, with the sun just rising. Oh, the people you meet!
Ben lives here out of his little pick-up, enjoying life fishing and chatting with his neighbors. I could think of a lot worse ways to live out a life.
Check out my current location on the map.

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Posted: 14:03 04-07-2012 801
Day 20 - Roosevelt Campers

Another 25 mile day but with much more fun and adventure.
I had to reach the Roosevelt Marina by 4pm to pick up my food box or else wait until 8am the next day. So I fasthiked ahead of PapaBear for a few hours and got there just in time. I also bought some pop and ice so we had a treat when he arrived.
On the morning hike, we ran into Swami who is hiking SOBO as part of his huge year of hiking. You can find out more about it at
We had to find a place to camp around town so we walked down by the lake. As it turns out, there is a community of campers in there RVs, trucks, and tents that practically live here for months. We said HI to some of them until one asked what we were doing. Once we started talking, and they got to know us, they invited us to visit their campfire later. Well, we wound up uaving drinks, steak, and applesauce provided by our new friends. It was a very enjoyable evening with Bill, Diane, Ben, and Jerry. Plus, we have a nice, quiet, flat place for our tents. A nice time with new folks makes the work of the day fade away.
I walked 58968 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 26 miles today.

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Posted: 14:01 04-07-2012 800
Day 19 - Reavis Creek

I walked 59531 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 26 miles today.
Back on the trail to Utah after a wonderful rest in Tempe. It's about 50 miles to Roosevelt, AZ so we did half today and hopefully half tomorrow. I have a food box waiting for me there.
Montana mountain climb was grueling but the rest of the hike was good. Reavis ranch was a known water source so we pushed on into the dark hiking but found water in Reavis Creek and a flat spot in the trail to stop. It was a long day.
Met some folks out doing botanical research by the trail and asked them about cactus and other plants. Also passed a family that had gotten lost but were now on their way back to the trailhead.
Since we've gained elevation, it is cooling off quickly tonight.

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Posted: 13:59 04-07-2012 799
Rest Day

Spent today with PapaBear in Tempe trying to regain some lost weight and get a few things taken care of.
This pic is from the top of Mica Mt a few days ago. It's a cool camp high in a majestic pine forest with views forever.
Chuck at REI was very helpful with the tips of my trek poles which are wearing out. He found a spare part that fit so I have a spare for when one finally fails. A few more oz to carry, but some insurance.
Got 2 days of food to get me to Roosevelt Marina where I've already sent a 4-day box. It's about 50 miles.
To gain weight, I had a large DQ chocolate shake, onion rings, bacon, eggs, biscuits, peanut butter, milk, clam chowder, apple, banana, 2 oranges, snap peas, grapes, and am now having dinner of chicken, cowboy beans, french fries, and cake. That should help a little!
I'll tell you more about PapaBear later.

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Posted: 21:42 04-03-2012 798
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