I was a highway man, along the coach roads I did ride; with sword and pistol by my side. ~ The Highway Men (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson)
It’s the eve of my 10 day shake down backpacking trip, in preparation for my hike of the AZT. I’m “joining” a friend on his through hike. I put “joining” in quotations because I’m not really going to hike with him. In fact, I’ll probably only see him at the beginning trailhead. If I see him again it’s because he will have taken a zero day.
I’m scouting 7 segments of the trail. From passage 22 starting in Sunflower through passage 28 that ends at the junction with the 87 on top of the Mogollon Rim. It’s only 110 miles and I’m doing it in 10 days; plenty of time, I hope. From what I hear the segment over the Mazatzals are brutal – the scrub brush is overgrown and there is deadfall all over the place. The Arizona Trail Association (ATA) is planning a work party for a week in May to clean it up so it should be beautiful by my big push. But not this time.
There is one segment that I’m very excited to see though; it’s a segment JUST on the other side of Pine, Arizona. I helped build a couple mile segment that made it easier to get off the Highline. There are a few segments that I worked on by my lonesome and I think they’re beautiful. I wonder if they held up.
I’ll be sure to take photos of the trail as it is now. The trail will change, however – it always does. I read somewhere that there are very few original segments of the Appalachian Trail. Over the years it’s been diverted or modified in some way. So, while I’ll be hiking this particular segment now, it’ll be completely different my next time. Same, but different.
I guess that happens to the people that walk it as well?