After my run at the Mazatzal segments I realized that I was going to need another trip or two to really refine my gear list. Also, I might as well kill two birds with one stone – I’ll be scouting the segments around Flagstaff.
The AZT goes around Flagstaff two ways – the “re-supply” route and the “by-pass” route. Essentially, leaving from Shultz Pass trailhead your options are to head east, around Little & Elden Peaks and crossing I-40 in east Flag. There are some rudimentary services within walking distance, and you might even be able to call an Uber or hitch a ride into town if you wanted to. The other trail heads west around the peaks, eventually dropping into Buffalo Park Trailhead. From there you can wander into town and live it up!
They both circle around the Elden family of peaks to finally re-connect south of Flagstaff at Marshall Lake. A few years ago I scouted some segments heading south from there, but oddly enough I hiked about 9 miles north from Marshall Lake on accident. A good friend of mine was dropping me off; we’d camped a few miles from the trailhead the night before. Anyway, I woke up super early, roused Cameron and we drove to the “lake”, the entire time the majestic San Francisco Peaks inviting me. When we arrived we must have gotten turned around because instead of heading south, I walked toward the peaks.
I was enjoying a beautiful hike, the entire time I was enjoying the views. It wasn’t until about Fisher Point that I’d realized my mistake and had to hike back. I’d blown most of the day, drank most of my water and expended a majority of my energy getting nowhere. It is what it is.
This fall I’ll be taking the resupply route through Flagstaff. I don’t think any other gateway town has what Flagstaff can offer with its shopping, hotels, dining and craft beer options. I’ll also be taking a zero day here . . . because of the shopping, hotels, dining and craft beer. I’m sure there will be other notable outposts of humanity that I’ll talk about after my trip, but for now Flagstaff is my most anticipated.
Anyway, back to the gear. Here’s a picture of the stuff I’m taking on this test-run. Some items may, or may not make it to my eventual kit.
- Tent: MSR Nook, 2-person. I’m only bringing the rain-fly and footprint; leaving behind the tent body.
- Sleeping Bag: Thermarest Corus HD Quilt
- Sleeping Pad*: Thermarest Neo-Air XTherm Long
- Cook Kit:
- MSR Micro-rocket stove
- MSR Titanium Kettle
- MSR Fuel canister
- Lexan spoon (it shows the fork and the spoon, but I’m only bringing the spoon)
- Oragami bowl
- Water Kit
- 2 x Platypus 2L collapsible bottles
- 1 x widemouth plastic bottle
- 1 x 100oz. Camelback Unbottle (I might switch this out for a bladder-only setup).
- Steripen Traveler**
- Solar Charging Kit
- Phone cord
- AA batteries (for the Steripen)
- Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus, with the AAA battery insert. The AAA batteries are for my headlamp
- Goal Zero Nomad 7
- Compass (I had a discussion with some tool recently about the merits of having a compass).
- Black Diamond Headlamp
- 20′ x 2mm accessory cord
- DeLorme InReach (I won’t actually be taking it on this trip, but I will for the thru-hike).
- First Aid Kit
- Trekking Poles
- Backpack (the heaviest thing in my kit): Gregory Whitney 95L.
- I’m also bringing a dry-bag for clothing, a trash-compactor bag for my sleeping quilt, and a pack cover to go over the entire thing. Nothing’s getting wet!
*You’ll notice a closed-cell Ridgerest. I carry this in addition to my inflatable mattress; it helps smooth out the bad rocks, acts as a seat, I can take afternoon naps without too much hassle and it’s great for kneeling down.
**I’ve used a Steripen before; I had the opportunity to enjoy water from an occupied cattle tank thanks to one. My hesitation about a Steripen is that, like many other water purifiers/filters it’s fallible. I don’t remember a time when SOMETHING didn’t go wrong with my water tool – except with the Steripen. We’ll see.
I was recently told that some friends are rafting down the Colorado River in March of next year; I might be able to go. So, needless to say I have a bit of logistical challenges coming my way in the next year . . .