Wednesday 2 May 2012

Arizona Trail 2010 - Part 6, Pine to Flagstaff

After a relaxing day in Pine it was back to the trail and my first and only rain shower in 6 weeks. Fortunately it didn't last long and soon we are back to normal. Todays section takes you along the Highline Trail and onto the Mogollon Rim.

Before reaching the rim is a 10 km ramble along the lower edge. The forests around here are also in a bad way from fires and storms. These trees have been weakened by fire then snapped like twigs in storms.

Once on the rim its all pretty flat except for a quick descent down to East Clear Creek, which needs to be forded. Last night was very cold and dropped down to -5 Celcius. A heavy frost is visible on the sheltered far bank. 

Then it's a steep climb back up the rim and a nice easy hike on tracks nearly all the way to Allan Lake. Bumped into GT again today and she was having problems with her GPS, which had failed, and teeth, which had cracked. She was not having a good day and was heading to Flagstaff as quickly as possible to get things replaced and repaired.

I had arranged to meet Kimberlie at Allan Lake the following day and we would hike together to Flagstaff.

I took an MLD Monk tarp. Here it's pitched as a lean-to making full use of the nearby trees for centre support. A tent would have been an overkill and simple tarp shelter like this is perfect for the AZT. Normally I didn't even pitch the tarp and just used the bivi for bug protection.

For most of the hike I used Esbit fuel with a Trail Designs Ti-Tri ULC. I like muilt-fuel stoves like this which could also be used with alcohol or wood. As a wood burner and, with a narrow pot like the MLD 850, it's not the quickest way to boil water but is another option should you run out of your primary fuel.

From Allan Lake to almost Flagstaff is generally flat and easy hiking. Today was particularly blustery but otherwise hot and sunny. Here we are near Mormon Lake with the San Francisco peaks north of Flagstaff just visible.

The highlight of the section was the hike through Walnut Canyon on the resupply route to Flagstaff. Two routes are described in the guidebook, the first bypasses Flagstaff and the second goes right through. Flagstaff is a lovely large town with plenty of character so I would recommend a visit if you have time. It also has the only outdoor gear shops on the route and it was here that I replaced my foam mattress with a therm-a-rest Neoair.