AZT Day 10: Cows and Roads

Friday, October 5
Miles: 24.2
Starting/ending: 145.7/169.9
Camp elevation: 6909 ft

I wake to my alarm at 5:45 after a good night’s rest in my tree nook. Make coffee and pack up. On trail by 7am. Eat my breakfast grits while I walk.

Today is flat. Dirt roads. Cows. More flat. More dirt roads. More cows. (I stopped counting after the 30th cow, but I’m guessing I saw a hundred or more.) Snack. Water. Dirt road. Cows. Podcast. All the cows are brown with white faces and short horns. The babies are brown or black. They all look at me skeptically before fleeing at various speeds. Eventually I’m at the water tank of a ranch where I climb the tank ladder and scoop up a liter to make it the next few miles to the Cedar Ranch trailhead. The hills ahead look like cinder cones (a variety of lil’ volcano).

After more dirt road and more cows, I’m at the Cedar Ranch trailhead where there are 3 people. I gather it’s 2 hikers and a trail angel spotting a car. I fill up on 4L of bottled water at the cache. Say hello. The hikers are starting in Flagstaff and hiking north, I’ll probably cross paths and see them tomorrow.

Hike on – you guessed it – more dirt roads. More cows. The rocks here are volcanic. That explains the cinder cone looking hills! Slight uphill. Podcast. The vegetation is dominated by scrubby little trees through here (Utah Juniper?). I don’t like that vehicles can be on the roads/trail here. At 5:30 I pull off the trail and find a secluded spot away from the road, in another nook of trees, and with plenty of pine needles to keep my air mattress from being punctured by the jagged basalt fragments that litter the landscape.

Set up my tent. Cook dinner. How is it that I always manage to pack 3x the necessary amount of coucous? I eat what I can of my dinner and save the rest for breakfast. I hear a vehicle on the road! I’m glad I pulled off when I did. Read. Write. Restless sleep.

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