AZT Day 16: Elk, Deer, and Mormons! (Lake)

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Thursday, October 11
Miles: 2.1 + 1.1 bonus miles
Starting/ending: 253.0/255.1
Camp elevation: A bed!

I wake around 6am to off and on rain showers. Elk chatting. Make coffee and get ready slowly, delaying having to walk in the rain. Coffee. Rehydrate a cereal-dried pineapple thing which is not very good but it’s warm and food! Pack up. On trail around 7:30. Muddy trail. There’s quite a bit of clay around here which turns the mud into a powerful and slidey muck.

Elk! Then deer! Then more elk! And more deer. And a big herd of elk with three bucks. Man. I see probably 50 animals. Wild. The rain really isn’t bad. I slowly walk the 2 miles to the trail junction that will bring me to Mormon Lake. At the junction I turn left toward Navajo Spring. The cinder block troughs at the springs are full, but there’s only a mile left and I continue on. A group of four are packing up camp when I come across them. They’re NOBOing a section to Flagstaff.

I have service and send some messages. I do not need a ride from Melody back to Flagstaff – vertigo not that bad. I confirm that I’ll link up with Mary and Daniel (M&D). They’re a few days behind, so I’ll be waiting. The waiting part may not be super exciting, but hiking with others instead of solo sounds pretty good. I hike the last mile into “town” (an RV park with small store and restaurant). I splurge on a cabin for the night and figure I’ll play it by ear from there (after that, pay to camp? Camp in the woods? Find my way back to Flagstaff? Go explore somewhere? We’ll see. I have a few days to fritter away). I pick up my resupply box and a care package from Brenda (thanks Mother Brenda!) It’s still early – 10am – so I hang out at the small table in the store to wait for my room. It’s cozy and warm inside. In contrast to the cold and rain outside, I am happy to wait. Drink a juice. Coffee. Instagram. M&D didn’t get the package they were hoping for, so it’s going to be another day – probably 4. It’ll be tough, but I think I can wait it out…

I skip my noon anti-dizzy meds and feel slightly more spinny. My room is ready at 1 (3 hours early!) Shower. Pack explosion. Organise food. Tidy. Postcards. Texts. Calls. Listen to podcasts. Scope out the laundry. Etc. Fritter the day away… Phantom is at least 1 1/2 days ahead, she’ll make it to Pine before the Saturday thunderstorms. Weather is looking pretty rainy for the next 4 days, the worst of it being Saturday. This 4 days of waiting is either well timed or will turn into 5 or 6 days off…

It’s ramen for dinner. (There’s a restaurant but first I must eat the excess backpacking meals!) Tea. Do my vertigo exercises (head tilting sequences). A thrilling evening. Eventually sleep…

2 thoughts on “AZT Day 16: Elk, Deer, and Mormons! (Lake)

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