AZT Day 34: Not Quite Pizza

Monday, October 29
Miles: 24.2
Starting/ending: 498.2-522.4
Camp elevation: 1749 ft

Last night we decided for an early start. My alarm goes off at 5. I snooze once. Then deflate my pad, make coffee and ramen, pack up. The sunrise is beautiful. I head onto the trail ahead of Tarek and Andrea. The next few miles of desert is gorgeous. It’s shaded for a while I take many pictures. Eventually I listen to podcast.

Tarek and Andrea catch up to me right before the first water at 12 miles at the Gila River. 100 yards off-trail to the river. It’s chocolate brown and looks just like Yoo-hoo. We filter and eat lunch. I carry 2L with me. The trail parallels The Gila River for the next 10 or 12 miles. I’m ahead again. A cow scares me when I startle it and it makes a loud noise and runs away. Mid-afternoon we check in and filter water again. Shade break and get another 2L. It’s hot in the sun but thankfully there is a little cloud cover. This is the lowest elevation of the entire Trail.

I’m in the lead again. I listen to podcasts: Revisionist History, Reply-All, Dirtbag Diaries. Maybe we’ll hike into the night to get to the spot where they will deliver pizza outside of Kearny. But maybe we’ll stop at the Eastgate where there is a campsite and water but not quite pizza.

At 5:15 I wait at the Eastgate for Tarek and Andrea. They arrive after a few minutes and they’re beat. We’ll Camp here. Not quite Pizza. I could have rallied if I had to but my feet are exhausted and I will surely survive on my trail food. I think I have too much food anyway so it’s nice to lighten my load. Tarek and I get water. We have to bushwhack under the train bridge. The bridge is making weird noises and it’s kinda creepy. Water access is mucky but we manage to not fall in. We pick up our chocolatey Yoo-Hoo Gila River water and bring it back to camp where we filter. I set up my tent and cook dinner: bare burrito, warm skratch, and Snickers for dessert. I feel like I ate a ton of food today but I have to lighten the load somehow. I write. Listen to a podcast in my tent. And plan for the stretch ahead. 61 miles to Oracle, we’ll probably be there Thursday night. Sleep.

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