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The Arizona Trail on Unicycle: Day 23, The Throwing Knife


April 22, 2017

We could still see the San Francisco peaks in the southern distance and it was amazing that we were by them just a few days prior as they had shrunk to a small size from our current vantage point. I woke up early and watched the sun rise as I had my morning coffee and packed up. We weren’t in a big hurry, as the day should only be about 20 miles or so, and we had read that it was supposed to be easy mostly downhill singletrack. 

Jamey got a 20 minute head start to get going to the reported bathrooms about 5 miles down the trail at the Grandview Trailhead. I had been packed and ready to go for a while, but Rebekka still needed more time to finish up and she didn’t have the cool Arizona Trail app to navigate by so I waited for her to finish up before we took off. 

The trail was still nicely ridable with lots of pine trees and gentle ups. We rode nearly all of it straight to the trailhead, with only one short stop to ditch our jackets. We hit the bathrooms and saw that Jamey had pulled up just a minute or two beforehand. 

The Grandview Trailhead had a large lookout tower that we climbed to the top of. This was the first good glimpse we got of the Grand Canyon that I got to see. It was a tad windy and cold out, so we didn’t stay on the tower very long, but I briefly got phone reception and received a few text messages. 

Down at the bottom of the tower we met a bikepacking family from Mexico. Mom, dad and three boys were doing the trip from Flagstaff to the Canyon and had actually heard about us unicyclists from some online forums and they told us they were our fans. We chatted with them a bit and they snapped a few photos of us before we headed back on the trail. 

From that point on it was all downhill and mostly easy riding. I stopped at one point to swap my brake pads. I should have done it in Flagstaff but I was missing two bolts for the replacement pad style and the local bike shop had on spare and a Cotter pin. I managed to make the Cotter pin work and it was nice to have new pads. The old ones were scraping as I rode and every time my wheel turned it sounded like the sharpening of knives. 

My brake pads weren’t the only things wearing away. My shorts developed a few holes from rubbing on the side of the unicycle — particularly the Velcro on my front pannier was just long enough to catch on my shorts. I’ll have to toss them after the trip is over as the waist band elastic is also wearing away. Lexi had warned me that I would wear away some of my riding stuff, and she was right, as she usually is! We hit town early at a bit after one and rolled straight to a pizza parlor to get a beer and relax. From there, I decided to break away from the group and get some cheese enchiladas at a Mexican restaurant (one of my favorite dishes) while Jamey and Rebekka went searching for free Wifi at Wendy’s.

Then we wanted to search for more local craft beer and headed towards a hotel that had a bar inside. It was a bit after 3pm and the bartender was just finishing setting up and whipped us out a few brews from the tap. We lounged around and caught up on some events with their free and fast internet. The bar keep was a fantastic chap; he offered to let us use his card key to get in the hot tub after we told him our story. Jamey later took him up on the offer that evening, while Becky and I went back to camp. But right about when I was to leave from the bar, the bartender came over and said, “Do you want to be my guinea pig?” He had a bottle of Grand Canyon Brewery’s pilsner that had come with a missing label and said he couldn’t sell it and it was all ours. Awesome — Jamey and I split it before I headed out. 

Rebekka and I decided to grab one more snack from the General Store in town. I got a pint of ice cream and sat out in the evening sun eating the whole thing by myself. I would have been okay sharing, but I was nearly done by the time Rebekka came out of the store with a few of her own snacks. I’ve missed frozen treats while out on the trail for so long. I also have missed my soft bed. 

Oh yeah, did I mention that I found a throwing knife? I was looking for a good spot to drop my tent and I saw it there sticking out of the soft ground of pine needles. Someone had missed their mark and couldn’t find the knife again. Throwing it and getting it to stick is quite hard; it turned out that Rebekka is our sharp shooter in the group. I filed this away in my mind in case we run out of food and need to start a little hunting…

 

Stats:

Today: 19.7 miles
Total: 552.2 miles  

Route:

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/956215287

 




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