The Arizona Trail on Unicycle: Day 14, It’s My Birthday


 April 13, 2017

Camping at the RV park in Payson was nice, but we had to get to our next destination, Pine, by 4PM before the post office closed in order to pick up resupply packages. We were going to have to do some more wilderness bypasses again and wouldn’t be back on the trail until Pine. So, we got up extra early and rolled away from camp by 6:30. 

It was also the start of my last year in my 30’s. Next year will be a new decade for me, so I should make the most out of this current one, and riding the Arizona Trail is definitely a great way to spend my birthday. 

Our first mini destination was a quick stop at Starbucks inside a grocery store. I got a nice double espresso and some lemon pound cake. I had already eaten my normal oatmeal breakfast, but I was still hungry and grabbed a delicious breakfast burrito from the store. 

We quickly left down on a dirt road. At this point we could see other bike tracks in the ground from people who are bike packing the AZT and racing each other. The race happens every year, and we knew at some point the bike guys would start passing us, as they can do the whole trail in less than a week!

The dirt fireroad had some beautiful red rocks in a small canyon, and flanked by some trees. We were starting to get into different scenery; less traditional cactus desert and more high country tree lined desert. We’d pass through some streams running across the road and the riding was nice and fast for the first ten miles or so. It was great to be off the highway and away from all the cars. 

The dirt road also offered some fun close encounters with nature. I hopped off the uni at one point and started pushing up a hill. Jamey started making a commotion about a black snake rattling on the side. I went back and checked it out. Yup, a big fat dark rattlesnake was slowly meandering away in the brush. My first rattlesnake that I saw on the trail; Jamey and Rebekka’s second. Apparently it had started rattling at Jamey at the exact spot I had hopped off my unicycle! 

We had to go on some pavement for a short bit and start a downhill into a deep canyon. That wasn’t a good sign, as it meant we would have to climb back out the other side, and we could see some pretty steep and rocky terrain. The downhill was a dirt road the led to a bunch of small cabins and after we crossed a dry creek we discovered that this bypass was pretty tough. It was overgrown, rocky, hot out, and uphill. We had a time limit, so I kept on pushing through so we could arrive before the post office closed. 

Once we finally climbed out of the bushy canyon we hit the proper Arizona Trail and got to ride a bit before finally hitting Pine. Jamey had realized his package got sent to That Brewery, a local brew pub that would hold packages for hikers. I had my package and some brake pads from Amazon at the post office, so I branched off from them and rushed over. 

I hit the post office at 3:45 – 15 minutes before closing. They had my brake pads, but not my resupply package! I was a bit worried, but I called the brewery and discovered they had picked it up. If you are doing the trail just get your packages sent to That Brewery in Pine, Arizona. 

At the brewery I got my resupply package and we hung out a bit and relaxed. The Strawberry Blond beer was my favorite! The mac and cheese wasn’t so great, but it came with a fresh salad and my body had been craving fresh green food. It was a great birthday dinner, and the gang got me a slice of cake with some ice cream for dessert. 

The place was hopping with hikers. We met Two Liter and Top Shelf, a bearded man named John, a couple from Flagstaff, and one other guy. This also was the point that I realized people took upon pseudonyms for the hike. I don’t really understand the purpose, and I also never was too into the alternative name that people give themselves at Burning Man. Jamey, however, goes by the Unicycling Unicorn — but this is to promote himself as a performer, which makes sense to me. 

So after dinner and two beers we rolled half a mile away to the trailhead. This was the first time we got to see a large heard of elk crossing in front of us in the setting sun. We setup camp right there, and went to bed early, as it was starting to get cold. 



Today: 27.1 miles
Total: 340.5 miles  





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