The Arizona Trail on Unicycle: Day 18, You Didn’t See the Mountain?


April 17, 2017

Yesterday we were about 5 or 6 miles short of our riding goal, and on this day we were already planning on about 25 miles. So that meant 30+ miles all on the trail so we could remain on schedule. And we did it!

But we had to start a bit earlier. So I got up at 4:50AM and started my usual routine, except I opted for 3 oatmeals in preparation for the long day (and extra strong instant coffee). I somehow had an extra two oatmeal packets from a breakfast that we did in some other way one day. The plan was to carry a little less water and have me leave a bit earlier so I could start filtering water while Becky and Jamey caught up. I could then pass off the filter to one of them, since we were down to only two filters and wanted to save some time. So I got about a 20 minute head start and went off. 

It was cold that morning, and I debated riding with my long johns for a while. Instead I sucked it up and put my regular shorts on over my riding and shorts and knee pads on to keep my legs warm. The trail started with some up and down singletrack; some ridable and some I was more prone to walk. A heard of elk passed in front of me at one point, and I started to see some funny looking mountain squirrels. At first I thought they were bunny rabbits, due to large ears, but they ran with superb agility and had a huge gray fluffy tail and slightly red back with the rest a light gray. 

Jamey had read some user comments about good clear water going across the trail. The user comments on my Arizona Trail map were not updating, so I had to go off the info Jamey told me. I hit a spot with a trickle of water across and thought that a nearby spring shown on my map was the source. It was 0.2 miles from the trail, so I ditched my uni and started searching for it. I was just about to give up when I found it; but I wish I hadn’t. The water was barely a half inch deep in spots and didn’t look that great. So, I passed it up and headed back to my unicycle on the trail. Only I discovered it was hard to find the trail and ended up way further down from my uni and had to backtrack to pick it up. Rebekka caught up with me right then, and I told her the water source sucked. She took a break and I continued down the trail to discover the source people were commenting about; but of course… it wasn’t on my map and was a surprise to me. So, I filled up a liter and Jamey and Rebekka rolled up and also got about the same. We had a water stash in 10 miles and didn’t need too much water to make it to there. 

The past few days were a let down for riding ability and we really needed to get our spirits lifted with some solid unicycle time. The trail finally gave us a lot of long and rideable singletrack. Some parts were even smooth and slightly downhill, making for some fast riding action. We picked up our water stash, took some short breaks, and rode a lot of the trail. It was a great feeling to get the miles going by, and it meant we would probably hit our desired campsite at about 30 miles of riding. 

Jamey even managed to ditch his empty glass beer bottle and some trash off along the way. We ended up at a closed camp area, and he cruised down a bit further to a ranger in a truck that let him toss his empty into his truck bed. Lucky guy! Rebekka and I had to carry the bottle and our trash till the evening.

Back years ago the logging companies in the area had built some cheap railroad tracks to harvest lumber with. We saw some cool old indications of it; higher ground, stacked rocks, and rotting old wood pieces used to support the tracks. 

We were coming close to Flagstaff, and I was concentrating hard on the riding. I had another fall that put a crack in he JB weld on my handle, so I was being extra cautious and careful with my riding. Eventually I stopped and chatted with the others, and they asked if I saw Mt Humphrey, the 10,000′ peak by Flagstaff. I disappointedly had missed seeing it in a clearing due to me concentrating so hard on riding!

That was alright, because a few miles later we got plenty of views of the Mountain. It meant we were getting close, but the terrain turned a bit rocky and we had to end up walking. It was flat, so the pushing was easy, but my foot was getting sore and Rebekka was having some muscle pain in one leg. We ended the day wth off and on riding and got to the site (and another water stash) by a bit after 5:30PM. 11 hours out riding and hiking. 

At the end we met a guy camping in his RV by our site. Jamey hit him up for beer (no luck) and I asked if he could do us a favor by taking our trash. He obliged nicely and even grabbed an old bag for us to fill up. I think between me and Rebekka we pulled out at least a pound of waste that we were carrying. 

The next day will be on to Flagstaff — hopefully with a short 10 mile ride. 



Today: 31.7 miles
Total: 440.8 miles  




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