The Arizona Trail on Unicycle: Day 20, Hungover and Where’s My Chainsaw?


April 19, 2017

Not a fun day. My four beers and a few shots of Whiskey caught up with me. I’ve rarely gotten any sort of hangover as I’m pretty careful on how much I drink. But the day before I didn’t have much water and replaced it with beer. I knew I was thirsty, and I thought that craft IPA would be good enough for my body. And a few swigs of whiskey with a cool through hiker sounded good at the time. But by the morning I was having trouble keeping anything in my stomach. 

Jamey had gotten a fancy pants coffee at the espresso place around the corner. Lexi had told me that Macy’s had great coffee, so I decided to go get a double espresso and see if it would kick the hangover away. I walked up to the counter and placed my order with the barista, and he started chatting with me, since I was decked out in my cycling gear. I must have looked like absolute hell, because even before I told him what I was doing he said, “I got it” to the cashier and paid for my coffee for me. What an awesome gesture! I was feeling so terrible, and it was uplifting to have him do that. 

I went back to grab some free breakfast from the hostel and drink my espresso. Usually I love the stuff, as I am a daily drinker of it at home with my own shiny little Italian machine. But I waited till I had some food in my tummy before downing the coffee, which was a mistake, as my stomach couldn’t take it and it came right back up a minute later. I was stalling most the morning getting ready, and finally I told my fiends, “ok, lets go” after that happened. I couldn’t eat or drink, and it was about 8AM when our plan was to leave a short bit after the 7AM breakfast. Oh well.

We went to the grocery store on the way to the trailhead to get some snacks for the next 5 days in the wilderness. Everything looked unappealing to me, and I was incredibly grumpy with the world. My head pounded and my stomach churned, but I bought what I needed and grabbed a yogurt to see if it would stick inside me. That turned out to work, and it was good to get some food inside of me. 

Jamey and Rebekka road 6 miles of trail while I took a 3 mile road shortcut to relax. The road was fast riding, even at my glacier slow hungover pace, and I relaxed at the trailhead for about an hour waiting for my friends. This is where my new durable camp mat got its first use; I rolled it right on the rough ground and rested right by the trailhead until they appeared. I started to feel a little better, but I opted to take the fireroad for 3 more miles while they did the slower/harder Trail. 

We met up at the creek; I was there first and squeezed some water through my new filter for the next 10 mile stretch, and headed off as soon as Jamey caught up. They also had to filter water, and I could ride at my own pace up to a further point on the trail. At this point I had eaten a few more things and my strength was returning, but I still didn’t feel that great. 

So I rode ahead on the trail. It was relatively ridable singletrack that flowed through the pine trees with some gentle climbs and descents. There were still some scattered rocks around but nothing too terrible until I got a pedal strike and it sent me flying down to the ground. My unicycle was unscathed but landed completely upside down and stood upright with the wheel in the air thanks to the big pack supporting it. I wasn’t so lucky and got a nice side scrape on my left hip, nicks on my shoulder and a big welt on my leg. It wasn’t too bad; just mild pain. 

The trail was not quite as ridable at this point it started climbing uphill a lot more as we approached closer to the base of Humphrey’s Peak. 

Then we hit the logs. Numerous large trees had fallen across the trail. Some were recently alive pine trees, oozing a sticky blood of sap that instantly blackened your fingers if you happened to touch it. Others were old dead trees that had given up the ghost and finally fell down. Some were small rounds directly across the trail at a perpendicular angle, and others had falling online with the trail, forcing you to balance a heavy unicycle on top. 

All of them were incredibly annoying, and all I could think of is, “Why don’t I have my chainsaw?” Even if the trail was ridable we would have to hop off after a short bit to cross the logs. A glance in the distance up trail would reveal another fallen tree across it, so we frequently wouldn’t remount and would just walk to the next tree to get around it in some fashion. There were at least 40 or so trees to cross; I wish I would have kept track of the count. 

Being in Flagstaff at high elevation also meant snow on the trail. We passed through four or five large patches on the trail. The snow was slushy, melting and the runoff was starting to drop down the trail. It was hard to push through; sort of like thick sand, and our shoes started to get wet. I had decided to bring flat bottomed Vans for the adventure. They work great for riding, and can breath a little bit, but they are terrible at keeping water out and aren’t really meant for hiking in. 

Eventually I stopped to relax a bit and Rebekka caught up. We headed on and stopped outside where we thought our water stop would be and waited for Jamey. He was just a few minutes behind, also suffering from a slight hangover, but not nearly as bad as I previously was suffering. He even drank way more than I did!

We traveled left off the trail to find a small man made pond. A few ducks were quacking away in it, and the water was clear. We had some cast open views on one side, and a view up the mountain on the other. It was also early, around 4:30 instead of the usual 5:30, but we were all glad to have a shorter day and more time to relax and watch the sunset. 

As a bonus, I had phone reception and got to chat with my beautiful girlfriend and tell her about my hard day on the trail. 



Today: 17.4 miles
Total: 470.9 miles  




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