I’m running low on battery in these canyons with extremely limited solar power to recharge. The day starts with a flight of bats flying down the canyon. After that exciting start, I decide to hike up to Slide Rock and then turn around and hit Buckskin Gulch. Just past the confluence of Paría Canyon and Buckskin, I run into a friendly guide named Jeff who gives me one of his battery packs. (When I later tried to return it, I’m told by several others who encountered him that he said I could keep it, that he was heading out but was happy to give it to someone who needed it!). Trail magic is awesome.
Leaving my pack at the confluence of Paría Canyon and Buckskin Gulch, I scout the east end of Buckskin. The only potential issue I encounter is the major boulder jam or “Rabbit Hole.” I use a rope to get up and over it and continue on, meeting more people hiking through Buckskin (most people do Buckskin and the Northern section of Paría as a two day hike, entering at Wire Pass and exiting at White House). I wind up ending at the middle exit, where I gain satellite service with my Garmin inReach and I’m informed of an expression of interest and potential interview with Organ Pipe at 4:30. I try to call but there’s no cell signal, so no luck. I doubletime it back to the rabbit hole in an effort to get to White House and get service. The rope is gone. Talking with Jim and Tim, two others who I crossed paths with on the way out and met up again on the return, I identify an alternate path across. I get back and pick up my pack for about 1/2 mile and then abandon it when it’s clear it will prevent me from making it.
When it becomes clear I won’t make it at all, I reach out to inform them that I tried but can’t make it. As it turns out, they are having phone issues so we reschedule to next week. I give some local advice to Tom and Reagan and head back to camp near the confluence for the night. Tomorrow I’ll head through Buckskin toward Wire Pass, and from there to the actual AZT start at Stateline Campground.
I’m Chris, or as I’m known on the trail, Aspen. My trail name comes from the aspen foliage that I hiked through in northern Arizona on my thruhike of the Arizona Trail. I have traveled, hiked, and cycled all over the US and many countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe as well. I have traveled to 44 US states and numerous countries across each of these areas.
I write about the hiking and cycling that I do across North America as well as my visits each of our 419 national parks; I aim to visit each one. My current total is over 170. I also work as a seasonal ranger, so feel free to ask me anything about a park and I’ll happily share any advice I may have on that park so you can have an enjoyable visit.
My most recent thruhike of the Arizona Trail started on September 21st at Lee’s Ferry and arrived at the northern trailhead on September 28th, and Mexico on January 9th.
In between, I hiked south through “the land of Arizona, through the desert heat and snow, [along] a trail for folks to follow, from Utah to Old Mexico.”
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