I’m on the trail early. As I noted in an earlier entry, one of the perils of combining being a seasonal ranger and thruhiking in the offseason (or shoulder seasons) is that one must make oneself available for interviews in sometimes inconvenient times or places. I owe a park a return call at some point today. Based on the tip I received from a nobo hiker yesterday, I hope to have service at the East Rim Overlook about 2 miles south of my campsite last night. When I get to the overlook – a beautiful spot with a bench and picnic table overlooking a portion of the eastern canyon, with additional trails leading out to further views – I find I do indeed have service. I spread my solar panel out and hook up my batteries to charge given the open sky view here and charging opportunity, and make the call.
After doing my interview and taking care of some other business, I’m headed south again. Continuing south, the trail passes through more aspen groves, rice meadows, and mixed conifer forest, the latter increasingly spruce-fir as the rolling Kaibab slowly rises in elevation. Each displays the forest in a different stage – the rice meadows, areas most recently disturbed by something, be it a fire, severe wind, etc; the aspens, one of the pioneer trees to move in thereafter; and the spruce-fir/mixed conifer forest, the least recently disturbed.
It’s been a rough last few days with the wind and overnight temps, so upon reaching Crystal Spring I take a detour to Meadows Edge and the North Rim Country Store through some USFS roads and more aspen groves that continue to shine, meeting Roger and another thruhiking friend and discuss strategy and escape from the wind for a period. I then return to the trail and put some more miles in. Another 18 or so mile day in total, although not as many of those were on the actual trail as I might like (a fair number were getting to and from the North Rim Country Store). Still, I’m fairly close to the border between the Kaibab National Forest and Grand Canyon National Park.
Regardless, I should be at the North Rim tomorrow (about 15 miles away), Phantom on Thursday, SR on Friday, and on the trail to Flagstaff perhaps on Tuesday.
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 current thruhike of the Arizona Trail, at the time that I encountered a trail crew that gave it to me was one of the most memorable experiences on the trail. I have traveled, hiked, and cycled all over the US and many countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe as well.
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 150. 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.
I’m currently thruhiking the Arizona Trail, having started on September 21st at Lee’s Ferry and arrived at the northern trailhead on September 28th. Since then I have been heading south through “the land of Arizona, through the desert heat and snow, [along] a trail for folks to follow, from Utah to Old Mexico.” I will be sharing details and photos of my experience and all future hiking and cycling I do as well. I also hope to use this trip as a way to raise awareness for the Arizona Trail Association and the National Park Foundation. You can find each fundraiser on GoFundMe (links below). 100% of the proceeds go to the organizations in question. My typical pattern for a given trail is 50% to a national park organization and 50% to the organization that maintains the trail. I also donate all money that individuals give me on the trail to these causes, again split 50/50.
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