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City: Salt Lake City
Begins: Mar 27, 2018
Date: Tue, Apr 24th, 2018
Entry Visits: 439
Journal Visits: 4,389
Guestbook Views: 65
Guestbook Entrys: 8
Arizona Trail Map
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my last Arizona sunset for a while
I have made it to Flagstaff! And, I can happily report, I am offically fully vaccinated against rabies! I made it to my appointment on time, and I didn't even need to hitch, I just walked here. cool.
That is the good news. The bad news is that I'm getting off trail to go to my grandmother's funeral. There's still about 200 miles remaining of the AZT, and as much as it pains me to depart from what I consider to be my second home, family is more important than my little self-indulgent vacation. Sadly, by the time I wrap up family business back in Minnesota, I'll only have a few days left before I need to head back to work - not enough time to knock out these last miles. Thus, I'm postponing the remaining section until later on.
Hopefully I can come back in September before I head off to the Peace Corps, and triumphantly complete the hike! Boy wouldn't that be fabulous. It's also possible that it's not something I'll get to for quite a while - and that's okay too. There's this sort of strange stigma towards section hiking within thru-hiking culture, which I've never understood. I rarely encounter hikers who vocally denounce section hiking (there are VERY few, but they exist, grr), but I think many hikers can relate to the feeling that there's this unspoken pressure to make it all the way through the hike without breaking it up. I certaintly felt this on the PCT, and feel it now on the AZT, but the thing is, it's actually HARDER to leave the trail than it would be to continue north to the border. And I think anyone who's been in a similar situation would agree. However, people say you learn far more from your failures than from your successes, so it's a nice lesson in humility. Thru hiking is not the most important thing in the world, and in fact there are many more important things out there.
Conveniently, in this last section I was dealing with a flare-up of my Morton's Neuroma in my left foot, so this is a good chance to rest up and not make things worse! A mortons neuroma is essentially a growth in a nerve within the ball of your foot, and when it's bad, it feels like a burning hot pebble is wedged between your toes with every step. Glad the AZT is pretty isolated, because I bet I looked like a fool limping for many many miles from Pine to Flagstaff. It was the worst! I swore a lot.
It's a bummer that so much crap piled on during this last section because it was a stretch I think I would have found really pleasant had I not been crying and limping so much. The trail was generally cruiser, with gorgeous Ponderosa pines greeting me at every turn in an intimate environment unlike anything the AZT has brought me through so far. Less expansive views, but the frequent herds of elk, cool temperatures, and relaxing atmosphere of the plateau made up for it.
I want to give a shoutout to everyone I've met on trail so far, since I'm peacing out. Everyone has been the best kind of person I could imagine - so kind, so generous, sacrificing their time/money to help me out when I've needed it. The AZT has been a bit of a trainwreck for me, but all the people I've met on this trail have made it the best trainwreck ever!
Sorry for the long update and rambling thoughts. It's been real, Arizona. Catch you on the flip side!