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Sageclegg - Grand Enchantment Trail Journal - 2009

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Sage Clegg-Haman
City: Bend
State: Oregon
Country: USA
Begins: Nov 17, 2009
Direction: Westbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sun, Nov 29th, 2009
Daily Distance: 2
Trip Distance: 4.0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 830
Journal Visits: 1,206
Guestbook Views: 103
Guestbook Entrys: 7

Grand Enchantment Trail Map

Home- YIPPYYUCK. Misery meets Happy meets turkey

After ruining my knees on the first day of the Grand Enchantment Trail, then hiking for another 4 to reach Safford, I decided to end my hiking season and return home for a day of eating turkey, hanging out with family, and being inside for the first time in months. Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone and the days between being on the trail and off have grown to a week I feel like I am sitting in the bottom of the trash can my step-cousin-in-law cooked a turkey in a few days ago. I look up and see a round window of light, but don't know what to do with myself. Walking is hard right now- messed up my knees pretty good on the GET- and it takes me at least a block of walking to warm up to more than a hobble. It feels so strange to move slow and with pain after so many months of motion- just 15 days ago I was practically jogging down the trail to Mexico, and here I am getting my daily exercise on wii fit in a livingroom in the bayarea. Haven't even been outside today... Ok enough with the pitty party already.o

The Grand Enchantment Trail: WOWOWOWOW and Cow. I hiked from Alma to Safford via Eagle Creek. The day I spent wandering down Eagle was one of the highlights of my whole hiking season. I felt like I was on a rafting trip with all the fords (50+) and eating lunch on a sandy, sunny river bank. The only thing missing was the pringles and the rollout table- and other people of course. Maybe my 5 days on the GET seemed so glorius because I had to work realy hard to be there. My knees crapped out on the 18th (my birthday) and I had about 80 miles to go to get to Safford. The following 80 miles were pretty pain filled, but the extra challenge seemed to wipe the window clean and let me see amazing beauty in even the most overgrazed and barren places. The trail itself was amazingly hard to find and follow, providing me with a constant navigation challenge, which I LOVED. I kept thinking again and again that this trail was the most engaging and fun trail I have ever hiked.

I only saw two people in the five days I was out, but was not loney at all. I hardly listened to my ipod, where on the PCT I was plugged in for at least 8 hours a day. The difference was my brain had to be working constantly. Even when I could find the trail the tred was unpredictable, and I never knew if I was going to miss a junction or walk past a water source. Reading the maps was like reading a really good book- a fine work of liturature meets choose your own adventure. The GET has been trampled by cattle and ignored for years- maybe since the 70's? but somehow all of these ancient trails, cow paths, and jeep roads meet together and led me through canyons, mesas, and mountains of extreme beauty. Most of the changes we humans have put on this landscape haven't been able to alter the underlying truth of vast wild desert- But some have. The Morrenci mine is a HUGE hole in the ground to the east of the GET, and it was hard to ignore the terraced pink and brown dirt, the two-story high dumptrucks, and the sound of copper rich rocks being hauled and smashed and bulldozed. I was ~2 miles away as the crow flies from the big pit and could hear the mine loud and clear-- wierd to be alone on a juniper covered hillside on my way to pictograph covered bluffs and isolated springs and look out to see something you can see from space.

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Grand Enchantment Trail - 2009

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