March 8, 2021
Woke up around 6am and laid in bed for a while so as not to wake Ghosthiker. When it got light enough to see, I looked over at the other bed and realized my hiking partner wasn’t even there! She’d snuck out while I was still asleep, and I’d just been laying there the whole time! So, I got up and immediately made myself some coffee. Because priorities. I doctored it with some local honey to help with the dryness and allergies, and it was delish!
Once I felt relatively awake, I sent a text to Ghosthiker letting her know I was up and she should feel free to come back to the room anytime she wants. We ate some leftover muffins that she picked up at the bakery yesterday and then headed over to the Gathering Grounds coffee shop just down the street from the hotel for a real breakfast. We ran into lots of hikers there, including Sam and Joe Dirt, as well as some new-to-us hikers named 8Track and Deacon. Ghosthiker thought she was one of the oldest hikers on the trail but apparently 8Track is older, so that seemed to brighten her morning a little!
After a lovely breakfast, we picked up our resupply boxes at the post office and took our loot back to our room. I was heartbroken to find I’d forgotten to pack a razor in my Patagonia resupply box. Oh well. Harry legs are the hiker way! At least until the next town stop. I pilfered some extra Ziploc bags and instant coffee packets from the hiker box in the lobby (yay!), then we checked out of our room at 11:00am. We enjoyed a light, early lunch at the hotel restaurant, where I got a delicious guacamole appetizer with chips so yummy I asked for more and put them in a Ziploc bag so I could take them with me. Tortilla chips are my one weakness. (＾▿＾)
As usual, my bag feels ungodly heavy after a big resupply, but at least we aren’t going far today. None of the stores here had anything even remotely close to Leukotape or KT tape, which was disappointing, but Ghosthiker got some climbers tape in her resupply box that she was kind enough to share with me. Honestly, a mobile business like Two Foot Outfitters would probably do well on this trail, I should think. We’ll see what Vail has to offer.
We’re meeting so many hikers out here! It’s pretty cool considering I wasn’t expecting it. Turns out Pulp Fiction and Thumper are hiking together and sharing a lot of gear, so it’s no wonder they’re so fast! Thumper is in her early twenties and I think Pulp Fiction is like 30, and with lighter packs, they’re really flying. Makes me feel a little better, I guess. 35 isn’t old, but when everyone seems to be going so much faster than me, it certainly feels old. Eh, it’s whatever.
We left town around noon and hiked several miles along a mostly flat dirt road that wound away from town and into the hills. Around mile 58 a retired couple named Dean and Jeannie, who were off-roading in a nice pickup truck, stopped and offered us some water from jugs they were carrying. Dean was wearing a Samaritan’s Purse ball cap, so we chatted for a bit about that. I used to do a lot of volunteer work for Samaritan’s Purse, and it was nice to meet a fellow volunteer in the wild (literally).
The clean water was especially awesome, because the next few water sources out of town were super sketchy cow ponds. Guthooks said there was a stock tank near mile 60 but we certainly never found it, though not for lack of trying. We wasted a lot of precious time meandering around off the trail looking for it. Oh well.
Toward the end of the day we did end up stopping to fill up at one said pond out of necessity, and after two rounds of filtering, the water wasn’t bad at all! We collected enough to dry camp and hiked another few miles until we found a really great, well-established campsite at mile 61.7 just off the trail, complete with fire pits and lots of clear, open ground for pitching lots of tents. We kind of expected other hikers to show up and claim some of the empty spots, but no one did.
One of the interesting things I’ve found on the AZT is that Guthooks has no markers showing where the tent sites are located. Sometimes people will leave comments at different points, which is definitely helpful, but there are no specific markers for tent sites. Definitely a change compared to the PCT. That’s alright, though. I’d rather have to search for somewhere to camp than search for water.
Dinner tonight is a packet of BBQ chicken I also pilfered from the hiker box at the hotel, a packet of tuna with mayo, and those delicious tortilla chips I packed out from the hotel restaurant. I’ll knock back some casein and peanut butter powder for desert before I go to bed.
10 good miles today. (＾ｖ＾)