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Off-Trail Heartbreak & Trauma (+ Bonus Mountain!)

AZT NoBo Miles 171–262.6

Hutch’s Pool to Romero Pass to Summerhaven to Oracle to Kearny

Day 9: Mt. Lemmon Day

17.9 miles: Hutch’s Pool to Summerhaven

Woke up super early. The dark sky and stars took my breath away.

Had a very difficult time finding the trail from Hutch’s Pool and ended up scrambling and bushwhacking through some thorny underbrush — ugh.

Began the climb with morning energy, optimism, and enthusiasm! Arrived at the Cathedral Rock junction where there were about 8 people camped out there still. A few were beginning to make breakfast and wake up. I felt good about my early start and being ahead of everyone else attempting the Mt. Lemmon climb that day. Hiking at sunrise always feels like a special bonus! The light is pink and perfect, the birds sing and wake up the forest, and I am usually the only human out and about savoring this special time of day.

I looked around at all the sleeping hikers and marched right through the camping area and continued up a very steep climb on a pretty well-maintained trail. It got steep and windy in sections, but I had expected the climb to be difficult. I was heading toward Romero Pass, which is a notorious wind vortex, and the climbing would be much harder after Romero Pass.

I finally got to the top (thinking I had arrived at Romero Pass) and was in pretty great spirits, proud of all the tough climbing I had just accomplished that morning in one push. I pulled off my gloves and looked at my phone map because the pathway up was unclear. I could only see a trail heading down the other side…

When I looked at the map I realized I was SO. FAR. OFF. TRAIL! I had climbed a totally different mountain!!!! (Cathedral Rocks!) This added an extra 2,600 feet UP to an elevation of 7,800 feet and 2,600 feet DOWN (back to the camping area). The bonus miles were steep on the downhill and my knees hurt. This bonus mountain added an additional 5-6 extra miles. :(

I BOOKED it downhill as fast as I could to try to recover the day. This day was already going to be a tough and long day since I had started 3 miles lower than everyone else. PLUS, I was worried there would be storms while I was on the exposed ridge area in the afternoons, and now I would be all alone up there as everyone would be in front of me, likely impossible to catch. This might mean my chances of getting up and over Mt. Lemmon in one day were improbable due to the now late start and the pending weather situation.

When I got to the junction where I had made the wrong turn, I realized I needed to calm myself down and reset. I fetched glorious mountain water and sat on a rock and ate a Bobo’s Bar. Bonus mountain. That’s what the trail wanted for me today. The trail was showing me how tough I was and that I can handle TWO mountains today, not just one. Okay trail. I hear you. Thanks for the confidence booster…I guess. Time to get my head clear of the frustration and press on.

I began climbing up the other side of the canyon up to the real Romero Pass. Checked the map every 15 mins to confirm I was on the correct trail.

When I got to the pass, I turned my phone off airplane mode and got a text from my sister saying they were putting down their dog, Kasha, today. WHAT?! I knew it was likely to happen this spring, but I didn’t know today was the day. It rocked me to my core and the tears just streamed out at that point. This news was utter heartbreak and sadness, even though it was somewhat expected news.

Romero Pass was SUPER windy, exposed, and cold. It involved quite a bit of hand over hand action and was basically vertical for 2 miles. It was slow going. I cried.

…Heartbroken. Gutted. Grieved Kasha’s last day in her physical body. Crying just writing about it….

I got to the top and felt emotionally worn. I felt Kasha’s spirit with me that day. Memories flooded my mind. The tears were random and uncontrollable. Grief is its own trail and I wished I could have been near family instead of alone fighting the wind on a cliffy climb. 

The top was like a magical kingdom full of crazy rock formations and streams. It was gorgeous, partly cloudy, partly sunny, and not too windy. The trail was difficult to spot in many places. I have pretty decent trail sense, but was second guessing myself a lot after so many bonus miles the day before and a whole bonus mountain that morning. Having my phone out so much during a more technical section of trail slowed me down quite a bit.

I was fatigued (felt like altitude fatigue at nearly 8k feet). 

I set a goal for myself to take a little Soylent lunch break at the next major water source. I was getting tired and was very much looking forward to the break.

When I made it to the stream, there was an other person there! I was SO thrilled to see human life! I  engaged in conversation with "Turkey," a college student studying accounting at ASU from Saudi Arabia. He was eating his last trail meal (PB and tortilla) as he was finishing his section hike at Summerhaven, the little resort town 5 miles from where we were. This hike was a training hike for him as he intends to tackle the CDT after he graduates and before having to return to Saudi Arabia.

We were telling stories at the stream when the clouds started to get dark and ominous quickly. We packed up and I threw my pack cover on (Turkey was so patient and waited for me). We hiked the next 5 miles together to Sunmerhaven. 

We walked through two different hail storms and it was pretty beautiful because the sun kept coming in and out while it was hailing. Luckily, the hail didn’t get us wet like rain would have, so we were grateful it was just small hail. However, weather like that can change quickly and I was a little on edge. It was nice to have Turkey’s youthful optimism and companionship while hiking through the inclement weather. He was grateful for my trail sense as I was able to way-find for us pretty easily when the trail disappeared (he kept veering off course). We talked sometimes, and other times just walked quietly together. 

When we got to Summerhaven, it began to hail in a dramatic fashion and started to turn to slanted rain and sleet. We took cover in the pizzeria and ran into all of Turkey’s trail-family there (they had all camped at the Cathedral Rock junction). Chris, one of Turkey’s friends, rolled in quite late! It turns out he had almost climbed to the summit of Mt. Lemmon (bonus mountain for him too!) but realized he was off course before getting to the summit and course-corrected.

The hiker gang was all nervous about continuing north of Summerhaven. Mr. Clean had hiked the AZT before (and the PCT) and warned that the next 7 miles were along an exposed ridge line. Another hiker from Colorado, Scramble, worried that the mountain had now seen two snow storms since the last comments on FarOut and if the ridge line was full of snow it could be very dangerous. The sun kept coming in and out, which meant unstable snow conditions. I had wanted to push on as it was only 3:00 pm, but the whole crew was vehemently against me going out to hike that section alone in the weather we were experiencing. 

Terminator and Dallas arrived a few hours later and splurged for a room at the resort lodge. The rooms there cost more than my entire hike investment, but at this point, my options were bleak. Some hikers camp out in the post office, but it only fits 2-3 hikers and I knew of about 4 who were already planning to stay under the fluorescent lights of the post office foyer. Camping in the wind and rain/hail wasn’t exactly an option up there. Some hikers were bailing to take a zero day in Tucson. I splurged for a room and arranged with Chris to leave at 6:00 am to hike the ridge line together.

I showered, called my sister, and cried some more about the loss of sweet Kasha Bear. I learned that Kasha had the absolute best last day she possibly could have, and was ready when it was time. Still, it hurts.

I went downstairs and ate a gigantic salad with hummus that I couldn’t finish (and luckily Chris was able to help eat some of it, but even he couldn’t finish it either!) Chris and I enjoyed a lot of conversation and it was nice to have companionship.

My room had a gas fire which I kept on all night to enjoy the aesthetic and heat!

Day 10: 26 miles

Chris, who I renamed Head Strap, (because he uses a strap around the crown of his head to help support his pack weight), and I left for the ominous snowy and exposed ridge. We left Summerhaven to head down toward the town of Oracle. 

As we began, the sunrise and views stopped us in our tracks to take pictures. We continued on wondering, “is this the exposed ridge? Where is the snow?” We probably stepped in snow five times in one little patch across the trail and the rest of the ridge was 100% dry. There was no wind, no clouds, and it was an absolutely gorgeous morning. I was glad I didn’t try to attempt this in the bad weather yesterday, but there was certainly nothing to be fearful of as the conditions were beyond fine. During some steeper climbs I ended up putting some space between Chris and I and eventually ended up dropping him after the first few miles. I found myself cruising on the downhill and feeling excited to have the toughest section (I think?) of the AZT truly behind me. 

I could see the town of Oracle from the ridge and jogged some sections of the downhill. I finally approached the blue blaze alternate trail, which takes hikers into the town of Oracle, and at that junction decided to take the urban route, shave off a few miles, and hopefully get some electrolytes and a moment off my feet and out of the sun in town. I flipped on my phone and realized I had some cell service and called Osprey and my dad.

I was able to arrange with Osprey a new pack delivery! Hallelujah! I love Osprey’s lifetime warranty. However, the pack wouldn’t be in Arizona for another 3-4 days and I would need someone to pick it up for me at the Arizona Hiking Shack in Phoenix and bring back my old pack for them to send back to Osprey.

I arrived in Oracle, and went to the market/café. Because I was arriving on a Tuesday, the café portion was closed, which was probably a good thing because I might have stayed too long. However, the market was upscale and full of delicious options, including pints of vegan ice cream! I opted for a homemade corn and poblano salad and a coconut water. I could not finish the corn salad, so I packed out half of it, knowing it would make a delicious snack or addition to my dinner that night. I was able to charge my phone and sit on the floor for about 15 minutes and then began the 2.5-3 mile highway march back to the dirt road.

I used the ease of road walking and cell service opportunity to contact multiple trail angels in the Phoenix area to see if someone could help me out with my pack exchange. Lee, a trail angel in the area, responded that he could pick up my pack and ride it out to me on his mountain bike Friday. I was elated! But I still had 100-ish more miles with the broken pack and the collar bone bruising and chafe was especially tender at this point already.

When I got to the dirt road, I was a little bit panicked because I did not see the water resupply cache. I wanted to fill up my water at the market, but the worker said their pipes had broken and they were unable to fill my water bottle there. I had a few sips left, but I did not like leaving civilization for good without a full water supply. This next section is notorious for being much dryer with longer water carries. I called the Oracle trail angel and and she explained that the resupply for water I was seeking was actually behind me, but that there was another one at the next trailhead which was in 1.3 miles. I could definitely make it 1.3 miles on the dirt road so I marched on.

I arrived at the water supply cache and met two older women who were section hiking this next passage. Their names were Mary and Pika, and they were very experienced and sweet companions to chat with while I took off my shoes and socks ate the rest of my corn salad with some Fritos and filled up with about 3 L of water for the next 12 miles, (including making dinner and a Soylent in the morning). Most hikers carry around 4L for these 12 mile stretches. 3L is 6 pounds, which adds VERY noticeable weight.

I rested at the trailhead with the ladies for quite some time and finally decided to push on as I wanted to beat sunset since my camp spot would be near a wash. 

About 2.5 miles later I laid down on the side of the trail and elevated my feet on the top of my pack when Young Blood showed up. We chatted for a minute and he left me feeling encouraged about not needing to always arrive at camp before sunset. He mentioned how he had spent a few hours in Oracle, and still had 8 miles left to hike that night. 8 miles! That’s a lot, he will get there so late! I only had 4 more miles left in the day. He wasn’t going to hike fewer miles just because he took such a long break midday and he told me about how much he likes night hiking. His carefree attitude inspired me, and I was able to shed some of the hurried feeling I had about getting to camp before dark. I also don’t mind night hiking, so why was I rushing so much to get there in the daylight? I think part of the reason is that I have some insecurity about my electronics running out of power since my battery pack seems to not be holding a great charge. I am trying to be mindful of my headlamp battery life and night hiking, setting up camp, and cooking all in the dark would use up quite a bit of my headlamp battery and I didn’t want to run out of that if I could avoid it.

I pressed on, and finally arrived at my destination, set up my tent, cooked some ramen, and promptly passed out. It was cold, and my feet and body ached throughout the night, causing me to toss and turn, but I was able to get some solid sleep, better than the night in the hotel! Now that I was down at much lower elevation, (around 3,000 feet instead of 7,000 feet).

Day 11: 27.8 miles

Woke up early and passed Young Blood still sleeping. He was cowboy camping (like many hikers do out here). Cowboy camping means sleeping under the stars with no tarp or shelter at all. It saves about 3 pounds, but the thought of not having a barrier between my body and the elements and wildlife doesn't seem worth the weight savings! I have experienced a few nights of rain already and heard a story about a hiker who was cowboy camping near Mt. Lemmon and was bit in the head by a rabid skunk and nearly died as it took him so much time to get help. NOPE! I’m super grateful for the protection my tenty offers me each night.

I took one short water break at about mile 12, then hoofed the next 8 miles in the heat of the day without stopping. I pushed through a lot of pain and just kept looking forward to the next stop which would have a shade structure and a rain water collection tank! I figured faster walking and fewer breaks would mean less time and therefore less water needed for these longer water carries, and thus a lighter, more manageable pack weight.

By about 2:30 pm I had clocked 20 very hot miles. My feet were so sore I was on the verge of tears when I finally arrived at the rainwater collection tank. I hung up my tent and rainfly to dry as I was tired of carrying the wet weight. I plopped down my sleeping pad and put my feet up on the table. Even elevating my feet hurt! Everything hurt. I felt so fragile. I wanted to curl up and cry. I made a few moral support phone calls and finally began to feel a bit more calibrated as I ate a bar and had moved beyond the torture of elevating my feet.

Then, I got the most jarring video sent to me. It was a video from the guests I had scheduled to stay at my condo that day of everything completely turned upside down in my apartment. Someone had broken into my condo and thrown my stuff EVERYWHERE. I had spent months reorganizing my space for my departure so guests could stay there while I was away. Luckily, I had stashed my laptop, passport, checkbook, wallet, and bike at someone’s house, but I suddenly started to wail. I felt so helpless, violated, and scared in my already vulnerable state. I felt I needed to get off trail right then and there to go home. My dad reassured me there was absolutely nothing I could do but keep walking and get to the next town. 

As I was unraveling and falling apart, Young Blood showed up to the trailhead. My first in-person human interaction of the day. He helped me off the ledge and told me he would probably be freaking out worse than I was. I tried to hold it together. I used the adrenaline surge to pack up, fill up with a bunch of water, and clock 8 more miles on the day for a 28 mile day. Young Blood was only going 5 more miles and ending his day at the “best gate on trail.” I had considered doing the same, and I would reassess my energy when I arrived there. 

Side note: there are many gates on the AZT and they all have slightly different locking mechanisms etc. The hikers on FarOut leave comments about each notable gate (some average, some amazing, and some horrible). The gate comments comprise my late night tent reading as they make me laugh out loud sometimes. I doubt they seem that funny to anyone else, but there are gate icons on the app many times throughout the day, so it is commonplace to look forward to getting to the next gate.

I hiked with a purpose leaving that shade structure and water source. The next 5 miles flew by. All I could do was process the robbery. I had just replaced my front door lock to have a combination key, but didn’t replace the back door… when I get home that will be the first thing I do. I made some calls to my mom, dad, and Jeffrey who were all helping play detective and helping my guests pivot. The guests stayed at my parents’ house that night (omg thank you!!!!) and my mom became fast friends with them. Jeffrey hung around and spoke with various neighbors and in speaking with the HOA president he learned that a homeless man had been sleeping at the pool that morning and had to be escorted off the property. More than likely, my back door had not been locked by the cleaning lady earlier in the week and my first floor unit with the lights off was an easy target. Everyone reassured me that they didn’t think anything was actually stolen, as an iPod, my TV, and my car + fob were still there. However, EVERYTHING had been thrown about my entire unit, scattered in totally random places — laundry detergent in my desk and a TV remote in my bathroom (but the Apple TV remote stolen)… I received more pictures and couldn’t even look at them. (I discovered later that all my suitcases and backpacks were stolen and stuffed with a lot of my belongings and gear totaling around $10k worth in loss). 

This off-trail drama was a huge distraction and allowed me to pound away at miles mindlessly. But this wasn’t the kind of headspace I needed to be in (or wanted to be in) while out there. 

I finally called it quits about a quarter mile before my intended destination as there was still sunlight and there were nice flat spots for me to set up my tent.

Day 12: 20.4 miles to Kearny

262.6 total miles hiked

I woke up on my own to the sound of the first bird chirping at around 4:45 AM. I slowly got out of my tent as I needed to pee and realized my tent and rainfly were soaked from condensation. No wonder I was so cold!

I packed everything up, and began my morning miles with a pep in my step. All of my previous ailments seemed to have disappeared, and I was feeling quite optimistic and lighthearted, knowing there was nothing that could be done about the off-trail trauma from yesterday. I soaked up all of the wildflower goodies that showered the sides of the trail and knew I had about 9 miles until the first water stop. I told myself that would be my first legitimate break and I would dry my tent out at that spot. I had shed the initial fear that consumed me yesterday, and knew all I could do was appreciate the moments I had out here. I kept my phone on airplane mode and hiked with energy that morning. 

I passed four SOBO (southbound) hikers this morning! I was surprised to see so many going the other direction. One girl I spoke with described how her solar battery charger was not working and I started to feel nervous about my new solar charger I would be getting in Kearny. My biggest anxiety thus far has been conserving my phone battery life as my power bank seems to not be holding much of a charge and my phone battery seems to be draining pretty quickly. I lose about 30% each night with my phone on airplane mode in my sleeping bag. My power bank hasn’t even been giving me two full charges. Once upon a time on the AT it could charge an iPhone 7 times and I was even able to share it for a week and liberally use my phone for navigation, photos, music, podcasts, phone calls etc. I was never worried about conserving battery to this degree. This hike was very different and I had to be mindful of when I could listen to music or even jot down my notes so as not to drain my phone battery. I was leery about the solar battery now, but at least I would have double the power bank supply.

I finally arrived at the first water stop and it was about 9:30 in the morning. This water was incredible as it was piped in from a spring nearby and flowed easily out of a spigot from a blue collection tank. I found a shade spot in the wash, and set out my tent to dry. I put my sleeping pad out, took off my socks and shoes, and elevated my feet on top of my pack as I reapplied sunscreen and snacked on a Bobo’s bar.

As I began to pack up, I realized my rain fly was still about half wet and decided to make some adjustments in how it was hanging and give it some more time to fully dry as I had already stopped. I waited another 15 to 20 minutes and did some research for my upcoming resupply spots as well as read the comments of the trail markers ahead to learn where good camping and waters spots would be and try to add them to my working spreadsheet to build out my next 100-mile plan. I still did not quite have it figured out for how I was going to make up my lost day, but I figured it would need to happen in the last half of this trip. 

I find the hardest thing keeping me tied to scheduling is that I am trying to arrange my client calls when I am in a town, but each town stop seems to be a moving target, depending on how my body, the weather, and the terrain are. I’ve had to reschedule a few calls, and luckily the students have been flexible.

Leaving the water, I plugged in headphones and listened to some music. I realized I was going to have about a 3 mile climb and found music helped me maintain a rhythm in my climb cadence. The climb was much bigger and steeper than I expected. There were a lot of switchbacks. As I continued, I realized I was summiting a mountain I had been looking at for a few days off in the distance, and wondered if I would be going around this mountain or climbing up it. It turns out, the climb went nearly to the summit. 

During my mountain march up, I passed an older gentleman named Hans. I was moved by his effort for the moments I walked behind him before the switchback allowed space for me to pass. Seeing someone his age out here doing what I am doing brought me immense joy and hope. There are so many older people hiking the Arizona Trail and I am constantly in awe by their strength and resilience. I have seen more people in their 60s and older hiking this trail than people younger than me.

As I reached the highpoint, I was completely taken aback by the beauty of the views. The ridge walk was absolutely spectacular! There were so many wildflowers, and the new vistas were remarkable. I was entering a new landscape. There were many mountains in my future. I ate a chocolate peanut butter Larabar, which I do every day, and it felt heavy in my stomach and made me feel lethargic and tired. I tried to drink electrolytes, but they weren’t going down easily as my stomach was feeling a bit uneasy. I didn’t stop to take many pictures during this section as I was pretty focused on maintaining a pace and getting to Kearny early, so I could do all of my town chores and still carve out time for two work calls and to finish grading my economics term papers, which I had mailed to Kearny. Juggling work and thru-hiking is too much. I will not do that again. It feels like neither is getting my full attention and it is an added stress on top of just staying alive which makes the hiking feel stressful.

As I began the steep descent off the ridge, my knees and feet were aching so badly. I couldn’t get my pack to sit comfortably on my hips, and that stinging, piercing, pinching feeling in my hips caused me to unbuckle my hip belt for a few miles. This put a lot of stress on my collarbone, which is already bruised and chafed from my wonky right shoulder strap. I arrived at a wash and saw a small shade spot and decided to take a break and eat some salt. I was feeling nauseous and unable to get the rest of my electrolyte drink down as the sweet taste did not feel good in my stomach at all.

As I lay there, elevating my feet, feeling them throb, a female SOBO section hiker passed me with her dog and we chatted for a little bit. She was carrying a pistol in the front of her hip belt and was asking me so many questions about how I felt safety-wise out here. I told her I felt safe, and that my family was watching me closely with my GPS SPOT tracker and I was an experienced hiker. She asked me where I started, and I told her at the Mexico border. She then asked me if I was scared being at the border, and I was truly dumbfounded. “Scared about what?” She replied “I don’t know, immigrants?” I chuckled and told her I was definitely not scared of immigrants and she quickly changed the subject.

That interaction stuck with me and I wished I had been in a clearer mindset (not laying in the dirt) so I could have taken the opportunity to dig in further with how bigoted she was regarding immigrants. This is xenophobia really bothered me and I wish I had said more.

As I got up to pack my bag, I realized I had plopped down without my sleeping pad and what looked like a grassy-ish section of the ground was actually full of thorny things. I had a back and butt full of all sized cactus thorns that I then began to methodically pull out one by one from my shorts and skin. The smaller thorns stuck in my actual skin were nearly impossible to take out and I pulled my shorts down and began plucking those out as best I could. Not being able to see and not having my tweezers anymore made this chore a bit tricky. I was kicking myself for sending home my tweezers, and promised myself next time I decided to sit on the ground (or lay on the ground), I would put my sleeping pad down to prevent this type of mishap. I put on my pack, and of course there were thorns in the back of my pack as well as in my back, so I began to try to pick those out as well. These little cactus thorns pricked and poked at me for the rest of the day, but I knew a shower with a good exfoliation, would help get the tiniest thorns out later that day. 

I continued to descend toward Kearny with a few steep inclines in the heat of the day. I felt absolutely destroyed. My feet hurt so much. My motivation seemed to have completely vanished. I began to think about perhaps slowing way down or even quitting the hike altogether. I was so low energetically and tired.

Of course, I know never to make decisions on a bad day or during a bad moment, but it was hard to imagine throwing down big mile days to make up for my lost day. Would I be able to finish the trail still in one piece physically AND have a good time along the way? Seemed increasingly unlikely.

I dropped my pack when I couldn’t take one more step in the partial shade of a saguaro cactus, laid my sleeping pad down and begin my foot elevation routine. I looked at FarOut and realized I was only 0.2 miles away from the first of two trailheads where I could exit for the town of Kearny. It was only 2:00 pm, so I knew I should probably hike 2.2 more miles to the further trailhead, but I had absolutely nothing left in me. 

I called my dad, who chatted with me while I nibbled on a lemon Bobo’s bar and took a nice long break. After the break, I was re-energized and no longer feeling nauseous and was able to drink some water and find a strong rhythm to carry me up and over the next hill to get to mike marker 262.5 where I would get picked up and brought into the town of Kearny.

It’s incredible how a short break of 30 to 45 minutes along with some water and nutrition can make a world of difference both physically and mentally. My pack was no longer hurting, and while my feet ached, I was able to walk at a reasonable clip with motivation and ganas without much trouble. 

About five minutes away from the trailhead I called Ryan, the pizza guy in town who gives rides to hikers, and the person that answered the phone told me that Ryan had just stepped out to go to the store and to try calling back in 15 minutes. When I got to the trailhead, I didn’t have cell service so I continued along the road a little bit until I was able to get one bar of LTE and call the pizza place to ask for Ryan again. Ryan was there and said he would be there to pick me up in about 15 minutes.

I dropped my pack and waited in the shade when another hiker, Base, showed up. Finally Ryan the Pizza Guy arrived and we both threw our packs in the car and went to town. I was dropped off at Que‘s house who generously opened up her home to AZT thru hikers even though she wasn’t home! Apparently Que her and her husband bought this home specifically to be trail angels, and they sometimes reside elsewhere as it is closer to work for them. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude in the kindness of total strangers out here. Even though I felt violated from my condo burglary, my faith in humanity was restored with this simple act of extreme generosity and trust. They welcomed a bunch of smelly strangers into their space; a safe haven from the elements and a place to resupply. 

There were two other hikers there when I arrived and I began to look for my packages. I quickly realized my packages were not there, and one of the hikers directed me to the neighbor across the street, 80-year-old Dorris. Dorris and I took a little field trip to the post office and luckily it had been delivered to Que’s PO Box and was there waiting for me! Dorris’ spry spirit was a total inspiration as she is “just getting back into camping.” AT EIGHTY!

When I got back to Que’s house, I began laundry, took the shower of a lifetime, took two work calls, called the family, and sorted through my resupply box. I had so much extra stuff due to shorter days and the snacks/meals I ate in Summerhaven and Oracle. I created a new resupply box to send ahead to Pine out of all the surplus of supplies I was looking at. I soaked my tired and very sore feet in warm water and epsom salt in a ziplock baggie (one foot at a time), stayed up way too late working on finishing my grades and my new hiking schedule. I slept on the floor of the exercise room at Que’s house. It was so nice and warm!


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