SWH – Stage 6 – South Rim to Pine (AZT)

Distance:  258 miles (415.1 km)

Start:  South Rim, Grand Canyon, AZ

Finish:  Pine, AZ

Time:  10 days (March 22-31, 2012)

Daily Average:  25.8 miles (41.5 km)

Total Distance:  951 miles (1530.2 km)

Highlights:

  • South Rim:  Couldn’t resist putting in a few extra miles at South Rim. One incredible vista after another! It was here that I parted ways with Mike, who along with his newly arrived fiancee, Genna, was heading back down into the Canyon for another three or four days. I continued south on the AZT. Awesome hiking with you, mate! The Hayduke wouldn’t have been the same without you!
  • Wildlife: After a dearth of fauna on the Hayduke, one of the coolest aspects of the AZT was the regularity and diversity of wildlife sightings. Huffing and puffing javelinas, rumbling herds of elk, the melodic sounds of songbirds in the morning and my first bear sighting since the Florida Trail last December.
  • Mormon Lake: Spent a zero day enjoying the wonderful hospitality of Chris Parish (head of the California Condor Restoration project  at Vermillion Cliffs) and his family at Mormon Lake. Fantastic food, great beer (I’d almost forgotten how much I liked Negro Modelo) and most importantly excellent company, all made Mormon Lake a perfect choice for a break from the trail.

Lowlights:

  • Postholing: Wading through snow in the San Francisco Peaks section north of Flagstaff. Considering that I passed through in late March, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

Notes & Musings:

  • Arizona Trail:  The AZT is a recognized National Scenic Trail and generally speaking is well marked and easy to follow (much more so than the Hayduke and GET). During this segment I made do with the Arizona Trail Association’s 1:119,000 Pocket Maps, in combination with their excellent Water and Data Charts. All of these items are available at the AZTA website.
  • Favourite Desert Hikes: Wandering through the southwest of the USA, my mind occasionally drifted to other desert hikes I have done over the past two decades. Here is a list of my favourites (before doing the SWH):

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