This hike, on August 29th, was really the continuation of Hike #27 moving south toward our link up with Hike #15 from back in April. Hiking from Bargaman Park south toward Blue Ridge Trailhead on highway 87, this hike would also be the end of the Mormon Lake / Flagstaff section of the AZT for Tom and I. Happy to see a 275 mile out and back section of the progress map turn green is an odd little aspect of hiking this trail that I look forward to. Moving the plan forward and making progress toward the larger goal is just simply awesome…..
Anyhow… I would like to note that there was a new addition to our hiking family on this hike. Jeep Jeep was purchased on my birthday a week or so back and I would like to say, he did a great job on the 4 mile dirt road out to Bargaman park Trailhead to start us out this 22 mile hike. Like I have mentioned in the past, up until now our hiking of the AZT has been somewhat contained to easy access road trailheads or tame dirt roads. The need for a 4×4 moving into 2018 was becoming more apparent to me as I layout out next years hiking schedule. So onto Cars.com I went and I found Jeep Jeep, a 2008 Silver Jeep JK 2 door with one owner and only 52k miles on him. I quickly made the deal and I would have to say am looking so forward to many offroad drives with him in the future.
Back to the hiking trail though, Tom and I set out where we left off in Hike #27 heading south. This hike was a slight fishbowl hike with a little bit of shark tooth hiking inside the bowl. Fishbowl hiking is down in elevation on the way out and up hill all the way back. Total elevation change was not hard. Only 3% and 1600 feet change up and down over 22 miles. The trail was nice and dry from the hotter weather of the previous week and with temperatures rising back into the mid 80’s by noon, I was starting to feel slightly drained. We pushed through the miles and put headphones and music on to past the time. The hike was nothing really special. With only one good view at mile 7, other then that, it was the typical trees, dirt road and cows. I would say the hike was a “Mile Maker” and by mile 10 I was toast. We took an early lunch and after getting recharged set out to find the turn at mile 11. A couple afternoon cloud moved in from the north and threaten to rain but no luck. They did though, to my benefit, covered up the sun from about mile 16 to 22. I call that cloud magic and I was loving it. With Jeep Jeep in sight, and the last 1.8 miles of the hike all uphill now behind us, I put it in 4×4 and off we went back home. The whole day, including drive time, being over 15 hours…. ouch.