This hike starts out of the Vineyard Trailhead north of the bridge at Roosevelt Lake. Tom and I were happy to welcome back on this hike, Eric (my nephew) from his 5 month successful thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. 2200 miles, Way to go Eric!!!!!!!
If you recall the Vineyard trailhead from hike #14, it is a quick drive from Phoenix up the 87 and on highway 188 just before you reach the bridge at Roosevelt Lake. Nice car parking.
Setting out this time south, we crossed the bridge and proceeded up an aggressive 14% grade. Having fresh legs and a cool morning, we barely noticed the incline. Wanted to make this hike a quick 1/2 day venture due to hiking friend Tom’s needing to be home at 2:00pm, we planned for 15 miles, 7.5 out and then back. I knew on paper this hike would be a bit of a up and down… shark tooth hike, but in reality it was a lot of ups…. mile 4 being the worst. Coming out of the little tree covered area next to a water tank, you can see the jeep road, which is a lot of this trail, going straight up, and that is where you’re going…. up up up. No switchbacks to save you. It was a true knee pusher. At the turn, 7 miles – had to cut it short for time, the weather was still cool and after a quick standing snack back we went. I have always said the downs are just as bad as the ups and actually more dangerous. This hike back was no exception. Eric even slipped on the 14% downhill grade coming back, landing snack on his back. Being the awesome thru hiker that he is though, Eric pulled from Tom and I at about mile 9 and blazed a trail pushing… what I would guess was over 4mph. Then the Arizona sun came out in full force and sent the shade temperatures near 100 degrees. Still having some tough ups and down on the way back to the car, Tom and I both struggled. We had been hiking so much up in Flagstaff with good temps and flat trail, we were actually very much dying on the last 2 miles. Panting, gulping water and breaking every .10 of a mile. The site of the road and bridge could have not come soon enough. This was really a tough little hike for us…. although Eric found it humorous and was quite bored waiting at the car for us “day hiking” AZT wimps to finish.