Hi all, welcome back. So this hike was originally only planned as a 20 mile hike meant to push our trail venture north from hike #25 in the area between Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon. The area of the trail is actually on the Historic Babbitt Ranch and is all road walking. Bring something to cover your mouth like a handkerchief or bandana since you will encounter some car traffic and dust clouds. On this hike we had to do a little out and back and then out and back… what I call a flip flop to pick up where we left off a couple months ago. From the Cedar Ranch trailhead, which is a tame 4 miles drive on a dirt road off of highway 180, we set out to hike 2.5 miles south and then double back to the car and then hike up trail to the north until we got tired and then back again. The morning was cool and for the most part of the hike it was overcast skies and cloud cover. If you’re going to do this section, try to plan for a cool overcast day. This area is barren of any trees or shade what so ever and at the higher elevation the sun can cook you quickly, even at 75 degrees. Wear a big shade hat is all I can say…. see my section of this blog on headwear for more info. Anyhow, we pushed the small south leg and made the connection pasting back by the Jeep at mile 5. Feeling good and having the advantage of time and a flat trail, we just kept on going….. and going……and going… and going. I knew since this was a trail pusher, a section that is the farthest up the AZT we have yet gone, it would be best to keep going as long as we could and also find a turn around that could be reached from a future day hike distance coming back south to connect us. Mile 15.5, at a group of powerlines and a jeep road was the perfect stop. Lunch break and a quick rest and back the 10 miles to the Jeep we went. This was a hike that headphones and music are a must. Passes the time and since… you’re really just walking… there is no need to pay much attention to the hike itself. The last hike, #29, you were constantly having to watch every step and turn but this hike was put it on “auto pilot” and just space out. Tom likes to listen to a “learn Spanish” tape to pass the time on these type of hikes.
Ok….. so I am going to bitch about the last two miles like always. I mean number one, they always suck, you’re tired and for the most part you want to see the car and be done. This hike was long, actually the longest we have done yet and as chance would have it, the sun broke through the clouds and just cooked us. Being the afternoon the sun hit that certain angle and we both tilted our hats to the right, picked up the pace and kept praying for sight of the Jeep. All in all, and to stop sounding like a wimp, this hike was not all half bad. It was about the flattest grade you’ll find on the AZT and for the most part the weather was awesome. The view, even though flat and boring at time, were really amazing and we even caught our first sight of the north rim of the Grand Canyon.