Daily Miles: 15

Total Miles: 426

Another really tough day on the trail. It took us 12.5 hours (including a few short breaks) to go 15 miles. Ugh.

When we got up this morning it was surprisingly warm out and the sky was mostly blue, with a few grey clouds. That was probably the warmest we ended up feeling all day.

The trail in the morning was slow going as we made our way down to a paved state highway. The sky seemed to constantly be changing from blue to grey and back again. It got really cold and we all ended up adding on layers to keep warm.

We tried to keep a steady progress, since the miles were coming pretty slowly. The usual culprits of downed trees and old, unclear trails seemed to take up time. By the time we stopped for lunch, we had almost 9 miles in and thought we were on track for doing the 16 miles we planned for today.

We had some nice miles right before and after lunch, but then we got into the Raspberry Creek drainage and things got considerable more challenging. The basic way things went this afternoon was that we would find a bit of trail, follow it, then it would end and we would be searching around for the next bit of trail while still trying to make forward progress. Then we would find another bit of trail and the process would start over and over and over…for hours.

Then, to make the situation even more challenging, the grey skies turned into a thunder storm and we got a downpour of rain for a bit and then several hours of drizzle. Given the cold temperatures of the day already, we were basically three walking popsicles.

The going was very slow through Raspberry Creek, but finally we got to a point where we climbed out of the drainage and got on a different trail. This trail was awesome and the perfect way to end our challenging day. The trail was in great shape and well-marked. And the views we got from the ridge were some of the best we’ve had since the Sedona area. Just fantastic!

We took our first possible campsite after miles of barren hills. It was already 6:45pm and we knew we didn’t have a ton of daylight left. We are all beat and ready to get warmed up in our sleeping bags. We are excited to get into the tiny village of Blue tomorrow. Even though there are no services (other than a post office), Mace will be picking up a new pair of shoes and we sent ourselves some extra Indian dinner packets to eat. Yum!

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