Dave's Arizona Trail Through-Hike Log(updated regularly from the trail)
Dave Baker, owner and founder of Summit Hut, is a man extraordinarily passionate about the outdoors. This passion has brought him to far away places on some extreme journeys. However, one trek that has been on his radar for years is right here in his back yard. Growing up in Tucson, desert hikes have always been a favorite of Dave's. Taking that enjoyment to heart, In March 2008, Dave set out on a journey from the Arizona/Mexico border all the way north to the Arizona/Utah border, approximately 800 miles. He walked 38 days and had 17 "zero" days of rest during the 55 day project. Learn about his journey through the stories and photographs here on his Trip Log. The link below also provides a map with GPS waypoints from Dave's tracking system; the Spot (click here to find out more about this product).
Dave enjoyed writing this log so much that he has recently decided to give blogging a shot. Check out Trail Talk: Talking the Outdoors in Tucson, Arizona, to read Dave's thoughts on local trails, outdoor gear, Summit Hut news and industry happenings.
(May 14th - Arizona - Utah Border)
It isn’t politically correct for thru hikers to publicly admit these sorts of things, but the hot shower and soft bed at the Jacob Lake Inn felt pretty darned nice. In the morning, Jim and I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at the restaurant before driving back down Highway 67 to the trailhead. We said our goodbyes and I stepped into the woods and onto the last 28 miles of the Arizona Trail. I would meet Jim at the Utah state line after just one more night under the stars.
The last full day on the trail was a good one. Early on, I walked through the last, northern edge of the Kaibab Plateau’s immense Ponderosa pine forest. Several North Kaibab squirrels marked my progress along the forest floor. The day progressed, the plateau slowly lost elevation, the pine forest gave way to juniper and sagebrush, and the tassel-eared squirrels disappeared in favor of dozens of giant jackrabbits.
The Edge of the Kaibab Plateau
Looking north from the broad, shallow bottom of Orderville Canyon, I could see distant uplifted mountains and hills of orange and red sandstone. I knew these features were in Utah. The end was drawing near.
Near sunset, I stopped just five miles short of Utah. Camp was exquisite. It felt like I was a piece in a miniature bonsai garden; a very small person with a very small tent, set in the middle of a perfect arrangement of juniper trees. Every pebble, every rock around the camp appeared to be purposefully placed. I tiptoed carefully around trying not to disturb anything at all.
Darkness fell, and it became very, very quiet. Occasionally the distant cry of a night bird would fill my ears, and then be gone, utterly absorbed by the long silent night. I definitely had mixed feelings about being so near the end of the long walk.
Next morning I was up very early and took to the trail at a slow and leisurely pace. I lingered at my breakfast spot watching a small herd of horses graze a distant ridge off to the east. By seven o’clock or so, I came to a small rise, and looking down, could see the end of the Arizona Trail right where it hit the road head on the state line. I abruptly dropped my pack to the ground and sat down. I was not quite ready for the trip to end. I sat there for about two hours watching the countryside, especially enjoying the red and gold sandstone formations across the valley. Finally I spotted the dust cloud of a moving vehicle on the road below and recognized Jim’s white Denali. I shouldered my pack and started down, it was time to head home.
Dave at the Utah State Line. Happy Trails Everybody!
- Dave Baker
May 12th - 13th, 2008 - Detours
May 11th, 2008 - North Kaibab
May 10th, 2008 - Phantom Ranch
May 9th, 2008 - Grandview
May 7th - 8th, 2008 - Again Flagstaff
May 5th - 6th, 2008 - Snow
May 2nd - May 4, 2008 - Flagstaff
April 29th-May 1st, 2008 - Rest
April 27th, 2008 - Mogollon Rim
April 26th, 2008 -Walking the Mesas
April 25th, 2008 - Mazatzal Wilderness
April 24th, 2008 - Mount Peely
April 23rd, 2008 - Phoenix
April 12th, 2008 - Tucson
April 11th, 2008 - Leaving the Trail
April 10th, 2008 - 2 Bar Ridge
April 9th, 2008 - Elisha Reavis
April 8th, 2008 - Confused Again
April 7th, 2008 - Confused
April 5th, 2008 - Down by the River
April 4th, 2008 - Cholla Forest
April 3rd, 2008 - Blisters
April 2nd, 2008 - Deadfall
April 1st, 2008 - No Hurry
March 31st, 2008 - Pickles
March 27th-29th, 2008 - Pace
March 26th, 2008 - Walking an Aqueduct
March 22nd-24th, 2008 - Adventures of a Half-Mad Hike Supporter (Guest Entry from Jim Romer)
March 24th, 2008 - Cinnamon Hills
March 23rd, 2008 - Eye of the Beholder
March 22nd, 2008 - Coronado
March 20th, 2008 - The Day After Tomorrow We Start!