February 20, 2019

7-Mile Hike to Wear Me Out

I was prepared for a heavy snowfall but wasn’t sure how I’d do confined to my teardrop for a couple of days, so I decided to go out for a 7-mile hike so that my body would be ready for a rest. Being a native Michigander I knew how to prepare for a heavy snowfall. I was staying at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood, Arizona and predictions were coming in for 8-10 inches. I went to the ranger’s station and extended my reservation, because I knew I didn’t want to have to haul my trailer out through the mountains in snow. I took my propane tank into town to get it filled even though it hadn’t yet run out and I stocked up on food.

I was all stocked up ready to be snowed in for a couple of days 24 hours before the snow was to begin, but I had an entire sunny day ahead of me to enjoy some hiking. I chose a 7-mile loop up through the high desert of the Coconino National Forest adjoining the state park. I had hiked up and back on about 2 miles of the first leg of the loop a couple of days before and knew that the trail was well maintained and relatively busy with other hikers. I studied the map and let two of my children know by text which trails I was going to be following and when I was leaving. My bag was packed with some food and two bottles of water. I had my cell phone and good hiking shoes. I pondered whether I wanted to take my winter coat and wisely chose to bring it along.

I had a lovely day. I loved how the landscape changed with different plants and rocks as I walked up and down the trails. The mountains in the distance changed appearances based on the location of the sun and clouds that passed overhead. It felt so good to me to be strong and capable and able to enjoy the fun of the trails.

I followed the trail for about 8 hours. I frequently stopped to take pictures, eat, drink, or just enjoy the scenery. During the middle leg of the loop I never ran across another human being and I thoroughly enjoyed the solitude. I also was grateful during this stretch of trail for my winter coat, hat, and gloves. The last mile felt rather long as I was beginning to feel the fatigue, but I made it back safely and knew that a forced day of rest was going to be exactly what I needed.