Having taken a flight from Bellingham, WA to Las Vegas, Nevada, Stacey and I immediately took a shuttle to St. George Utah and spent the night in a motel awaiting our 800 mile journey across the diversified state of Arizona.
It took only five hitches from St. George to the beginning of the Arizona National Scenic Trail at the Utah - Arizona border. Two other hikers that we were soon to meet said that it cost them over two hundred dollars to hire a shuttle to take them to this northern remote terminus. It was dusk when we arrived at the threshold of our newest quest.
Our first day out on the actual trail was September, 17th 2014.
Pinyon pine forest alternated with sagebrush meadows leading into a higher plateau of ponderosa pines. The next morning on our way into Jacobs Lake for a breakfast meal we noticed some dense smoke in the air. Thunderstorms had surrounded us in the last few days.... but the fires were however man-made in the hope of cleaning up the forest floor.
Reason number one for hiking the Arizona Trail in the Autumn versus the Spring months is that the temperature ranges experienced on route through the entire state is comfortable and moderate.
Hikers going northbound in the spring often run into residual snow north of the Grand Canyon.
Another great reason to hike southbound beginning in September is to witness the Aspens changing colors.
Fragrance perpetually fills the air.
Flowers and mushrooms too begin their seasonal proliferation.
Spacious and open meadows in the Kaibab Plateau greet us frequently on our journey to the East Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Only subtle ups and downs have been experienced so far. The relatively level walking helps one to quickly get into long distance hiking shape where 25 miles a day becomes a graceful endeavor.
Water on the trail for us seems abundant. We never had to carry more than four liters of water each between quality water sites. In all honesty, if one was willing to drink out of any cow tank or random puddle, one could easily carry only one to two liters of water with them at most times. There are of course a few exceptions... but we carried more water than we usually needed.
At the border with Grand Canyon National Park we could hear the wild bison crashing below us through the brush and the downed trees as the lightening and thunder struck in the near distance.