April 10th-16th, 2021
From Lake Roosevelt to Pine turned out to be my second(nothing beats the Grand Canyon) favorite section of the entire trail. Unfortunately, I took fewer pictures during this stretch as I was attempting to conserve battery on my phone. Both the Mazatzal and 4 Peaks wilderness areas are places that I’d like to revisit in the future.
Along this section I started to experience much more forgiving weather. Up at 5000 ft. the temperature was pleasant, even cool when the wind blew. I was very thankful to be done with 90 degree days in the desert!
On my 29th day on trail I made it to the halfway point. After nearly a month on trail my body was feeling really good. I’d settled into a rhythm, and was super excited for the adventure ahead. In spite of the long stretches of trail through burn areas, it was really starting to feel like I’d made it out of the desert. Patches of juniper covered the Mazatzal wilderness, and I even camped under ponderosas one night!
The Mazatzal Wilderness didn’t disappoint when it came to wildlife. In one day I saw 10 horny toads(horned lizards). Most of them were pretty tiny, like the size of a quarter, with a tail. The largest one I saw was about the size of a dollar bill. As you can see in the photos their camouflage is amazing. Rather than run when I encountered them they would freeze, which made for some decent photo opportunities. In addition to horny toads I spotted javelinas, road runners, a gopher snake, and tons of birds!
I ended up camping just 4 miles outside of Pine. The following morning I had a quick hike into town. The short road walk went quickly as I was motivated by the huge breakfast awaiting me at The Early Bird. Approaching The Early Bird, surrounded by the relative hustle and bustle of Pine, I couldn’t help but be self conscious about my smell. It had been 10 days since my last shower(at MJ’s in Superior). In the end my motivation for food outweighed my momentary stench awareness! I went around the back of the restaurant and changed into a less dirty shirt. Now feeling like a new man I entered the restaurant where I joined up with several other hikers for a breakfast feast. The service was amazing and our server was more than willing to ignore our smell(no small feat) while treating us like regulars. The coffee flowed freely and we enjoyed heaping portions of eggs, hash browns, pancakes, and biscuits with gravy. So good!
Thanks to friends and family I was able to splurge and get a fancy cabin for a couple nights. I started things off with a shower and then a soak in the jacuzzi tub. Thank you!
Welcome to Pine!