As I had planned, I finished the missing segment of the trail in modest solitude, ending at the S. Kaibab trailhead, on my birthday, a trail head I have now rushed to beyond my physical capability TWICE, and set off FROM with great expectation TWICE, for a total of FOUR Arizona Trail S. Kaibab Trailhead experiences. And there was not even ONE popsicle. And so it is officially and in all integrity finished. It’s really over. Really really over. I have finished every little bit of that trail. I did it. It’s done. All of it. Finished. And what a beautiful last little part.. I expected to be bored,hot, and bugged out. Living so close to it, I’ve driven to the Grand Canyon enough times to know that there is nothing but continuously agitated flats of dust and cows and man-eating sun exposure on that land. I didn’t KNOW, simply because I had never walked it before, that there are hidden little ponderosa forests and hills and oak trees and ravines and people on Carlos Casteneda runs out there. I didn’t know. What a precious surprise. I really enjoyed myself, without that ambience of over exhaustion and oatmeal toxicity that had hallmarked other sections of the trail. And I also had quite a little celebration at the end.. out for an incredible meal.. drank a bit of red wine… a lady had asked me what I had been doing and I started to tell her… pretty soon other people were listening in.. and before I knew it I was the rockstar of El Tovar with a rapt audience of people in gaping awe that anyone would do such a thing….One teenage girl there asked me, “Did you do it alone? Really?”.. to which I responded, “Well,yes I did … until… one day I met a tall blonde man …” and then proceeded to swoon her open little soul with a story … the most romantic love story ever told by someone covered with dirt and elk poo… It was a wonderful evening…
I’ve done alot of thinking about all of the people that really bent over themselves to help me with this journey… Of course there will be a post dedicated to them.. but for now, I want to offer the wonderful characters at the Arizona Trail Association an oath.. an oath that they can print out and place upon a topo map and have all new users of the trail utter before they set off on their journeys.. and it’s called..
WE, THE USERS….
Upon this topo,
We, the users of the Arizona Trail, hereby swear to walk upon the trail, whenever we can find it, with reverence and gratitude, to close all gates behind us, even when it injures us to do so, and to pack out our water cache jugs. We promise to remember those who have dedicated so much of their time to provide this opportunity for us, to curse the stewards of neglected sections only in our minds and podcasts, and to offer our own assistance whenever possible, even if only in small ways. We promise to contribute to the dignity and popularity of the AZT and the AZTA by appearing to be quite happy when we arrive in resupply towns, by not dying, and by returning home in proud display of our fabulous tans and newfound cattle ranching skills. We, the Users, most of all, hereby swear to appreciate the grandeur and beauty that is the state of Arizona, and offer our respect and contribution to its preservation as it is.