The journey was as good as a long-haul flight in economy can be. I only got into trouble when I landed in Phoenix. I stood at the baggage carousel for ages, and when the baggage for the next flight was loaded onto the carousel, I gave up waiting for my suitcase.
After a long search, I found the counter where the baggage was reported as lost. I was encouraged – almost every suitcase would turn up within 24 hours. Unfortunately, I’m still waiting….
With the rental car, but without suitcases, to the hotel in Tucson
I got a proper upgrade at the rental car station. I had actually only paid for the smallest, cheapest and rustiest car, but then got a fat Nissan Frontier – what a ship!
With fatigue setting in, I drove the 1 1/2 hours to my hotel in Tucson. I was so glad to have arrived – just a quick walk to the supermarket for an ice cream sundae and food for the evening.
While enjoying the sundae, I made the decision not to wait for the bag and rather buy new equipment and prepare the 2 most important mail drops before my departure: Roosevelt Lake Marina and Colossal Cave. The shuttle from Tucson to the trailhead was already booked and I didn’t want to miss it.
The package of food that I sent to Roosevelt Lake cost me $17! I then drove to Colossal Cave myself. They knew immediately what I wanted with the package. The woman was very friendly and just said that there were a lot of people on the trail this year and that I would soon find lots of new buddies to hike with. Hopefully not as many as at the PCT kick-off party. I like meeting other hikers, but too many isn’t good either, I thought to myself.
On the way back I bought a first aid kit and new trekking poles and shoes. The Altra Lone Peak 6, which I got in the sale, are a bit too big, but I think my feet are still swelling from all the walking anyway. At the hotel I stole all the toilet paper, so I had the most important things together.
My main meal for today was going to be mashed potatoes with dehydrated beans, onions and potato chips.
Somehow I’m still living in the German time zone. Every day I can’t stay awake until after 8pm and then I’m wide awake again from 3am. This was also the case on the day my shuttle was supposed to take me to the trailhead.
Arizona Trail Shuttle to the trailhead at the Mexican border
First it was time to fill up the rental car and take it to the rental car station. Unfortunately, filling up proved to be difficult as I could only pay at the petrol station and not at the pump, as is usually the case in the USA. However, I can dimly remember that I have always had this problem.
When I told the lady behind the counter that I wanted to fill up for $60, she asked twice and when I filled up the Nissan for $35, I knew why. Gas in the USA is still a lot cheaper than here.
It was only a stone’s throw to the rental car station and I was there a little earlier – luckily Ken, my driver, was too, so we set off straight away. After getting in, I was pleased to see that two other hikers were also on board. This meant that the price of the shuttle for me was only 70 dollars.
Border Monument 102 Southern Terminus Arizona Trail
The hiking on the first day on the AZT was quite strenuous. We started at 2000 m and then went down to the border to take a photo of the starting point in Mexico. Then it was uphill, back to the starting point at the parking lot and then on to 2823 m!
I didn’t miss the chance to run the extra mile up Miller Peak. I had already worked my way up most of the altitude anyway and after all, it is more than twice as high as the highest mountain I can hike at home in the Harz Mountains.
After the ascent, there was a snow-covered path on the other side of the mountain. The one in the photo is the harmless part, later it also became unpleasantly slippery. In between, I came across a bathtub that serves as a water source in the middle of the forest. Apart from that, the rest of the day was rather uneventful, but beautiful.
What wasn’t so beautiful was the pitch of my new tent, which I had never pitched before. This took more time than expected at dusk around 18:00.
I saw a total of 7 other thruhikers walking the Arizona Trail today.