Day 26 was the only “zero day” I allowed myself on the trail. We only stayed at an Airbnb or went shopping. We cooked our own meals and put our feet up.

Day 27: We left the Airbnb as late as possible and headed back towards the trail. We met other hikers at the trailhead. Including Sandals who was hiking with us for 2 nights. It was less rocky than we were used to on the plateau. The trail was beautiful and varied. Rock formations, red sand and the knowledge that the next few days to Flagstaff would be rather easy was like music to our ears.

We camped by a small river where fishing was prohibited. This seemed strange to me, as I hadn’t seen a single fish in the water we were drinking.

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Day 28: We arrived at the top of the plateau and from then on it was a bit muddy and there was snow, but almost all the elevation gain was done. There was a knee-deep river crossing in freezing water later in the day and a campsite that was still shooting. Fortunately, we were able to use the toilets and garbage cans on site. There was also drinking water. After a long day of hiking, we pitched our tent on the side of a dirt road. It was so damp and cold that my sleeping bag and tent were wet the next morning. The outer tent even had a layer of ice on the inside.

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