17.2 miles today
33.5 miles total
After our intense introduction to the Arizona heat yesterday, we decided to adjust our schedule to start really early and take a long break in the middle of the day. Luckily our bodies are still functioning on east coast time, so waking up early hasn’t been too difficult.
We hiked in darkness for 2 hours as mountains and cacti sillouettes slowly came into view.
This was the ladies’ first taste of backpacking with real elevation gain, going from 1,600ft to 3,700ft before lunchtime.
At around the 10 mile mark we took our long break under a rainwater collector provided by the @aztassociation (to whom we are eternally grateful ?).
Our thru-hiking friend, Rance was wrapping up his break when we arrived and stayed to chat for a bit. We met him yesterday within our first 10 minutes on trail and continued to see him off and on throughout our entire hike. He would always leave us encouraging notes along the way! I just love the hiking community ?
After we bid farewell to Rance, we settled in for our break. We filtered water, made some lunch, and started some pretty vulnerable conversations. It was a beautiful moment where we all felt comfortable enough to truly open up to each other.
The last 7+ miles were a mental game. We were pretty tired from the day, but we were also emotionally raw from everything we shared at lunch. There were a couple moments where some just needed an emotional release and positive affirmations from the group.
For the last 2 miles the phrase “I am strong!” was repeated over and over to get us through.
“I am strong!”
“My knees are strong!”
“My ankles are strong!”
“My feet are strong!”
“My mind is strong!”
“My smell is strong!” ?
We yelled it out. We yelled it together. We made it to camp.
Sunset welcomed us as we finished for the day completely exhausted and ready for sleep.