November 10, 2013

Trail adventure : The Arizona Trail

When I went up to Sunflower, Arizona, for the annual Mazatzal Trail Run, I noticed the area was full of beautiful, open camping spots. I also saw, from the main jeep road we were running, that several trailheads took off in various directions. One of those is the Arizona Trail, which crosses the whole state and beyond. I decided to drive back here and explore a section of it.

A room with a view :)
I found the perfect camping spot on top of a little mountain, with a breathtaking view of the whole chain, on both sides. There isn't a soul for tens of miles around and I am served the most amazing sunsets every night, as my little fire of dry mesquite wood keeps me warm from the hauling summit winds. This is life at its best.

This morning, I stayed curled up in my warm bed until the sun rose high in the deep blue sky. I peeled 2 pomegranates and had coffee, then I was too lazy to come outside so I sat in the sun in my new swivel seat and dove into a new book I got recently. It's called «Running to Thousand Letters» and was written by Wendy Drake, whom I met while running Canyon de Chelly a few weeks ago. I read almost half of it before I started to get excited enough to put my running clothes and head to the trails.

The Jeep road
Since the Mazatzal run, I figured my right foot issue might had been caused by my over-lacing. I was careful to lace loosely on my previous run, with fellow Mas Locos Caleb Wilson and Michael Miller, but my foot still hurt after a bit. However, it felt good this morning, and I laced very carefully, loosely enough to have wiggle room in my shoes.

I headed out on the jeep road for a little bit, then veered right at the first trail marker that I crossed. It simply says «Trail 47», but I'm pretty sure it's the Arizona Trail. The view is awesome from the start; the trail starts in pine-needle covered ground near a lower summit, then twist and turns down the side of the mountain to a little pass, then shoots up to the next one. Perfect rolling hills, which allowed me to go way faster than I expected.

It was one of the first times when I felt my legs were really solid, so I indulged in several very fast downhills even though I didn't know the trail. The smile on my face widened at every turn, with open views of the majestic summits that tower above the lower passes.

The strangest thing was that, at this altitude, the weather is much cooler and it actually looks like fall in the north; the ground is partly covered in multicolored fallen leaves, a sight I had not had in Arizona since I got here. The sun was warm enough, but the fresh air kept things cool. Perfect.

I ventured out another 3, maybe 4 miles before I turned around, as the sun was getting closer to the first peaks. I took long, deep breaths of fresh mountain air as I was climbing up the same way I came, soaking in the solitude of the still nature.

I ran back down to my truck and took my clothes off, bathing in the warm rays of the glorious afternoon sun. I am literally alone here in miles of open nature, with only little chirping birds as company.

The light started to come down as I built a little fire and sat down to enjoy the last moments of my day. Slowly, powerfully, the sun approached the ridge of the mountains and splashed vigorous swaths of pink, red and orange over stretched out clouds, like a dramatic, vibrant painting. I thanked nature for that spectacular finish and for the perfect day we'd spent together.

This is why I travel.

This is why I live.

J'ai eu la Nature juste pour moi, aujourd'hui, du lever du jour jusqu'au plus puissant, émouvant coucher de soleil que j'avais vu depuis fort longtemps. Je suis vivant. Tellement, tellement vivant.

1 comment:

  1. Wow!! Fantastique! Je t'envie! Ça doit être trippant au max! Profites-en bien!