Day 6: After a very cold night, we set off at 6am. Fingers still numb from taking down the tent and wrapped in the thickest jacket, I followed the trail up the mountain. It was nice that water was always readily available for most of the day. So I didn’t have to carry so much and also because of the low temperatures I could make really good distance today.
I arrived at Kentucky Camp after 20 km at around 12 noon. There I could recharge my batteries a bit, use the toilet on site and get new water! Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos from there, because it’s actually a pretty nice place, so in the middle of nowhere.
The luck with the water didn’t last the whole day, unfortunately. I had to share the last watering hole of the day with cows….
Day 8: The next day I got up later than usual as Colossal Cave Mountain Park doesn’t open until 9am. I only had 6 km to go, which by the way was beautiful.
I can only advise anyone who is in Arizona to visit this park, and not even because of the cave, but because of the beautiful landscape around it and also the giant pretzel that you can buy there.
I was already there at 8 a.m. and was delighted that the toilets were already open and I could charge my batteries. It was a bit silly to buy a huge pretzel now that my rucksack was full of food again, but what the hell.
Little by little, more and more hikers arrived.
After that, we walked for a long time through the desert, for sure 15 km, before we reached the uphill section. Actually, we wanted to get to Manning Camp and spend the night there, but due to the heat and the incline, it didn’t work out. We decided to stay at Grass Shack Campground , which is beautiful by the way.
If I had known that before, I would have planned a rest day here. There was even a small waterfall.
Day 9: From Grass Shack Campground at 7am we went straight back up in serpentines. Due to the mild temperatures, however, the climb was much less bad than the day before and the scenery in the spruce forest was simply beautiful. Manning Camp itself is the larger campsite of the two. There is even a real ranger station and the site is much bigger. Probably due to the altitude, it is also much colder than the Grass Shack Campground where we had been.
By the way, we didn’t need a reservation – various rangers simply didn’t check us.
From Manning Camp I went up Spot Rock, which is beautiful and definitely worth the diversions. After that we went up Mica Mountain and then, interrupted only by occasional snowfields, back towards the desert. The landscape was a little hilly and green, but dry.
After about 32 kilometres, I declared the day over and pitched my tent in a cow meadow!