The Arizona Trail Day 62: Managed Fire

Saturday, May 18, 2013

My tent was sweltering from the sun when I woke up this morning. Oddly enough, because of shade or wind or early departures I hadn’t experienced that effect in AZ before. Last night I had strange dreams – in one of them, a man asked me whether I would fight in the American Civil War. I said ‘I’m Canadian, so I don’t know much about the Civil War’. Huh.

While I was packing up, my boot dislodged the stone with the beetles underneath, and one of them moved. It was smeared with what looked like its guts and had 2-3 functional legs. It looked like something out of a horror movie, and man, I felt terrible for reducing it to that state. I’ll never drop a rock onto a mostly harmless beetle ever again. And thus marks the end of my one-day reign of terror and long descriptions of beetle-related events in this journal.

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The AZT continued along dirt roads. This portion of the trail could be much more scenic if the route wound through the hills rather than following the roads, which always kept to flat areas. When I noticed a slight change in the scenery I got excited, figuring that it heralded the boundary of the Kaibab National Forest. Sure enough, soon I reached a sign and the trail moved to single-track rolling gently through the forest. Being on proper trail again and having more of a sensation of separation from civilization felt great, and flowers were an added bonus.

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At the road before the Russell Wash segment, I encountered a sign saying ‘Managed fire’.

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Uh oh. I guess my experience at Mormon Lake should have taught me to be more diligent about phoning whoever to confirm that upcoming passages are open. This was a tougher spot than the last occasion, its location being much more isolated – a walk to the nearest town along forest roads would take days. I checked my phone. No reception. I studied the sign. It was useless. While I was pondering, an ATV came down the road. I flagged the man down and asked whether he knew anything about the sign. He said no, sorry. I asked him what he thought the sign meant. He said he didn’t know. Well, at least this road gets some use, and tomorrow is still the weekend, so I should be able to hitchhike out if I try the trail and have to turn back.

I made camp early on the other side of the road. I considered taking corny photos of my stove next to the managed fire sign, but wasn’t in the mood.

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