9/17/16 Mile 0 to 4.1

by sedona maniak

After a huge breakfast in Flagstaff, T drove me the 3 hours to the Stateline campground at the Utah/Arizona border.  The Arizona Trail begins at the campground’s SE end, in a well-marked area with interpretive signs and a pagoda-style area at which one may cry as she realizes that she is embarking on a hot, juniper-filled set of switchbacks right away.  Not that I shed any tears, but I certainly wasn’t looking forward to this stark beginning on a big breakfast now churning away in my belly at early afternoon.

T sent me off with a shared beverage, a photo-shoot designed to hide my incredible beer gut next to the trail sign, a kiss, and a look that made me question whether she thought I might just go missing out here.  I set off, mildly huffing and puffing.  When walking in familiar landscapes, I immediately start naming species to take my mind off of my feet, knees and lungs.  The running jumble in my head often sounds like this: Yucca mohavensis?  What the hell is the correct species name for Mojave yucca?  OK, there’s Krasheninikovia.   How the hell can I remember that and not the species name for broom snakeweed?  And so on. 

So, today’s species list includes:
Broom Snakeweed
Mojave Yucca
Indian paintbrush
Old man prickly pear
More juniper
Low sage
Gambel oak
I hope that's not poison oak surreptitiously mixed in there
Indian ricegrass?
Some cryptantya and a couple gilias
More juniper
Pinion pine
Russian thistle
Silver cholla
Some goosefoot shrub
Globe mallow

Side blotched lizards
Bobcat tracks
Coyote and cow scat
I also heard frogs starting up near the wildlife tank.  Maybe I can catch one in the morning.

Today’s walk was just an afternoon jaunt to the first water source, 4 miles in.  Hopefully, tomorrow,  I’ll get in a good full day.