I'm up before first light; I want to make sure I get up the mountain today, regardless of what terrain I run into. The owner of the ranch let me use one of their cabin's bathrooms with a working sink. When I walk in the cabin, I see this really nice bed. There's a dissonance between being out here, desiring to sleep in a tent on the ground, and opting for a bed when it's available. If you sleep in a bed all the time, though, what's the point?

I didn't sleep much last night, partially because of Nefertiri, and partially because my skin was itching the whole time.

I didn't understand why, but this morning, while seeing in the mirror how my skin is responding to the unfortunate effects of wearing the same thing every day, it occurs to me that the salt buildup from sweat would certainly cause itching. I'm going to have to wipe down my skin every couple of days to avoid the problem going forward.

In the past, I would have stopped to stay a hotel by now - it's now the 5th day without a shower.

My plan is to not hit up any more motels for the remainder of the trail, which likely means no more showers. I'm proficient enough that I think I can live sustainably without running water, but I have to verify that by testing it out.

Nefertiri must be sleeping, so I leave without saying goodbye. It's for the best. Other hikers have reported that she follows you for ~3 miles before turning back.

I still feel guilty for pushing her away. I'd like to make it up to her one day.

The climb starts immediately, but I'm prepared with the remainder of my last Chipotle burrito, and my new supply of chocolate. Given that I'm almost out of food, today will be fueled mostly by sugar.

After the initial climb, I walk along the ridge line, and I can see towns on both sides of the mountain.

Neither are where I'm heading, though. In the distance, I can see what is probably a ski resort. By the end of the day, I'll hit the town of SummerHaven, where I have a resupply package waiting.

When I replaced my tent with a 4-season bivy, I also had waterproof socks delivered. My concern was hitting snow in this area like previous hikers did, wherein they were waking up to inches of fresh, non-packed snow, post holing all day and in danger of frostbite.

I, on the other hand, see no snow. I fact, I don't really need to wear any layering at all. It's high elevation, so there's quite a bit of wind, but the temperatures are relatively warm.

I'm lucky.

Respect it!

Until the Ridgeline ends and the steep uphill climbs start. There are no switchbacks here, just roads that go straight up, which I find quite obnoxious.

I take many breaks, but eventually my chocolate runs out. Due to the lack of sufficient nutritional mass, the day seems slow, and the uphill climbs are harder than they would be otherwise.

But I have my songs. Today I talk Nefertari a lot, still weighed down a little bit by guilt.

I've decided that one day I'm going to come back, via car, with a layer that is unaffected by feline nails, and let her knead as much as she wants.

The climb is hard, but I eventually make it, with plenty of daylight to spare. I'm walking at a fast pace, directly to the small post office at the edge of town. My package isn't there. It was bounced from Kearny, but to the wrong place - Superior - the opposite direction.

The obnoxious part is it's already in process to get to the right place, Summerhaven. They already know it was a mistake.

But it won't be here for another several days at least.

I am literally walking across the state of Arizona faster than the United States Postal Service can deliver a package to a small town.

I'm annoyed. Any emotional response is pointless, though. I thank the post office attendant, and make my way next store, to the one restaurant into the area.

They don't have milkshakes. I've been craving a Frosty or related item all day.
They do have burgers, though. And cookies. And pumpkin pie.

I made the right call in splitting the climb into two days; the experience was relatively pleasant. It's been a good day.