Saguaros to Slickrock
Six Days of Racing on the Arizona Trail
Mountain Flyer (Winter 2019) by Kurt Refsnider
It took a moment to realize just where I was as I opened my eyes. Still enveloped by the dark of night, my groggy, fatigued brain started to replay memories from the prior day: a strangely humid morning, bonking hard while ascending out of the oppressive desert heat, a taxing afternoon among strikingly lush drainages, and then night descending upon me while traversing the endlessly demanding Highline Trail. At just after midnight, I had pushed my bike to the top of the Mogollon Rim cliffs, a massive symbolic achievement in my south-to-north race across the state of Arizona. I was only two and a half days from the end and on record pace; recalling this jolted me into a more alert and excited state. The crackling of ice upon my bivy as I popped myself upright confirmed that I was no longer in the desert.
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