And yet we still did this.
Ellen and I met shortly after 7am to drive to the Sawmill trailhead. I wore a dryweave shirt under my sweatshirt but quickly realized that wasn't going to keep me warm. A black raincoat for the peak was put on before our hike. We took off at 7:39am as clouds overhead blew by.
A mile into our hike we both questioned our sanity, but we trekked on. We could see frost on the highest pines near Carr Peak. Parts of the upper trail were still moist from melted snow. Despite feeling fatigued yesterday, I had energy today and didn't slow Ellen down. She said I was averaging 2.3 miles an hour.
The northern sections of the trail were calm, which broke up the blairing winds. Ellen lent me a beanie to keep my ears warm. When we hit the Tub Springs at 4.2 miles, the winds felt calmer. We stayed there a bit to talk to an Arizona Trail hiker from Toledo, Ohio. He was Frank, aka "Skink" who has until April 24th to finish the 880 mile section. Last night was his first night on the trail, and he told me how he was being followed by someone, but that someone moved back whenever he got close. (I'd have yelled out in English to see if that was a USBP agent). A man sleeping wrapped in a tarp was near the tub as well.
It was 10am and Frank was just getting ready to push on to Parker Canyon Lake 18 miles away. We made it to Miller Peak shortly after noon. It was blustery here as we sat on the old foundation eating our lunch. Zeke cuddled behind Ellen to keep warm. He wasn't interested in eating his raw steak. It was windy but there were no clouds overhead. The trees below us all looked thirsty for a heavy rain. I was glad to notice many new pines growing in the burn area. The ridgeline is coming back!
At 12:36am we descended Miller Peak to return to Carr Peak.
Frank was long gone as we returned to the tub for another rest. A yellow-eyed Junco seemed unbothered by our presence, as it circled around us pecking at the ground.