- Distance – 16.32 miles / 26.26 kilometers
- Elevation Gain – 1946 feet / 593 meters
- Elevation Loss – 2785 feet / 849 meters
- Average Temperature – 86.7° F / 30.4° C
- Total Mileage – 144.28 miles / 243.19 kilometers
The day started out with plans to only walk a short distance into Passage 6, so we didn’t hurry to meet up and get started. We took our time getting to the trailhead and lollygagged to the beginning of Passage 6 which was 8/10 of a mile from where we parked.
Once we were on the trail, and descending quite steeply, I suggested we just continue on and hitchhike back to Lova’s truck when we reach the end of the trail. The trail was quite overgrown, it surely could use some trail love. The grasses in many areas totally obscured the trail. There were many gates to go through as seems to be on most of the AZT passages.
We hiked on and on, we climbed a little, but mostly we were descending, it was a lovely hike, but long. The trail in parts had some wonderful cairns to guide us along the way, but then there were many other parts that had nothing. I am very happy to own a Garmin fenix3, if not for that device we would have been lost many times.At one point a small snake slithered between my feet on its way to the grassy area along the trail. It scared me a bit, but I did notice it was not a rattlesnake.
We continued along our merry way, enjoying the cool breeze and the beautiful day. Suddenly I see a huge pile of what I think is some animal’s scat and then immediately scream and leap about 6 feet forward. It was a large rattlesnake coiled up and just sitting there, it wasn’t 6 inches from my left foot. The picture is a bit blurry, I guess I was shaking a bit.Lova was behind me on the trail, I told her to stop. At that point she didn’t know what I had seen, I told her it was a rattlesnake but she couldn’t see it. I directed her to the grassy area on the side of the trail opposite the snake all the while hoping the mate wasn’t there. Thankfully she made it past the snake unharmed.
We continued on for the remaining 2 or so miles. When we reached the road, I turned around to take a picture of the setting sun.We walked to the road, put our thumbs up in the air and were picked up by the first vehicle that passed us. She was a young girl driving a huge truck – her name was Jacquie and she was our trail angel.