Starting just after 5 am on Sunday the 20th of June during a massive heatwave in the Southwest (probably not the best day to do this), I headed up Forsythe Canyon in the dark. After about 45 minutes, I ditched the headlamp and was privileged to watch the sunrise over Snow Canyon. I continued through Burger and Signal Peaks and headed toward Further Water. I was relieved and happy to see water here as it meant I would be able to resupply in Whipple. Dropping into Hidden Valley is ridiculous, but I was pleased to finish the climb out way quicker than expected.
I made it to Whipple Valley and my planned water filtering spot well over 4 hours. I had hoped for 3ish, but the grades and condition of the trail make it very difficult to move quickly. I filtered water and ate and headed on. Things went well all the way to the Browse Overlook at which point the recent fires have erased the trail. There is about 1.5-2 miles where it's just downed trees, new-growth Quakies and a stream to follow. I was super stoked to finally hit Mills Flat and see water trickling through the meadow and to finally see a trail again.
From Mills Flat, there are only a few more ups but lots of downhill. The trail is very overgrown and there is one more short section of burned that is lacking any real trail. Then it was down Anderson Valley to the trailhead. The aforementioned heat hit really hard. I had hoped the last couple of miles would be butter as they are flat and well worn. I was struggling to hydrate and any increase in heart rate would leave me shivering and stop me in my tracks. I ended up walking most of the stuff at the bottom.
There is still room for improvement on this route. I'm stoked to have finished in under 9, but will probably be back to push for 8 when it isn't quite so hot.