What a Time To Not Be Unalive
a not so appropriate musing on the cocodona 250
All photos by Moe Lauchert
The world is dying. Maybe it is dead. And who are we to try and change that. As we hurtle round our dying sun the pressure can become overwhelming. God is killing you. She never loved you. She doesn’t care about you or your IRA. She is a coward that hides behind conjecture and hyperbole. She’s addicted to social media and pain killers and needs a tummy tuck. The police are invading. A duty to serve but not protect. Serve who? Fascists outnumber you. They grow and they are breeding. They are against birth control, abortion, education and gluten. They eat minorities for nutrition and put flags on their hemis. The virus is killing rich people. The virus is killing rich people. The virus is killing rich people. THE VIRUS IS KILLING RICH WHITE PEOPLE. Watch your Netflix. Order your Amazon. Retweet. Share. Information. We want information. Vaccinate your babies. Autism is caused by songs in D minor. Retweet. Go green, kill yourself. Reduce your carbon footprint. Recycle. Fear terrorism and viruses. Fear your friends, fear your family, fear yourself. Neuter your pets. All humans must be on leashes at all times. Close all small businesses. Corporations are essential. Essentials are corporations. Retweet. Destroy the poor. Criminalize. Dehumanize. Destroy the poor. Incentives. Tax breaks. Grab a woman’s pussy. Retweet. Run for president. Destroy the poor. Eat an egg salad sandwich. But don’t ever forget, please don’t ever forget, you no-good-ramen-eating-long-haired-rice-krispy-treat-pounding heathen, to VOTE!
Commies are red,
Blue lives are blue,
I can’t help I think its funny,
When it’s called the kung-flu
I just feel like running. I am selfish and a narcissist. I want to be happy and I want to make the people around me happy. Motion is existence and to exist I must move and move often. I have to run so much that the physical pain devours the mental pain. I have to prove to myself that this world is worth being in. That it is not the one everyone keeps trying to convince me that it is. I have to find it myself and so I go looking for it. I deep dive. I am obsessive and unbalanced. I perceive pain as comfort and embrace all that is unknown and uncomfortable. Nothing good ever came from being comfortable and sleeping well. Maybe I’m just bored. Either way I am in Black Canyon City at dawn and I just ate a handful of psilocybin. Rattlesnakes choke the trail and these people think that I am an athlete…
* * *
I am out of water. Have I been running with Witt or did I imagine him? They said take 3 liters of water. Why didn’t you take 3 liters of water? Why are you such an arrogant asshole that you think you can do this without 3 liters of water? Am I human? Am I evil? Am I masochist? Massachrist. I should start a doom metal band named Massachrist. Oh nothing running guy in a speedo I didn’t realize I said that out loud. I want to slap your ass. How am I still out of water? Where is the bar? Drew? I thought it was Witt. Why are we still climbing? Why is this mountain here very much in my god damn way. How am I still out of mother fucking water?! I am melting into the earth. I will slide inside and ride the breath of Hela into Crown King. Actually ill just run down this dirt road. There is undoubtedly death and carnage behind me. God bless you all.
Whiskey is a drink for the unfortunate. I have a mother and she is a radical juggernaut of reardom. She is visiting from Reno and for a moment I feel responsible and respectable. Despite her best efforts I have fire water and I am out of phase once again. I should go. Goodbye mother. I love you and do not think poorly on your only son.
It is hot and it is uphill. It is now the first time and not the last that I will harness my inner Culpepper Speed Shuffle. OK I can do this. How did all this fireball end up in my pack? I grew up in these mountains. Scattered throughout these hills are open mine shafts that go into the heart of the mountain. Demons and dwarves live here. Though rarely seen, Bradshaw Dwarves are quite friendly and somewhat easier on the eyes than their desert cousins. They come out of their mines only near dusk to gather mushrooms and firewood and can be counted on for good food and good smoke. Every third season they gather at Battle Flat and remember the great war with Demiroc the Defiler, a dragon from the lower wastelands of ‘Phoenix’ that preyed upon their cooler climate and recreational opportunities whenever it suited him.
I know these hills. I was part of the historic Walker party that settled these lands. Gail Gardner. Terry Bradshaw. Geronimo and Dak Prescott. There is a mountain lion ahead of me. Fresh tracks for miles. Usually around here the shit kickers poison and trap these wild cats so they can run their welfare beasts on public lands. But not here. Here in the Bradshaws they still roam and rule and will eat women. Reminds me of somebody.
The sun is setting as I work my way towards the highpoint in these Bradshaws. Mt Union. The site of American Independence and Freedom. The constitution and the Louisiana Purchase were signed here on Valentines Day of 1492. Am I in first place? Where is everybody? I need more mushrooms and a double double. This mountain is big and right in my way. Just to the top then it’s all smooth sailing and skinny dipping into Prescott. Prescott. My home. Home of pickle-balling fascists and rehab centers. I can smell the douche flutes (vape pens) all the way from here at Camp Wamatochick. For the first time on this journey I will have some company. Larz Krause, an elf from the old country joins me into town. He is light on his feet and deadly with the bow all the while keeping his piercing blue eyes fixed on both trail and me, watching for all that moves in the darkness, all that stirs with ill intent. Barry Goldwater was shot and thrown in this lake last 4th of July by Larz but he doesn’t like to talk about. Elves seldom like to speak of the past. Especially violent pasts.
Granite Mountain, Thumb Butte,
Suck hard on douche flutes
We arrive. Senator Highway. Mt Vernon. Goodwin. Montezuma. I continue my tradition of running the double yellow line. Traffic and tourists can fuck off. This is my town and I ran 90 miles to get here. You can wait. Not that there’s anybody out. It’s the middle of the night and Jonathan Wolfinger, a pastor and elf that I grew up with feeds me a cupful of whiskey from a pre requested plastic (adventure) bottle. God bless you my good friend. He and Larz discuss something in the old tongue while I divagate into diatribe. Topic Phoenix Suns. My sons and brothers. Cam and Mikal, Chris and Deandre.
Jim Moses a Demigorgan of the Old Order ushers me away from The Row. Granite Dells. Nymphs and Satyrs dwell in the crevasses of these otherworldly stone outcroppings. They creep slowly and inconspicuously and are known to ensnare unsuspecting travelers into spells of lust and servitude, using nothing but donuts, rice krispy treats, and pamplemousse. I like it here. I consider sleeping in my own shower and showering in my own bed but now is not the time for stopping. Now is not the time for sleeping. Now is the time for the Anthony Culpepper Powermosey. Watson Woods. Lakeshore. Watson Dam to Over-The-Hill. Peavine to Iron King. I could do these trails in my sleep and I think I may be. Did that guy just call you an asshole? Not me you. I’ve never wanted to get to Prescott Valley for anything. Even now I could do without it but my van and the Satisfy contingent are there and I need to lie down. I try to sleep unsuccessfully. Adam promises I nodded off for a few minutes but I can’t tell the difference. Lets keep moving.
Adam, a free roaming Incubus from the 4th Dynasty of Horserangers takes up my reins. Aliens. Approximately 20 light sources arranged linearly and moving in unison. We weren’t the only ones to see it. Fucking aliens in the sky and no one cares. If Jesus ever came back nobody would notice. He would be insulted and cast aside, castrated and crucified by believers for being a pot-smoking-long-haired-tree-cuddling-bare-footin hippy.
Our blood is red,
Not black and not blue,
Running makes you happy,
Not facebook, not news.
Man Against Horse. Not 6 months ago I raced horses here, the last foot race to simultaneously race humans and horses on the same course, at the same time. This is Old Prescott, and there are still a few stragglers left holding onto traditions richer than retirement communities and rehab centers. We shit kick our way through this ranch land and start our climb up Mingus, this last stronghold of the Prescott National Forest. At some point I pass 100 miles and have never been less excited by the occurrence. The sun is out again and we can feel it. Today is going to be hot and I am not a hot boy. Who are all these people with phones and cameras? More In-n-Out. Summit. Paragliding launch. Down hill. This is where I turned the wrong way at Man Against Horse. Am I going the right way? Sure. Down hill. Jerome. I know my way. Long we have to run on this god forsaken sun drenched road. Road road road Jerome. SHH. Jerome. Don’t upset the tourists. Don’t upset the grapes. SHUT UP. Harleys and leather chaps. Hippies and Carrhart jeans. SERIOUSLY SHUT THE FUCK UP. Jerome hates runners, but they love Phoenicians. Cant a man get a fucking beer at The Spirit room or does the Coors Light Cowboy Boot Neon Sign mean no. Fuck it. The Verde is better anyways.
Cabernets are red
Yet the hippies bleed blue
The Grateful are dead
No trespassing, this means you!
Fuck this section. I get it, but fuck this section. BLANK
Rio Verde. Tuzigoot. Cool cold water. Its high noon and temperatures are soaring. It’s 130 miles and no sleep and burning heat. I need to sleep by the cottonwoods and let this heat pass. Rumors of a Knight on my heels that pounds sticks of margarine in squirrel grease. Sleep takes me. Dreams, hopes and fears, cognitive destruction of neurological the virus is killing retweet suns win eat fish metathesisketofootrubhotricekrispydoubledou
* * *
It’s still hot. I feel good. It hasn’t really cooled off much but it is about to. I am coming of a good nap and soak in the river. Jamil and I scouted this next section years ago and I am happy to not be doing it in the hottest part of the day. We wet ourselves one last time and head into the desert. Red sansdstones and scraggly Junipers and two red skinned short shorted scraggly bearded long hairs start their way to the vortex laden crystal mecca of Sedona. We catch the knight and his trusty steed pretty quickly and do our best not to demoralize. Dude looks red and rough. I wish him luck and we continue. I need to get my palm read and my shakra shook. I was told once that the only reason I didn’t feel anything at the Vortices of Sedona is because I had a bad attitude. I feel plenty of emotions at the real vortices of Sedona, the traffic circles. Sedona would actually be a hell of a place to live if it weren’t for the awful culture and throngs of tourists. I guess I feel similar about most places but Sedona seems a bit exaggerated. How nice Oak Creek would be if it didn’t regularly get shut down for high concentrations of E. Coli (human shit) from the hoards of Phoenicians sliding their asses down billions of fly larvae (Slide Rock). How nice the red rocks and arches would be if they weren’t overrun with selfie sticks and Instagram look at my ass in tight clothing photo shoots. How nice the downtown would be if it weren’t dominated by fudge, ice cream, and pastel bronze southwest Kokapelli horse shit from L.A. Yet I like it here. Not right now. I hate it right now. It’s the middle of the night and these trails are rough and never ending. My pacers are getting tired of my attitude. I probably should take more mushrooms but I don’t. Not sure why. I try to sleep at some aid station but cant. I’m hurting. Mile 160? We strike out west from Sedona on difficult trails. This is the worst. All night we trudge and I am not doing well. I’m not even sure I am conscious for much of this section as I slip into my tunnel of headlight confusion and stumbling over rocky and loose terrain. Finally the trail ends and we jeep road it into the last Sedona/desert aid station. I have never once said anything positive about road running but I have never been more pleased to be on a smooth easy dirt road. I struggle and force my way in. Somebody tries to talk to me. Something about strategy and how it would be a good idea to climb out of the desert before the sun comes up. It undoubtedly would be. I ignore everything and am asleep within minutes.
Oh the rocks how red,
Palms read on cue,
Vortices aren’t real,
Creek filled with poo
I wake myself up about an hour later. James, the mightiest Maia of the Vala Aulë the Smith, is here. His presence gives strength and power, and it is good. I am reborn in the image of the Ñoldor as we begin our long climb leaving desert and all things barren and lost to the past. James is a spirit giver and we have long been companions in trials and adventures. We climb and traverse between Sycamore Canyon and Secret Mountain. A decade ago after graduating from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, we thought it would be nice to walk home from school. Home being Prescott, we found our way via Sycamore Canyon and the Verde River, arriving in Prescott 10 days later and drinking Whiskey on the courthouse square. People do not change.
The Colorado Plateau. This upper terrace of Arizona contradicts the Arizona stereotypes of Saguaros and gun nuts with forests, greenery and Subarus. The Mogollon Rim runs from the Grand Canyon southeast to the border of New Mexico splitting the state into two distinct geographies. As the Plateau was pushed up, The Colorado River stayed pat, and we got a canyon. Or so they say. Godless heathens and their science. Jesus rode dinosaurs and was blonde. Native Americans are a lost tribe of Israel and I will be lord of planets when I die.
Here begins the largest contiguous Ponderosa forest in the…area?region?country?universe? Everything today is an ‘est.’ We live in a world of hyperbole and superlatives that things hardly seem worth noting, existing if they aren’t labeled with an est. Hardest, biggest, steepest, longest. Fastest known time in the self-supported-gluten-free-trans-gender-diabetic-south-bound-poly-theist-sandal category. As a general rule if you have to label something to get people to buy what your selling, whatever your selling probably isn’t that label. If a lawyer advertises he is honest and trustworthy, it’s because he probably isn’t. If food advertises itself to be fresh and natural it’s because it’s probably awful. Good food doesn’t need an ad campaign. Real adventures aren’t sold in brochures. Authenticity doesn’t need a marketing department. Kill all salesmen.
Hoka Silvers and Blues,
Fuck your campaign
Ill keep my old shoes
Somewhere around 200 miles James and I make it to The House of Three Forest Witches. It is a major misconception of witches that they are evil. Most witches are good witches, and use their feminine powers for healing and prosperity, unlike their loud, obnoxious, yelling, flag waving, duallycumminsdieselconfederateflag driving sisters that get all the attention and give a bad name to all witches. The Three Forest Witches of Coconino are known for their hospitality, graciousness, and humility, and take us in and immediately start to tend to our needs. Enough cannot be said of the kindness of these misunderstood folk, and they send us on our way with frozen magic and mended shoes. Satan lives and he is good, and may he bless our travels and your kitchen.
200 miles. Although up high on this plateau, it is still hot, and the dirt road dusty. We bathe in cattle tanks and fight for shade as my throat begins to chalk from all this dust. Cattle tanks. Few good things result from our current public land policy of grazing cattle and welfare ranching. Cattle tanks to cool off and free steaks if need be are the only two I can think of. Parasitic shitkicking lonesome dove incapables playing an elaborate game of dress up and house on the backs of taxpayers everywhere. If you are poor and black, welfare is a burden and you are lazy. If you are white and buy some Ariats, a Stetson and a cow, it is the American spirit. It is estimated that on average, every public land rancher receives approximately $20,000/year in government subsides so they can run their cows and play cowboy. The Turner Grazing Act allots these leases for 10 year increments, so its fair to say each of these mavericks gets $200,000 in welfare per pop, all so they can ruin your public lands and talk shit on big government and brown people. I actually like cows. I like horses and real horsemen and love Lonesome Dove. This cattle tank is pretty nice right now. One of my favorite past times is chasing cows. Cliven Bundy is a fucking idiot. Most of these hypocrites have long since traded in their horses for Razor OHVs anyways as I guess they thought the one thing they lacked was being obnoxious.
Marlboros are red,
Hanks got the blues,
God gave us guns,
not the freedom to choose
With James came the fruit snacks. Hundreds of fruit snacks. We are on single track and I am feeling ok. It is cool and smooth and downhill into Fort Tuthill and I up the effort. I saw Steve Earle and Ween here. Not at the same time. The adrenaline here at Tuthill is high. Lots of people, lots of familiar folk, lots of Martinellis & Squirrels Nut Butter. This concrete bunker is cool and Dio hugs my butt.
Dio is a good dog. Dio is a good boy.
There is a Suns game on and Larz and I debate whether I should drop and head to Sportsman’s for some nachos and the game. The sun is setting. Again. Although relatively close to the end this will take me all night. We push hard through the twilight and out to Walnut Canyon and the Arizona Trail. Some years ago I ran this trail, from the Mormon territory of Deseret to Mexico Viejo. 830 miles of heartbroken shuffling through the great est state in Arizona. I remember these sections. Ironically? I was around the same mileage on that journey but headed the other direction. I think all Arizona Trail voyages should be southbound. One should always flee the Mormons for godless Mexico, not the other way around.
I try to sleep at Walnut Canyon aid station. I tell myself if I can sleep for 15 minutes I can do this last leg twice as fast. I fail at everything and waste over an hour. My legs seize up and I feel worse than when I came in. Fuck it lets go. Arizona trail to Mt. Elden. The last leg. The ultimate barrier. I do this climb every time I am through town. I know it well and am prepared but it never comes. This section is dragging and I lay into James about not having fresh batteries in my headlamp. He gives me his and ignores me and we march. The Last March of Los Hijos del Sol. I mind meld with Culpepper and we climb. Trail magic. Tecate.
Tecates and red,
Light cans are blue,
Lots of salt, lots of lime,
No thanks microbrew
I lose track of where I am. This final climb. Tonight James is my Sam. Sam and Frodo scaling the cliffs of Mt. Doom. He can’t carry my tracker but he can carry me. If only things were as easy as they were in Mordor. I guess that makes the live footage cameraman Gollum. Unfortunately there will be no eagles, and no Gandalf to save me from that descent. I turn my mind off and pound. 8 miles of hard downhill to the finish. Elden, Buffalo Park, Flagstaff. The Shire. Friends. Mom. Finish. I ran a long way and am happy to be done.
Big things don’t need to be dressed up. So I wont try to here. They speak for themselves. They don’t need to be packaged and sold, marketed and shoved down our insecure throats. It doesn’t fucking matter what shoes I was wearing or if I changed them. It doesn’t matter what food I was eating (or not eating) or what training program I follow. I ran this race because I love Arizona and I love the people that were a part of it. I am proud of the fact that I brought my fiends and family together to be a part of something fun and exciting and they all had a great time. I enjoy challenging myself and being outside. These are my motives. And there is nothing you can buy that can replicate genuine experience.
Writing silly stories,
Doesn’t make them true,
Don’t take this seriously,
If I offended you