Arizona Trail – Day 14 (26 miles)
I was on the trail quickly. I was out of water and was keen to get to the next source a couple of miles away. I was on a jeep road with golf ball to head sized rock. It was loose and everywhere which was supprisingly hard to walk on. I was also walking next to an old telephone cable that made me feel like I was in an old western movie.
I got to the gully where the water trough was and headed left to it. Except I could not find it! I searched for a quarter of an hour but did not see any H2O. Great! It was another 10 miles (16km) to the next water. My morning was going to be fun.
I pushed on without stopping, but finding it hard to walk quickly with the loose rocks on the road. The terrain has changed today from yesterday’s Rim and the Ponderosa forests before that. Now it felt a lot dryer, smaller Junipers replaced the Ponderosa and many other shrubs and cactus have appeared.
I have to say that I checked where I was and how far till water quite a few times over the last couple of miles. After a short decent I saw a metal trough. Bingo. Not only was it full, but the water was clear. Even once there I had to wait 15 minutes for my treatment drops to work.
I eat a stail donut, that was discounted at yesterday’s grocery store, as I waited. The water germ free, I downed a litre and took another that I drank over the next hour.
This hour was spent decending into the East Verde River. A river that I not only walked past but drank from the first spring that formed it a couple of days ago.
It was a steep decent and I kept slipping on the loose gravel. At the bottom I could not find the actual trail and ended up following an assortment of cow tracks to the water’s edge.
It was a fairly big river, maybe a foot deep and 15 yards long. I stopped for lunch and to grab more water for the 20 miles (32km) dry stretch to the next water.
After lunch I crossed the river and washes my legs down at the same time. I then started my first climb – it has bee such a long time since the last one when I came out of the Grand Canyon.
It was fun. I got into a nice groove and before I knew it I had reached the top of the 3000ft (1km) climb. At the top I enjoyed a great view of the dry desert and the Mogollon Rim far off in the distance.
I wound my way through the trees at the top and, right as the sun was going behind the mountains, leaving a brilliant display of red, orange and purple, I was faced with a big decent. I did not remember it on the map. I checked. I had gone about a mile down the wrong trail. Evidently, the AzT turned back on itself and I continued straight. I did get a great view of the sunset that I would have missed if I was on course, so I’ve got that going for me.
I headed back and took the right branch. There was a sign there that I’m not sure how I missed.
Anyway, I was back on trail but the sun was almost gone. I continued on for 15 minutes until I needed my headlight to see. I was on a steep enough traverse that the were no camping options. I ended up walking for anther 15 minutes before I finally found a spot.
That was a rather eventful day.