Arizona Trail – Day 16 (15 miles)
Well, today was an easy day. I walked for 15 miles, almost all of which was downhill.
The air temp last night was not too bad, but the wind had an icy bite to it. I was glad I found a semi-sheltered spot to camp. However, by the end of the night, I had my head pulled into my quilt to stop my nose getting cold.
I started the day off by continuing the dirt road walk I started yesterday. It was a fairly panoramic ridge walk, with Roosevelt Lake on one side and the upcoming Matazel mountains on the other.
I then followed a wash for quite a while until it spits me out onto the highway, and my location to hitch into Payson 20 miles to the north.
It took me two hitches and about 30 minutes with my thumb out to get there. The first hitch dropped me off at a restaurant where I had some lunch, and the second dropped me off in town with his phone number as he would be heading back down the highway around midnight.
I resupplied at the supermarket for the 2 and a bit days to Pine. It was then time to try and hitch back to the trail. It turned out to be hard in a large town with no real optimal place to hitch from. My arm tired and I went off in search of a sign.
Back outside the last gas station with a sign of “hiker to trail please”, I managed to get a lift fairly quickly. The car had 4 people in it and I felt sorry for the one squashed against me.
I always try and read what the car wants from the trip, sometimes they want someone to listen but mostly they are looking for a combination of a good story and some entertainment.
The car was dropping two of the people off at their car. When we got there the two remaining asked if I would like to come back to their place for a shower and dinner. They offered to drop me off later that night. They were a nice couple about my age and I accepted.
They live right on the Tonto River. We headed down there to unsuccessfully try and fish for our dinner as they shared a couple of beers with me.
We then had a simple dinner and they dropped me off back at the trail just after 9 pm. I walked in maybe 100 yards and then set up camp in the wash.