Arizona Trail – Day 21 (32 + 3 miles)
Well, today was another flat day walking along the plateau. I walked hard as I wound my way along the dirt roads that are so plentiful here.
It was cold last night and throughout the day. It must have been about 25°F (-4°C) overnight and then the clouds came in and kept the day’s high to about 50°F (10°C). This worked out great for water conservation as I did not sweat today.
12 miles in I stopped by a cow pond to fill up water for the 20-mile dry stretch to follow and a lady walked up. It turned out to be Gone Girl that I have been just behind in the log books for the last few days. I wonder how she got behind me?
Anyway, she was excited to see a living person and came over for a chat as I finished up eating my peanut butter wraps. She was an interesting person; slightly older than I and got 7 weeks off work to hike her first long trail.
We ended up walking the 20 miles to Pine Spring together. It was on mostly dirt road so we could easily walk side by side and talk. It was great to do this. I tend to enjoy meeting new people and discovering who they are and why they are hiking the trail.
Talking to Gone Girl kind of made the time pass quickly. Well, the time passed quickly but unfortunately, we missed a sneaky turn off the dirt road onto single track and walked for 30-40 minutes in the wrong direction. Eventually, we figured it out when I noticed that there were absolutely no footsteps on the dusty ground.
We headed back and continued down the trail. It was about this time that the clouds that had been hanging around began to look nasty and a strong, cold wind picked up. There is rain predicted tomorrow but for the next few hours, I was thinking that it might be coming a day early.
The unnecessary detour caused me to be a bit behind my mileage goals for the day and I was a smidgen short on food for this leg, so when We hit Pine Spring I filled up my water bottles and pushed on into the night.
I ended up stopping about an hour after nightfall. The wind was strong and very cold and I found a little gully that blocked most of the wind. Even still, I set up my hexamid to block all of it.