Monday, October 25, 2010
Full disclosure: although I hyped the Gila up in the previous post as being incredibly gorgeous (it really was!), it was possibly the most boring part of this hike. That probably says a lot about me as a person, but no need to dive into that here and now. All of the adventure, route-finding, and doubt was gone in the Gila, leaving me following 130ish miles of well-marked trail. Beautiful trails, but I felt like I was on the AT out there. Well, whatever I thought was lacking in the Gila was more than made up for in the 4 days so far in Arizona.
WHERE DID THE TRAIL GO?
After a rough night's sleep in the first developed campground of the trip (potty stench), I left Glenwood at 5:30 under only starlight. Refusing to buy $6 AAAs, I walked 5 miles on the glowing white lines framing the asphalt to get to the Alma diner for an early breakfast and rancher gossip. Huevos Rancheros with green chile got me back on the official route and a 9-mile roadwalk on a sleepy jeep road over Sunflower Mesa.
Here I could see the strange mesas that butt directly against the mountains. Duh, I've seen many a mesa before, but never like these. They stand hundreds of feet off the valley floor, and protrude from a surrounding ridge. awesome.
And then I was welcomed into Arizona....with rocks. The guidebook warns of this, but it's impossible to belive until you actually see and feel it. The very second I walked over that arbitrary and straight Arizona border, the road got at least 10x rockier. How??
And then the trail disappeared. The Charlie Moore Trail is listed on maps, but no one actually gets out into the Blue Range Primitive Area to hike it. When the trail faded into nothingness, I just looked at the map and went where I thought I should be. And there it was!
This kept happening all the way up Maple Peak. The sky had been growing darker all morning, and now at the top it decided to hail on me, then 500 feet lower transformed into rain. The sky cleared up in time for huge views of the Gila and Pinaleno Mtns ahead. Dry in time for a camp on a saddle in the only rocklesss and flat spot around.
I HATE GETTING WET!
You know those rocks I mentioned? On the way uphill they merely hurt a little, on the way down they become marbles. I fell more that morning descent Maple Peak to reach Blue River than I had in the previous 21 days of hiking. And I broke a trekking pole. Cry me a river.
not much internet time, so here go the pics, and no text:
that's highway 666!!!
awesome groves of Mesquite...better hiking than the rocks of Eagle Creek
Eagle Creek competes with some of the best canyons that UT can offer...
awesome camp. Sounds of the creek next to me, and a full moon illuminated them walls
water is life
Anasize granary if you look close!
fancy trail. ugly sign./
Pinaleno Mtns near Safford
Posted by Eric Payne at 10:24 AM