October 16th, 2019
Cedar Ave off Flagstaff Urban Route mm 6.5 to near Pine Grove Campground mm 241.4
Distance in miles: 26
I tried to get an early start on the trail but this town was such a vortex. I was at least up early, working on my blog. Sharon made delicious omelettes and I lingered over coffee. Finally, Sharon needed to be off to teach a class at the university and I made my break. I got as far as half a mile down the road before a bakery pulled me in. I had a pumpkin cream cheese danish.
A few miles later, I stopped at a small hardware store that, local word had it, sometimes had cookies for patrons. I was out of luck on cookies but got a free bag of popcorn. I bought a kid’s pair of bright orange knit gloves for $2. ..for those cold mornings when my hands were freezing or if nothing else, to hang on my pack for hunting season.
Once back on the trail, I got down to the business of hiking my normal fast pace and with no more distractions. I hiked down and then out of a canyon, coming to a water cache by 2 pm. I didn’t see anyone except for 2 bike packers all day. I looked at mileages and daylight remaining and formulated a plan. There was a campground in 12 miles and the last notes said it was still open with water. Perfect.
I hiked on top a dry mesa for many miles, looking down on Lake Mary stretching on forever in the valley below. Most of the day, the trail was pleasant singletrack. But late in the afternoon, it turned into a confusing network of crappy jeep trails, rutted and rocky. I found a tarantula, cute and fuzzy…I think they look cute at least.
I made it down to the highway and road to the campground just as the sun was setting. I didn’t notice the “closed” signs or the gate but figured things out soon enough. All the water in the campground was shut off and there was not a drop to be found, even in the dumpsters. Bummer. I had enough water to make it through the night, so I found a site under some trees and called it a day. The duff was marvelous, making up for the lack of water.