October 26th, 2019
Mm 456.8 to HWY 60 mm 487.5
Distance in miles: 30.7
I sleep great and woke to a steep climb out of the valley. I went over another ridge and dropped into a smaller valley and wash. As per usual, all the prickly plants were grabbing at my legs and hanging from above to gouge my face. I did a lot of acrobatics to avoid them, plus a lot of cursing.
I start to feel a little anxiety about all the overgrowth. The trail just felt claustrophobic. I couldn’t go 15 seconds without something raking me. My skirt already had numerous rips and my legs were pretty scratched. My foot was swollen where the cactus spine pierced my skin the day before. I really hoped the vegetation would let up a little this day.
The trail did its up and down thing for awhile, finally coming to Reavis Creek, where there was water flowing. I saw multiple people camping and hunting and there were even a few trail crews working to repair damage from flooding and fire. The poor volunteers were covered in soot and scratches from fighting the evil plants…trail maintenance in Arizona is especially hard! I thanked them profusely.
The trail improved a lot south of Reavis Saddle. The area was also badly burned…which meant fewer mean plants attacking me as I walked. I saw lots of hunters in this area, stalking deer over the weekend. But I hadn’t seen any deer since the Mazatzals. They must have known the hunters were after them.
I came to a trailhead where side-by-sides were parked and blasting music. The trail joined a road not long after, where these vehicles all came roaring by in a parade of 8. It was Saturday, so everyone was out doing their thing. It just happened to differ from mine…and created a lot of dust. The upside of lots of people out on a weekend is that it was easy to get water. I stopped to talk to some hunters that were just returning to their truck and they offered water from their 5 gallon jug. This was great, since I didn’t bother to collect any from the last creek and it was another 5 miles to a cache.
Near the top of Montana Mountain, the trail resumed, switchbacking down to a wash and then a canyon. I followed this most of the way to the highway, stopping once to get more water from the cache. My feet really hurt, especially the area where I pulled the cactus spine out. It was swollen and rubbing against my shoe.
It was 5:30 pm by the time I got to the highway going into Superior. The sun was just setting. A few days before, I got in touch with a pair of trail angels in the small town of Superior and they offered to host me. I sent them a few messages on my way to the highway, but they hadn’t replied. Then I realized that my texts hadn’t gone through, so I called instead. MJ graciously offered to come pick me up. She was only a few miles away and there in minutes.
MJ and Al retired and moved all the way from Minnesota in 2017. They were still adjusting to their radically different lifestyle and accidentally became trail angels. They learned of the trail and about trail angels when a hiker walked past their house on his way to the dollar store. MJ struck up a conversation with him and the rest was history. They’d been hosting for a little over a year and a half and were very enthusiastic about it.
They invited me into their home, where they had a very professional set-up for hikers. There were organized and labeled hiker boxes, loaner clothes, spare food, and tons of toiletries for hikers to use in the spare bathroom. MJ offered to start dinner and I countered by offering to buy their dinner at their favorite restaurant. They seemed touched by this and gladly accepted. I think it’s only fair and a nice way for hikers to show their gratitude. This also helps support local businesses. We went to an Asian restaurant, Jade Cafe. MJ was friends with the chef/owner Lucy. I got orange chicken and it was very good and filling.
Back at the house, I could barely keep my eyes open. MJ treated me to fresh baked bread and brownies. Then I was really stuffed and even more tired. We had a nice conversation about their old farm but I had to excuse myself to go to bed. It was 9 pm, way past my bedtime.