Wednesday Mar 31st, 2021, 0610-1000
Marijilda canyon to Safford, mm 230
I’ll make this a short one since this was mainly just a town day…pretty boring. We had about 10 miles of dirt roads to walk in the morning, which quickly heated up under the fully exposed sun. I felt like we were walking through a wasteland on the outskirts of town. There were the typical revolting scenes…illegal trash dumps, charred remains of waste, broken bottles and beer cans, and impromptu target ranges with spent shells strewn all over. Am I painting a bad enough picture? These are the realities of off-road vehicle access and mismanagement of lands in such close proximity to people.
It was a disheartening walk, not to mention the roads were in bad shape, all torn up and with tons of rocks. My feet did not like them…I had several hot spots after a relatively short distance. This was my least favorite part of the whole trip so far. Unfortunately these connector pieces were a necessity to get from one mountain range to another. And we couldn’t just call for a ride, not on the 4wd parts. The views towards the Pinaleños were still stunning, at least. What a mountain. Hard to believe I walked the length of that monster.
We walked some more paved road all the way into Safford, which wasn’t much to speak of either. To be fair, we didn’t even really give it a try. We only saw the outskirts and the chain box store district. We stayed at the Motel 6, which was close to the Safeway, Walmart, Home Depot, McDonald’s, and Dollar General. This pretty much encompasses it all in terms of hiker needs in a relatively small city.
We did the usual chores, like washing our clothes in the bathtub since there was no guest laundry on sight and we didn’t want to go in search of one. We hung stuff to dry on chairs we set up in the parking space in front of our room…after all, we didn’t have a car to fill the space. Then we went in search of food. We got a $6 special at the Arby’s… double gyros and they tasted pretty good. Hiker hunger setting in.
With bellies full, we could more safely go resupply shopping. (Never shop when hungry, especially with hiker hunger). We had decided to avoid a long hitch and town stop in the next stretch and so had to procure 4.5 days of food. I bought too much even still and especially since we had a refrigerator in the hotel room. I had a bit of a freak-out moment in the Safeway, realizing it was maybe the last real grocery store we would see until Albuquerque. So I also bought a bunch of fruit.
That night I got a message from one of the guys we met near the Gila, in the group of 3 GET hikers. He and his friend (the first-time thru-hiker) were sadly getting off the trail and were in town. The trail had been too hard on their feet and I certainly understood that. Snackbar, the 3rd hiker was forging on, so hopefully he’s doing ok. We wanted to meet up but unfortunately I had already gotten way too comfortable in my bed and they were staying over a mile away. I walk thousands of miles on a thru-hike but I hate walking any miles once in town. Motel rooms are for putting up your feet and that’s what I did all night…and eat fruit.