Mogollon Rim Trail day 7: rocks



89 miles hiked

I wake just before dawn and light my stove to heat water for tea. Muffy mumbles, stirs, sits up still half asleep. I love it when we go to bed so early that we wake up fully rested just as the first light washes out the night sky. Is there anything better than that?

First thing this morning we’ve got a climb up onto the mesa. The climb is described in the notes as a trail used to move cattle onto the rim. The trail turns out to be rocky, steep, and sometimes overgrown but perfectly usable, and we huff and puff our way up in the early light, stopping to strip off our layers. I lose the trail towards the top and we take a field of boulders up, which is the true test of how Muffy’s ankle is doing today. “No pain!” Muffy announces at the top. The KT tape and the rest were enough. She’s going to be able to hike!

The top of the Mogollon rim at this elevation is… rocky. In fact, if I were to describe the MRT in one word, that’s the one I’d use. Rocky. What kind of rocky, you ask?

All of them.

This morning’s flavor of rocky is cross country through junipers, the ground a scattered field of rough black lava rocks between bread roll and toaster over size, half hidden in dry yellow grass. We’re following “basket cairns” (imagine a cylinder of wire filled with rocks) that mark an old wagon road. I try to imagine driving a wagon over these rocks. With wooden wheels. I really can’t.

All day

A good portion of every day on this trail, so far, has been slow going rocks. I don’t mind- I like learning about an area, becoming intimate with a landscape, and slow is good for that. The rocks really beats up the old feet and ankles, though. It is what it is.

The weather is blustery, clouds racing across the sky like ships, and we stop at cattle ponds, squat at their slick mud edges to gather silty brown water, then dump the water out when we find surprise pools of rainwater in rocky drainages. In the afternoon rock path turns to smooth dirt road and we open our stride, feel the ache in our feet.

I have service and I check the weather- it’s supposed to start raining at 4 p.m. A cold wind whips up and the clouds are really gathering, now. I put on my rain jacket and lean into the wind, turn up the country music on my phone. 4 p.m. finds us at a cattle pond and we wander through the junipers until we find a spot not so convoluted with rocks that it will stop our tent stakes, gather brown water, set up the shelter just as the first drops begin to fall.

I’m using these blog posts to help raise money for Francis, an El Salvadoran refugee who is raising funds for an asylum appeal. You can view his fundraiser here.

Francis’ fundraiser is currently at $1,400- day 8 from the MRT will go up on this blog when his fundraiser reaches $1,600. Let’s help Francis get the support he needs! Click here to check it out. And thank you! 😀