Mogollon Rim Trail day 12: the highline trail/AZT

4/21/19

Mileage: 12

152 miles hiked

It’s noon by the time we make it back to the trailhead. We had to lay in bed this morning, make out, pack everything, shit in a toilet one last time, and then of course we had to eat at taco bell. After eating we had to sit in Taco Bell for a long time, drinking our fountain beverages and listening to the locals. We love the locals here. They’re weather worn, curious towards strangers, and they have the aesthetic of people who get dressed in the dark, from memory. They’re rural and working class but not Trumpian. They talked loudly amongst themselves in the Taco Bell while they waited for their doritos tacos; about turkey hunting and their family cabins on the Mogollon Rim. We love Payson.

And then, of course, we had to hitch the 14 miles north to get back to the Pine trailhead. We got a ride from a college student, headed home to Flagstaff. His eyes shone when we told him about long distance hiking. I predict he’ll be on the PCT in the next few years for sure.

It’s noon by the time we start hiking but everything just feels like, really chill today. We’ll be on the Highline trail for most of section three. The highline trail contours just below the rim for days. The highline trail is also the Arizona trail for the first 18 miles, so we’ll be on that for a little while too.

The change is apparent as soon as we step on the trail. Clear, open tread. Gently graded switchbacks. Much signage. Campsites. We can turn our brains off. We can just walk. The Arizona Trail! The trail climbs out of the warm land of scrub oak, settles back into the cool ponderosas. Dear forest! Every few miles the trail contours into a drainage, where a clear steam trickles over it. What is this place?!

We camp at one such stream, pitching our shelter in one of several flat spots that has been trampled in the pine needles beneath the tall ponderosas. I’m getting hungrier- I’m able to eat an entire daiya mac n cheeze for dinner with a salmon packet, and chocolate and some of Muffy’s popcorn after. The fire in me is burning hotter. My guts are slowly turning into that scene in Titanic with all the men in the bottom of the ship, shoveling coal into the furnaces as fast as they can while screaming More coal! More coal!

So it goes.

The cold comes on and I put on all my layers and blow up my neo air, excited. I didn’t sleep much in our motel room but I’m going to sleep here, I know it. Boy howdy.

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 $2,300- day 13 from the MRT will go up on this blog when his fundraiser reaches $2,400. Let’s help Francis get the support he needs! Click here to check it out. And thank you! πŸ˜€