Mogollon Rim Trail day 13: burn


Mileage: 18

170 miles hiked

6 miles into our day the Arizona trail leaves the Highline trail, and we stay on the Highline trail. In our 18 miles on the AZT we didn’t see any AZT hikers, but we did see lots of footprints. We wave goodbye to the nice tread, the campsites, and the well graded switchbacks, and step back into the unknown of the MRT. What even is anything?

We packed four days of food for this 70 mile section. Maybe that’s too much food. Maybe it’s too little. Hard to know. It really depends on the amount of rocks on the trail, their size and general nature. The cut of their jib.

We enter a large burn, an old one where green manzanita grows from red dirt against a clean blue sky and the blackened snags of oak trees dot the landscape. It’s bright here, and warm, and water runs in every drainage, still, as we continue to contour below the rim. The trail has been eroded by cows, water and other forces of nature into a narrow ditch, or a jumble of rocks, or else fades away completely in the yellow grass. There are stretches of good tread too, and the occasional stand of ponderosas with their cool shade. I eat caffeinated gummies. Elk run away from me. My blisters burn like fire.

The going is slower again now that we’ve left the AZT, for sure. Although tomorrow- who knows? Maybe faster. Maybe even slower. I’m not here to form attachments. Or at least, I try not to. I carry enough food to be safe and I do the best that I can.

Camp is next to a busy stream. We pitch our shelter on a patch of ground loamy with last years’ fallen leaves and thick with fiddleheads. Muffy has reception, and she shows me pictures of dogs on instgram. We’ve been making up lots of stories about what our three dogs are up to with our dogsitter, who is also our housesitter. Definitely smoking from a bong. Eating lots of pizza crusts. Jumping on the bed. These visuals please us greatly.

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 $2,485- day 14 from the MRT will go up on this blog when his fundraiser reaches $2,500 Let’s help Francis get the support he needs! Click here to check it out. And thank you! 😀