Mogollon Rim Trail day 15: thorn


Mileage: 11.5

200.5 miles hiked

It rains a little all night, or is it dripping, I wake up to pee and the air is cold, damp, I sleep again tangled in my bag, have anxiety dreams about my dogs- they’re at a party. They’re drinking too much. How will I get them home?

Breakfast is the cold leftovers of last nights’ rice noodle and instant refried bean slop. I pregamed too hard on the chips, wasn’t able to finish my dinner. Now I’ve gotta finish it before I can use my pot to heat water for tea. It tastes pretty good tho.

The trail this morning is beautiful; sunshine, slickrock and ponderosas, good tread. Contouring in and out of drainages just below the rim.

The last of the Highline trail. It ends mid morning at a trailhead and henceforth the MRT follows the “Military Sinkhole Trail” which should, per the maps, wrench us straight up to the rim. It does. I am climbing slow, huffing and puffing. Still good tread though.

I pop out on the rim with its sweeping vistas of green mountain ridges and the glints of small towns far below and Muffy is there, in the pine needles in the shade.

She’s got something in the ball of her foot. Actually, this thing has been in her foot for days. She can’t see the thing, just the tiny hole that indicates its presence. Walking with the thing, says Muffy, feels like stepping on a hot rock. Muffy has her shoe and sock off. She touches the ball of her foot where the thing is, and puss oozes out. Fuck!

“I think it’s infected,” says Muffy.

We’re about 11.5 miles from town, a small summer home community called Forest Lakes Estates. It’s noon. Muffy’s considering hitching the rest of the way in so she doesn’t have to walk on the hot puss rock. I could finish the last 11.5 miles of the day, and meet her there. We open google maps and start looking at motel options (there is one) restaurants (none) and stores (a small general store). We realize that the general store closes at 4. With no restaurants, this means that if I get in after 4 I will have no food to eat for dinner but the handful of rice crackers and the single kind bar (ugh) that will be left in my bag.

I guess we’re both hitching in. We walk a few more miles through the forest along the rim to where the route crosses the highway and put out our thumbs. I’ll hitch back and hike these last miles before the next section. It’s hot, suddenly. No one will pick us up but Muffy sweet talks a young woman in the visitors center parking lot and suddenly we’ve got a ride. The woman drives a sports car with a red leather interior. She’s got long manicured nails. She lives in a town called Snowflake. She’s 22 and has two kids.

The general store in Forest Lakes Estates is kind of a dream. Bagged baby kale, hummus, unsweetened almond milk, cooked rice in a bag, avocados, salsa, instant refried beans. Cold la croix by the can. What is this place? The motel is… kind of a dump. Our room smells like someone sprayed a bunch of cheap perfume in a hot car. One good lamp and one broken lamp, a clogged tub. At least the window opens. We heat our beans in the microwave, mash guacamole in our sea to summit cups and suddenly we’ve invented chipotle.

“Surgery time,” I say after dinner, as I heat the sewing needle that lives in my floss over the flame of my mini bic. We use my flashlight app as an operating light and Muffy and I take turns poking at the hole in her foot, squinting, wishing we had microscope eyes, saying “there’s something in there, I can definitely see something in there!” When all we can see is a speck, or was that a shadow?

I pull the needle back and Muffy squeezes the hole. Suddenly a small orange thorn shoots out. We shriek with delight.

“From when I stepped on that prickly pear!” Says Muffy.

We are both thrilled beyond belief.

There’s no laundry at the motel, and I feel too sleepy to try to use the laundry at the RV park under cover of night. We lay in the bed, fading in and out, as the wall heater clicks off and on.

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 $2,600- day 16 from the MRT will go up on this blog when his fundraiser reaches $2,700 Let’s help Francis get the support he needs! Click here to check it out. And thank you! 😀