279.4 miles hiked
I’m awake in the middle of the night from wild dreams. The motel fan is blowing in the dark, I open the notes app on my phone and write some dialogue for my next book. Bits of this book are always coming to me at random times, started coming to me in 2016 when I was trimming weed in Oregon, high, listening to The Who. I’ve never thought up the whole plot of a book at once like this. I can’t wait to start working on it, after I finish The Sunset Route.
I fall back asleep, wake again when it’s light out. Slow morning in the motel on our phones. We can’t leave town until my new pack arrives today, can’t pick up our boxes in Greer until Monday. Commence pleasurable, if expensive, molasses pace.
The Mexican place across the street opens at eleven so we checkout and drag our things there, order huge plates of fajitas. We can’t finish everything so I put mine and Muffy’s leftovers both in foil and roll it like a burrito for dinner. Muffy and I have a hard talk. Both our summers, after this, are uncertain. Neither of us is quite sure what the best choice is, if we should do our own things in different parts of the country until autumn or if the missing would crush us. We’re getting better at communicating when the feelings run high, though. We try really hard. Neither of us grew up with any examples of how to love or communicate in a healthy way. We love each other a lot, and we want to do a good job. We’re teaching ourselves.
“Should we meditate?” Says Muffy. It’s a running joke that if we just started meditating, it would solve everything. We’re sitting in some scratchy weeds in an empty lot behind the Mexican restaurant, the sun roasting us. Just then my phone pings- my package was delivered!
“Oops, no time to meditate now,” I laugh. I guess we’ll have to struggle for another day.
An hour later we’re in starbucks so that Muffy can grab one last coffee before we hitch back to the trail. She pours it into her gatorade bottle, where it looks like cow pond water. A woman and her teenage daughter strike up a conversation with us. Moments later they offer us a ride back to the trail. Amazing! People are so kind?!
We took our own DIY dirt road route into Show Low, and it doesn’t really make sense to hike out the same way we came in so we’re starting where the route crosses Hwy 60, which means we’ll miss about 5 miles of singletrack. Sorry, Tree and Brett! Don’t be disappointed.
It’s 3:30 when we start hiking. Molasses pace has been achieved. Dusty meandering single track leads us through the forest and dumps us, after six miles, into an area just north of Pinetop-Lakeside, next to a super walmart. This area is the other resupply option, besides Show Low, in this section. We chose Show Low because it was bigger and had cheap motels, but now I see that this area would’ve been fine too. There are a bunch of restaurants, and even a safeway. We go to none of these but walk a bit farther along the route to Show Low lake campground, where we only intend to get water and then stealth camp nearby but the picnic tables lure us in and next thing we know we’re cooking our dinners at a picnic table and happily pitching our shelter for the night. I think if I did this route again, and didn’t want to pay for a motel in Show Low, this campground would work just fine. They even have showers.
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 $3,325- day 23 from the MRT will go up on this blog when his fundraiser reaches $3,400. Let’s help Francis get the support he needs! Click here to check it out. And thank you! 😀