302.4 miles hiked
I often dream that I’m lost in some huge, ancient, labrynthine, falling down house, wandering forgotten corridors and discovering secret rooms, meeting interesting people or alternately, being chased. One house in particular I’ve visited a number of times in my dreams; sometimes friends are living there, in lofts they’ve built of scrap wood or behind curtains of dumpstered velvet, in rooms with peeling wallpaper and antiques left behind from tenants a century ago. Sometimes I’m living in this house. Sometimes I come home and my friends are gone, and strangers are occupying my room, and I can’t find my things. I wander the halls and climb narrow staircases, searching. I move deeper and deeper into the heart of the house. Always there’s a feeling of mourning, of having lost something beautiful and irreplacable forever. An aching, excruciating longing. Tonight I visit this house in my dreams and the people there are strangers but there are scrapbooks left behind by my friends who once lived there, their collages are still on the walls, their knickknacks still line the windowsills. I beg the people in the house to let me look at the scrapbooks, walk through the rooms, touch the items. The people don’t know who I am. They think I’m insane. I don’t care, though.
I wake up feeling sad. It’s the new moon, I’ve got the PreMS. So it goes.
Today we’re climbing slowly up and up, into the White Mountains, where we’ll stay for much of the rest of the trail. First, though, we weave through the residential outskirts of Show Low/Pinetop/Lakeside, walking on paved streets past modular homes with chainlink fences, childrens toys in the high grass, barking dogs. We reach a trailhead and for a while the trail is mud churned up by horse hooves and then hardened into lumpy, impossible shapes so we walk in the woods beside it, grateful to be back in the open ponderosas. By and by the horse mud gives way to good, albeit rocky singletrack, and this alternates with hunks of dirt road as we climb ever higher and the forest grows cooler, and more still.
Lunch is at a wildlife guzzler, the tank full of good clear water with just a little scum on top. We eat shot bloks to motivate, and bits of everything else in our food bags. Then back to the nice trail in the cool forest. It’s even cloudy now, a nice change of pace.
We’re starting to feel stronger. If we go 23 today miles we can camp at Los Burros campground, a primitive campground with picnic tables and a piped spring. I know we can make it.
We’re expecting to have the place to ourselves but there are a bunch of RVs at the campground when we get there. We find an empty spot and have another glorious picnic table experience. What is it about a picnic table? We’re crawling into our sleeping bags when the rumble of a generator starts up, as well as loud talking in the sites near us. Doesn’t everyone go to bed right at sunset?! No? I guess just us.
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 $3,400- day 24 from the MRT will go up on this blog when his fundraiser reaches $3,500 Let’s help Francis get the support he needs! Click here to check it out. And thank you! 😀