Mogollon Rim Trail day 27: The calm before the storm


Mileage: 13.8

350.2 miles hiked

I hardly sleep, for the second night in a row. Why is civilization like this? Four walls, the hum of electric wires, the small glow of charging electronics. Air that doesn’t move. The sense that I’m missing out on something, that something is happening somewhere without me. That I’m a failure. Worse, that I’m not needed. Who needs me? I think about my dogs.

In the morning there’s coffee, and that helps. We’re at the post office right when it opens at 8:30. Our boxes, at last! We were going to pack 6 days of food because this 90 mile section is supposedly brutal, unvetted, trail lost in blowdowns, canyons full of debris or a river that’s too high. The hardest section of the whole route, per its creators. In the end, though, we decide to bring just 5 days of food. We’re getting stronger, this section can’t be that bad, right? Only one way to find out. The forecast also says some rain is moving in. It may or may not rain a little bit or a lot every day, or not at all. We’re climbing up to 9 thousand feet, so the rain might actually be snow. The more time I spend outside the more I realize how bad humans are at predicting the weather. I bet it won’t ever rain at all!

We eat one last breakfast in the diner that was once the log home of the original homesteaders here, in 1880, which means that they were the original white land thieves in town and probs directly involved with general Crook and the slaughter of the Apaches who had been chilling here for thousands of years, and also they were directly involved in cutting all the forests here as fast as they possibly could so that they could build their familial fortune and hoard wealth at the expense of everyone else and the future of the planet, but I digress.

It’s 10 a.m. when we start the climb out of town on the leafy trail that becomes steep jeep road and then we are back on the MRT, following faded singtrack through burned forest on a ridge, stepping high over the occasional blowdown. The burnt forest becomes intact forest of a conifer I don’t recognize plus large, open meadows, full of tussock grass and swampy with recent snowmelt. I feel loopy and tired, the cortisol of town leaving my body, the stillness of nature drawing me back into myself. Tonight I sleep. We’re walking on the old railroad grade again above a meadow with a small snaking creek in its bottom. Wind gusts, blowing in tomorrows weather. A set change. That storm on its way, maybe.

On the map we see we’re about to lose tree cover for a bit so we camp on the railroad grade, where we can be sheltered from the wind. It’s early, only 4:30, but we don’t mind.

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 $3,800- day 28 from the MRT will go up on this blog when his fundraiser reaches $3,900. Let’s help Francis get the support he needs! Click here to check it out. And thank you! 😀