Sunday, March 31st, 2019
As we were packing up, two section hikers walked by. Apparently we beat them to their final destination and they decided to backtrack to camp. Sorry ladies!
We saw some more nice views as we slid down the steep, gravel forest roads to the bottom.
When we got there, we walked by some very fragrant flower bushes before we found ourselves out front of High Jinks Ranch.
This historic site was once owned by Buffalo Bill Cody, and used to be a Bed and Breakfast that catered to hikers. It is currently up for sale, but they still provide their water spigot to hikers in the meantime. We decided to fill our water bottles there, and hide in the shade to eat lunch.
Upon leaving, nature was calling me, so I told Frisbee I’d meet him at the trailhead after doing my business. Given the thorny vegetation (and the urgency!), I was well off the trail, but visible to anyone passing by. I doubted anyone would be hiking through, so I didn’t stress it.
Shortly after covering my cat hole, I heard voices and rushed back to the trail to avoid any awkward glances. Of course, my trekking pole that I had hooked to my pack got tangled in everything along the way so I approached the trail with all the elegance and grace of a rhinoceros. After saying hello to the three surprisingly un-startled, day hikers, I booked it to American Flag Trailhead to meet up with Frisbee.
He had been in touch with Marney, a trail angel who owns the Chalet Village Motel in Oracle, and we were meeting her at Highway 77. She picked us up for free, and told us that this year had apparently had a high injury rate. We were feeling blessed.
After asking about Gnat, she informed us with wide eyes that she was camped outside of the motel after losing some toenails. I’m no stranger to losing toenails, so I guess I lacked much of a reaction. Unfortunately for Gnat, one of them had gotten infected, so she had been taken to Urgent Care to get antibiotics before getting dropped off at Marney’s place.
At first Marney told us there weren’t any chalets available. We were heartbroken. We had been looking forward to staying in one since the start of our hike, but you can’t reserve one until the day of your arrival. After reviewing the books, she realized that someone had made reservations twice, one under their trail name, and again under their actual name. We were in luck!
She gave us the tour of the grounds which included a massive hiker box with tons of items for the taking. Then we saw Gnat who was soaking her feet in Epson Salt out back.
“I know! I know! Go on! Call me a yellow blazer! I’m still hiking, but I’m not going backwards!”
She had us laughing. We had told her a couple days prior what a yellow blazer was, which is someone who skips sections of trail by hitching or driving around them. We teased her, told her how happy we were to know she was okay, then headed to our room where we propelled our gear in every direction.
It was time to eat! We walked to Casa Rivera’s Mexican Restaurant where we ate some amazing, but spicy burritos, then returned to shower and do laundry. We happily lounged around the room, drinking coffee into the late hours of the night, doing a whole lot of nothing. It was great!
16.3 miles (26.2 km)
Monday, April 1st, 2019
It was our first Zero Day (day of hiking zero miles) on the Arizona Trail, and we were loving our stay at the Chalet Village Motel in Oracle. After grubbing down massive breakfast burritos that I was unable to finish, it was time to do some hiker chores.
We resupplied at Dollar General and Marney was nice enough to pick us up so we wouldn’t have to lug everything back.
She even let Frisbee fill his empty eyedropper bottle with bleach. He decided that he wanted to ditch his Sawyer filter and bleach his water from here on out. He created his own little filter with a bottle cap and a reusable coffee filter to get rid of the floaters. I will be sticking to my Sawyer!
Marney’s husband Jim also does his share of helping out hikers. He drove us to the post office so we could bounce a box forward. The two of them would head out to set out some water caches along the trail. The next stretch of trail had very limited and desirable water sources. She mentioned that some of the sources look like “pea soup.” No thanks!
Aside from munching on leftover burritos, we ate donuts, and drank chocolate milk and coffee in our room most of the evening. We also spent a bit of time hanging out with Jill, aka ‘Stretch’ who was staying next door. We gave her a pack shake down, although she had already done a great job of keeping her pack weight down, and she showed us the dehydrated meals she had prepared back at home which her wife mailed to her. Same as before, we lounged in our room into the wee hours of the night before falling asleep.
0 miles (0 km)