Saturday, April 6th, 2019
It’s usually a process for me to get out of my sleeping bag in the morning, but we got a very colorful sunrise which I wanted to get out and appreciate.
We were pretty dehydrated. We planned poorly on the amount of water we packed out with us from the Gila River, and there weren’t any water caches, but we’d live. We only had a short hike to our hitch point to get into the town of Superior. During that time, we had some nice scenery, hit our 300th mile mark, and we’d meet two cool hikers, Sweetpea and Beardoh who had a number of trails under their belts and were hiking the Mogollon Rim trail.
Hitching from the trailhead wasn’t really an option. It was the morning, so most of the people were just arriving, not leaving. So we pushed a little further, hopped the flattened barb wire fence, then started thumbing it from highway 60.
A guy who went by the name of Stucky picked us up. He was riding with his dog Buddy, and was a prison guard. He dropped us at the incredibly busy Circle K gas station, and wished us luck on our journey.
As soon as we walked through the doors, Gnat came running up to us. She was overjoyed and relieved to see us since we only carry two and a half liters of water at a time, and she knew we had to be suffering through that last section. A guy who drops water caches at the hiker box, which was empty when we got to it last night, had just dropped more water off in the morning since Gnat met him and told him about us. She was still going to hike the trail, but was taking a break to explore the outskirts of town with a friend she met who went by the name Happy Endings.
We went straight to the coolers after talking to her to grab several drinks. I left with a Naked juice, orange soda and a chocolate milk, all of which I’d consume within 15 minutes. Happy Endings gave us a ride downtown since we were looking to grab some breakfast. He looked familiar and had apparently hiked the Appalachian Trail the same year we did in 2016. I suppose he went by a different trail name.
We walked into Porter’s Cafe to grab breakfast. Apparently they weren’t serving breakfast for the day. They were catering for a funeral for a fallen firefighter later in the day and were only serving lunch. The waitress kindly directed us to a place she used to work at that served breakfast, so we started walking. We walked through a residential neighborhood on the way and an adorable pit bull followed us some of the way.
When we got to the restaurant, nobody working acknowledged us, or the 4 other patrons who walked in right before us. Two of the waitresses thought cleaning the windows was priority over customers, while the other two were serving others. We waited a while, then decided to just go back to Porter’s and eat lunch. Our hiker hunger couldn’t wait any longer.
We got a delicious burger with pepper jack cheese and green chili. We told the waitress it wasn’t a big deal, but she called the other restaurant anyway to complain, and they told her we never went inside. Funny.
We ate some nachos after our burgers and saw the funeral procession. The waitress told us it was for the chief of the fire department and that he died unexpectedly at the age of 65 of a heart attack. He was well known locally, and it showed! There were a lot of people attending. The guy who had been playing live music at the restaurant walked out to the street to play “Amazing Grace” on the Peruvian flute as the cars drove to the cemetery.
We walked back to the Circle K to charge our devices and were reacquainted with Gummy Bear, who walked through the door and sat near us. He told us about his “special diet” while eating a pint of ice cream without a utensil. He apparently sleeps on the trail a lot because he’s baked most of the time. He was a funny guy and it was great hanging out with him.
We ate more food, then caught a hitch from a couple driving in a truck. They took us to the trailhead across the highway from the one we left from. This turned out to be the wrong one. The truck drove off before we were able to process this, so we walked to the road to stick out our thumbs for a second time. Our next hitch was with a couple in a Fiat who kindly took us back to the place we hitched from. We located the tunnel and were finally back on trail.
We only hiked a little further to Hewitt Station trailhead where we walked a few yards away from before setting up.
9.3 miles (15.0 km)