The Arizona Trail: Part 19

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

We made the short hike from our beautiful camp site, down to Highway 188 in Roosevelt to try and catch a hitch to Tonto Basin, where the resupply would be cheaper with more variety.

We would soon catch a ride with a couple, Michael and Lee. They passed us at first, but told us they decided to turn around since they didn’t have the kids with them, and could squeeze us in. They’re used to having their five children in the car. They were on their way to visit family in Payson, a town we’d be heading to later on in our hike. We got dropped off at the IGA grocery store, which also was an Ace Hardware store and had a small restaurant in the back.

Frisbee has been craving pancakes, but was disappointed when he didn’t see it listed on the menu on the board. We ate, charged our devices, then decided to walk to Dollar General since the IGA didn’t have a great selection. After resupplying, we caught a ride back to the IGA from a couple driving a bread truck. They were heading over there anyway for a delivery, and were very interested in our hike.

We wanted to get lunch before returning to the trail. This time we grabbed the paper menu and Frisbee realized that they actually did have pancakes. So of course, that’s what he ordered. I went with a turkey, green chili, and cheese sandwich.

Before we could get our thumb out, a guy named JR, accompanied by his 8 year old English Pointer named Tara, offered us a ride. JR was quite a character! He claimed to have gotten a masters degree in environmental science, been a lawyer, and also guessed people’s ages and weights at the fair. His guess was pretty close when it came to my age, just a few years off. Frisbee was happy when JR reduced his age by a decade. He was a self professed doomsday prepper and “Buddhist” (since he no longer hunts or goes fishing), and a conspiracy theorist. As he cracked open a beer, he told us that solar flares were going to put us in an ice age by the year 2040, and that the planes flying above us were dropping “chem trails”. You meet all sorts of people while hitchhiking!

He dropped us off at the trailhead and we made the 1,000 foot climb up. It was another really hot day and the wind was kicking. We took a short break by the radio tower then continued onward.

We walked through tall grasses, then had a water break in the shade before climbing another 1,000 feet.

The wind gusts got stronger as we approached Mills Ridge trailhead. I thought I might blow away!

We took advantage of the water cache that was left there, then finished the climb through wildflowers before hiking down again to Buckhorn Creek.

When I got there, I met hiking cousins, Wags and Frenchie. We decided to join them, posted right next to the creek for the night. After setting up our tent, we saw headlamps glowing in the distance. Shortly after, Rosey and Gerber rolled in! They decided to cowboy camp right behind us.

8.8 miles (14.2 km)

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