Daily Miles: 7
Total Miles: 299
Today was the kind of day where everything just seems to fall in place. We stayed in our sleeping bags an extra 45 minutes after our alarms went off, because we were planning to head into Morenci. It is kinda nice when we can have a slower start to our day.
The guidebook suggests that hikers planning to go into Morenci take a spur trail (dirt road actually) 6 miles to a paved road where the hitching is possible, instead of trying to hitch about 24 miles later when the trail actually crosses the road. So, we planned to walk the 6 miles, but after we walked by the first (and possibly only) house on the road (about half a mile into our walk), a truck left the house and came towards us. The guy stopped and rolled his window down so we could ask if he was going into Morenci. Turns out he was taking his kids in to school in Morenci and was happy to give us a ride. We couldn’t believe our luck!
He dropped us off right by the cafe in town where we got a really good breakfast. Morenci is perfect for hikers because everything is located in one small square…restaurants, a grocery store, the motel, the library, and even a bowling alley!
After breakfast, we went to the grocery store and bought food for our next section. Buying our resupply along the trail is never easy for us, and today was just the same. We (more so SweetPea) just wander the aisles hoping for inspiration. That is probably a big reason for why we tend to mail resupply boxes to ourselves…it is just easier for us.
We sorted our food at the tables outside of the grocery store and then headed over to the library. The guidebook mentions that there are two people in town willing to give rides to hikers back to the trail. One of the people is the librarian in town. We stopped in and talked with Holly who was really sweet. She has been helping hikers get back to the trail for years. She was going to be working all day, but called her husband and he was willing to drive us back at noon. So, we hung out at the library, picked up sandwiches to go from the store’s deli, and we’re ready to go when Holly’s husband, Santiago, showed up.
He drove us all the way back to the trail (including the six mile spur), which we hadn’t really expected since it was a ways out on a windy dirt road. Santiago was really fun to talk with and before we knew it, we were back at the trail. We couldn’t believe how smoothly everything went today. We planned to lose a lot of the day walking the dirt road out and back, when in reality, we hardly walked any of it.
We were back at the trail by 1:00pm ready to continue on. After a mile or so, the trail came to Eagle Creek where the trail started a nine mile criss-cross of the creek. By the time we finish with the creek, we will have forded it around fifty times. We tried counting the number of times we forded it, but we kept losing count. Our shoes were constantly wet, so we know it was a lot of times.
The water was actually a bit deep sometimes, getting over our knees. Sometimes the current was a bit strong, and we even saw some fish swimming by our feet as we walked through the water…pretty cool!
We saw one bighorn sheep this afternoon. He was a ways away, so hopefully we’ll see some closer up tomorrow. We heard that there are a lot along the creek and we have more creek miles tomorrow morning.
This afternoon we met a group of seven guys from Tucson who are on a 7 day off-road trip. Each guy had his own quad and they were doing a 700 mile loop through AZ. They seemed to be having a great time and it looked like a fun way to experience the outdoors. We joked with them about how packed each person’s quad was…they had cots to sleep on, chairs to sit and many other luxuries.
We ended up stopping around 4:30pm, when we got to a marked (on the map) campsite. The next marked campsite was over five miles away, which we figured would be hard for us to make before dark). The ground in this area has been really rocky and we knew the canyon was going to get more narrow, so we figured it would be hard to find a campsite.
So, we spent the rest of the afternoon doing a test setup of SweetPea’s poncho tarp (we hope it doesn’t rain on this trip, but you never know), washing up at the creek and just relaxing. We’ll get to sleep early tonight, and hopefully be well-rested for a full day tomorrow.