Debbie and Aaron saw us in the general store. They saw us write a note asking for a ride 30 miles south right back to where we bailed to get food. We said we’d pay 40$.
Debbie and Aaron are hiking types, so when we left, they discussed it and found us down the road. “We will give you a ride!” they said. “Keep your money!”
We’re so lucky to have found Debbie and Aaron. The next day at seven AM they drive us to our spot and tell us everything we could need to know about the area. They LOVE this little section between the Black and Blue rivers so much, they know it like the back of their hands. Debbie is a writer and tells us about the book she’s working on. We all debate the merits of self publishing vs. traditional publishing, the sky is blue and gold outside, and I am happy.
My pack is full with a lot of food and all of my new layers and I’m happy about that too. I’d been so cold and stressed last week, and just like that, I took care of business and fixed the problem. It’s very, very easy as a thru hiker to talk oneself out of getting the things that you need. Every single item for comfort is weight on your pack, so one is constantly debating NEED vs. want. But you know what? Fuck it. I’m almost 40 days into this hike. My back is strong. I can have an extra fleece.
We descend into Raspberry Creek first thing. The terrain is significantly easier today, maybe because it’s warm, maybe because this side of the trailhead is better maintained, maybe because I’ve had time to rest. We stroll casually on pine needle covered path and I zone out. It’s mother’s day, which is a hard day for me because my mom and I do not have a relationship. I wish I didn’t mind, it’s honestly much better for me to autonomously care for myself, but Mother’s Day always feels like a painful barb from the universe. Everyone posts their nice mom pictures and says their nice mom things. I, meanwhile, sit and stew. I remember how hurt I was by my mom. How much shit I’ll probably always have to work through because of it.
But today I’m free! I have no service, I don’t see a single person’s social media. Once we hit the creek, we find a mess of overgrown thorns and blowdowns, with the instructions to make our way down, whatever way provides the path of least resistance. We do just that, making an imaginary trail where there is none. It’s slow going, 1.5 mile an hour terrain and we are scratched, poked, grabbed and prodded by the flora as usual. I slip a lot. I feel clumsy but also like it could be so much worse. It HAS been so much worse. This is like a 3 on the MRT pain scale. It’s slow and it’s fine.
Just after lunch we climb steeply up above the creek, then descend steeply to where the creek opens up and meets the Blue River. All around are sandy plateaus, open rock fields, sage brush. The Blue River is very calm and clear and warm and low. We cross it a few times, and it is fine. Compared to the Black River, the Blue River is a kiddie pool.
Above the Blue, we hit a dirt road. A wide flat thing for easy walking, with perhaps some of the most stunning views we’ve seen since Sedona. Red rock spires! Storm clouds reflecting golden light! Secret caves! Rocks of unbelievable mass!
I eat snacks and I feel high off of all of it. The trail. My love. This fucked up country with its beautiful nature. The universe. So many things.
We’re tired! Our bodies feel ok, we could go farther tonight, but our resupply boxes are to be picked up from the town of Blue in the morning, and the post office doesn’t open until nine. The post office is on trail, and just a few miles away. We decide to camp early, to boil our water for instant refried beans in the sun light and marvel at all we’ve done and how little we have left.
52 more MRT miles ’til dogs. I cannot wait.
📍The Mogollon Rim trail is on Yavapai, Western Apache, Hopi and Hohokum land. I am a grateful guest