We departed our Royal Flush Suites early in the morning to ensure we wouldn't startle any folks who may need to use the facilities which we slept semi-comfortably in. While it was warm and flat, the concern of someone walking in at any moment prevented us from sleeping soundly.
As we pushed the door open, we quickly realized no one was around. We were in a cloud with fresh snow on the ground. Yep, fresh snow.
The post office opened at 8:30, and we walked the hefty 200 feet across the street to receive our packages and prepare for the next stretch.
I got an extra drone battery and some additional charging devices sent here, so we gathered our gear and food to prep, and Andy sprawled out on the small reception area in the PO to package his food.
The woman running the PO was a wonderful, kind, and funny gal who kept us entertained as we swapped stories and got everything together.
Shortly after, we made our way to the Mt. Lemmon General Store. What a Mecca for any hiker or passerby. They have all types of fuel for our stove, lots of goodies and treats, and again, the kindest folks you could meet. The woman there even helped us out with small items that we couldn't find for sale, but she was able to rummage in the garage for.
By the time we had gotten some chocolate and prickly pear treats for the road, we went back up the trail (which runs through the town) and to the Sawmill Run restaurant.
We finally had our cheeseburgers. And cheesy fries. And pie. And five cups of coffee. The gals who worked there were kind enough to let us post up for a few hours while we ensured our batteries were up and running. It also began to sleet/snow once again.
My eyes were puffy, and our hands and feet swollen, so we decided to take it easy and take a "nearo".
When thru-hiking, there's random lingo to describe what you're up to. A "zero" is a day off, where your rest and recoup. A "nearo" is, you guessed it, when you continue on the trail, but only after lazily spending half the day resting.
It was 2 o'clock by the time we got back on the real dirt trail after a bit of road walking through the town.
We only planned to hike our 5-6 miles, but our minds were mush and we misread our maps, and no water sources were in sight. So we pushed 12.5 miles to High Jinks Ranch which has water, and rest.
HJR is an epic little historical spot once run by Wild Bill Cody -- an infamous Arizonan. The couple who are the caretakers here were two of the most kind and hospitable people we've met, and offered whatever they could to give us a great sleep in a warm dry room with an epic view of the mountains.
Donation based, it was cheaper that any motel, but infinitely more beautiful and restful. Especially since it's directly on the trail, and we won't get sucked into the vortex of a town. Not only that, but we got our first showers in two weeks! How amazing that felt.
We did, however, night hike about 45 minutes to get here, as the sunset stopped us in our tracks and required filming and photos. What an amazing thing to experience on the side of the mountain we travelled.
Off in the distance, we even saw the Mars test facility, which is a biodome to replicate conditions on Mars to see how humans may fare for long term survival (unfortunately, that particular endeavor failed).
Three days of night hikes, hard miles, getting turned around in the snow, and frustrated with our mileage (doing miles that don't count towards your end goal is always no fun), we had been pushing ourselves. We could feel the effects and needed a solid nights sleep to continue the miles.
So now we rest, and soundly sleep (we hope) to continue our push north. Thank you High Jinks Ranch!