What a wonderful night. Warm, comfy, quiet.
We woke up at a bright and early 6:30 to get a jump on the day and start packing. We heard the best cafe in town opened at a surprisingly early 7:30, which we were excited about as we planned to get a full days hike in.
We were quite refreshed, all things considered, and my ankle was feeling a little better, although still fairly swollen. Once we had our stuff ready to go with the exception of a few items to be packed last minute, we walked down to West End Cafe.
A slightly longer walk than we had hoped for, as the main part of town is literally a block long and would take no more than 10 minutes to walk to one end and back. But the cafe was down at the base of town, near the railroad tracks and airstrip (yes, this small random town in Arizona has an airport).
Regardless of the walk (what else do we do with our days), it was well worth our efforts, as it was easily the best breakfast we've had on the trail, and we both agreed, the best we've had in a while.
Now, we can accurately attest to the deliciousness of the restaurant, as we both had two meals - each.
We started off with two eggs, chicken fried steak & gravy, hash browns and toast (biscuit for Andy). Once we devoured that, and three cups of coffee, we decided more food was in order.
Since the eggs were perfectly cooked, I had to have two more. And two sausage patties. And more hash downs. Aaaaand more toast (and of course, more coffee). Andy got French toast and bacon as his second meal (and of course, more coffee).
The kind waitress happily fed our bellies the mass amounts of food we desired, and we struck up a conversation about our travels and the town. We also overheard that the airstrip is a popular spot for folks to fly their single prop planes to from various places around Arizona, as they can fly through the mountains on a nice day trip; most likely more than half the mileage we will hike in over a month.
Even though Andy and I agreed we could easily go for round three, we decided in the interest of time, we should get going back to the trail. So we said our farewells and we're making our way back to the motel.
Once we arrived, I wrapped my ankle with an ace bandage, and we finished up our packing and then Fernando was at our door to take us back to the trail.
Kearny is an extremely Trail friendly town, and the network of business owners and residents work together to ensure travelers have a wonderful experience and easy access to their community. So thank you all, for the rides and hospitality!
Once we got back to the trail, we were off on another full day of hiking. About an hour into it, we saw four single prop planes heading our direction, which we waved to vigorously. Who knows if they actually saw us, but one flew directly over us! The others skirted passed along the valley. So cool.
The rest of the hike wound around the mountain side, following the Gila River. About 13 miles in, we heard a helicopter approaching... as if searching for us. Quickly, we spotted an Apache combat chopper hovering no more than 30 feet off the surface of the river. We could even see the occupants helmets with relative ease. So cool.
Shortly after this second aerial spotting, we ran into a weekend worried - Rick. He was just finishing up a 21 mile day through the canyon which we will be trekking tomorrow. He's done quite a bit of the AZT, and offered some valuable insight of the beauty that lays ahead. He also reaffirmed the massive storm coming through, starting tomorrow morning -- over an inch of rain in 24 hours!
There are three main types of hikers:
1) day walkers -- these are avid hikers who go out for long hikes, but rarely camp.
2) weekend warriors -- those who trek to camp, and camp at different locations each night.
3) thru-hikers -- crazy people, like us.
We finished our day a bit early, at 16 miles, due to lack of water sources ahead, and the uphill to the canyon (I wasn't keen on carrying a ton of water for a dry camp up a mountain with my ankle far from in its prime).
We made our camp a bit early, relaxed, did some more filming and drone work, and prepared our minds for the wet days to come. We're camped on the Gil's River, where it's quite warm and has a nice sound as the river rolls by. Not to mention the cowbell on the bull nearby. Can't decide whether that's nice or will get old quickly. Hopefully, I won't be awake long enough to decide.
We will reach our next destination in four days time, two of which are slated to be quite wet...