Our First Hitch!

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Day 20

It's Presidents' Day. Breakfast spot is closed. The other cafe doesn't open until later in the day (which we were really bummed we missed for dinner last night, as Porters is supposed to be the spot).

We microwaved water, and made our camp breakfast. In our motel room. Oof.

The good part about that, is we got a good early start to the day, and were out by 8:15.

It was time for our first hitch-hike of the AZT!

By this point on any other trail, we would have hitched nearly as many miles as we hiked, to get into towns and resupply. However, the need hasn't been there as so many trail friendly businesses offer shuttle services, and we've walked through one of the towns we resupplied at.

We walked to the edge of town, and found a nice and safe spot for someone to pull over. 15 minutes in, a kind woman and her family stopped to pick us up.

The sweetest woman you could find, with adorable little grandchildren, gave us the lift a few miles out of town to the trailhead.

By 9:15, we were hiking again -- earlier than some days we wake up directly on the trail! Yippee. Always great when you get a smooth and easy morning.

The first part of the day was easy and pretty. Cool and breezy, but the clouds had parted and were no longer threatening a downpour.

Because of all the rain, however, the river we followed was swollen with rushing water, erosion, and debris.

For many miles, we essentially had to play Frogger, where we would jump from point to point in order to cross the raging water below (and hopefully not slip and get all of our freshly cleaned gear wet, again).

Even with a day of rest, that didn't help the pain in my ankle, and the tendon once again started to ache. The hopping definitely didn't help

Then I got something in my eye, which was impossible to flush out, and made me look as if I had pink eye, or was crying.

Another tough day, but so it goes.

On a bright (orange) note, we met another AZCC crew that managed the trail maintenance in the Tonto National Forest. If you recall, we met their Coronado National Forest counterpart way back when early in the trail.

Turns out the storm washed out a bunch of trees, making it impassable for equestrian riders on the trail, so they were out working hard to clear the mass amounts of debris, and reroute the trail safely. As we were thanking them for all their hard work, once of the members pointed to one of their crew members and said thru-hiker!

Woo! Our first time meeting an AZT thru-hiker.

As we rolled up, she shouted "hiker trash!". At that moment, I knew we would be fast friends, and the AZT wasn't her first thru.

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Hiker Trash is what the long distance trail community affectionally call themselves and other thru-hikers. We are hikers, but look like homeless, filthy, vagabond vagrants. Thus, we are hiker trash.

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We stopped and chatted with NoDay (aka Amanda, as Dusty and Camel is to myself and Andy). We got some valuable insight to what lays ahead, and just chatted hiker trash talk with a fellow thru. It was wonderful, and eventually we had to trek on.

The rest of the day was once again smooth. And then we entered the Superstitions, a beautiful part of Tonto National Forest.

We climbed up to over 5200 feet and setup camp along a raging river. Everything has a ton of extra water. It's even flowing on the trail in many spots.

The air is dense with moisture. As are the trees and downed branches. If you recall, we have no fuel (Superior didn't stock any we could use), and we must rely on a campfire for cooking until we get our fuel can tomorrow which we sent to Roosevelt Lake Marina.

For an hour and a half, we tended to the smallest of embers from small twigs. Fanning it just enough to almost (not really) boil enough water for dinner. 

We were mostly successful, and hopped into our tent to eat as it's cold, and not enough dry wood to make a warming fire.

Now we are bundled up in our sleeping bags trying to keep warm. The inside of our tent is already super wet from the moisture in our breath and lingering in the air. But we will sleep soundly.