13 miles (85.2)
My night was sprinkled with yippings of coyotes in the distance, another epic show from the stars amd beautiful weather. I wake before sunrise and manage to get out of camp by 615! Record!
I trot along taking photos and as I come to a junction where I search for my map to see of there is an alternate (the trail does a useless loop around a hill) I see someone coming from behind me on the trail. A human! A hiker human! I haven’t seen anyone in over 2 days! Other hikers exist! Amaaaazing!
“Hi!” I yell out “Are you real??”
“Hi!” The hiker human yells back “Yes! I am a real other person!”
I see that shortly behind him is another hiker. 2 real hikers!!! Holy poo it’s a party out here.
It’s Wes and Stumblin Beef. I saw them briefly on day 2 as they passed on the road being dropped off at the monument. They are real proper hikers (unlike pretend me) and have been smashing out 25s to get a nice break in Lordsburg.
We chat for a little, the Wes is speedy so he hikes ahead and Stumblin Beef catches up. Hiking and chatting on a wide enough trail for 2 (a friendship trail!)! Amaaazing!
I can tell I won’t be hiking with these guys for long. Speedy McSpeedikins.
I take a cross country route leaving Stumblin on the trail and find Wes hiding in some shade “Did you beat up my brother?” He asks. “Yep! Dumped him in the well!” “Ok!”
In another 1.5 miles it’s the last water cache, with its tiny cache box shade. I guzzle water, spend too much time reading through the log book and make the mistake of taking my phone off airplane mode.
BEEEP BLEEEEEEEP DING DING DING LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME IMPORTANT THINGS ALL THE THINGS!!!
It turns into a frenzy of dings and chimes and beeps as all the messages from Facebook, whatsapp, gmail and messenger come flooding in. I have a quick look through but my phone is at 12% so I turn it off and pack up.
The boys catch up and hike out shortly behind me. I plan on taking the Ley route into town, but after a couple of miles it seems boring on the road so I take a jeep road across and find the trail. Dumb move. Lots of up and down. Yes more interesting ( I see my first deer of the trail!!! but I realise this will make my walk to town at least 1/2h slower. That’s half hour extra in the sun and without cold things in my hands.
The lasy couple of miles is on the road into town, passing zillions of cans, broken glass, barking dogs. There are lots of abandoned businesses and houses- I wonder what has happened that everyone has left?
Finally I see the beautiful sight of the econolodge!
Then the town twilight zone happens. Time disappears and I have no clue where it goes. Pack-splosion all over the room, shower, walking aimlessly to laundry, to store to buy detergent, back to laundry, resupply, eat some things, pack things, unpack things, lose things, find things.
Then it’s late and I haven’t done my blog or fixed my tent or performed surgery on my feet. So I do all that and it’s waaaay past hiker midnight (hiker midnight is 9pm) so the earplugs go in, the ac goes on, my head falls in love with the pillow (pillow!!!) and I drift into the land of nod.