Monday, August 11, 2014

Day 25: Roosevelt Lake

Sunrise was nice!
May 7: The strong winds from the previous evening died into nothing by morning. I didn't sleep very well on the sloped ground, though, having to shift up the hill continually throughout the night as I slid off my ground sheet. But I survived the night. =)

The rough trail of Passage 19 continued, all the way out to Roosevelt Lake. On the steep hillsides, it the scree make it difficult to walk up and down and I slipped more than once--a painful experience for my freshly sprained ankle.

The morning was cool and I didn't need to drink much, which was good since I had very little water on me. I nursed what I did have slowly.

My big excitement for the day was Roosevelt Lake Marina which I expected to hit later in the afternoon. It had a small store which my notes said was good for "short-term resupply." In my terms, that means junk food and drinks and such. I knew I wouldn't find the granola I liked to eat in the morning, and maybe not even the Hamburger Helper I liked for dinner. But that was why I packed in nine days of breakfasts and dinners when Amanda dropped me off on the trail--I wouldn't be buying any here. I was tempted to mail food ahead to help lighten my pack, but by the time I went to the post office, I couldn't really be 100% certain that the food would arrive before I did! Had I planned further ahead, I could have mailed it the day Amanda first picked me up from Kelvin Bridge. But that was water under the bridge now.

But I definitely needed more food.... I usually eat snacks throughout the day instead of a single large meal for lunch. Twizzlers, Jelly Bellies, pepperoni sticks, string cheese, M&Ms, Skittles, gummy worms, trail mix, and whatever hits my fancy when I see it at the supermarket. But they're all things readily found in even small convenience stores so that was one thing I did not stock up on while in Phoenix. I knew I could get it at the marina at Roosevelt Lake just a quarter-mile off of the trail. Along with good, clean drinking water. =)

The day warmed up to temperatures that I would consider hot, but I wasn't sure if it was because temperatures really were warmer than the day before or if it was because I was largely descending in elevation--and rejoining the lowland deserts filled with cacti.

Either way, by the time I got near the lake, I was a man on a mission. Civilization! Cold drinks! I decided that ice cream would really hit the spot as well. I wanted ice cream! Give me ice cream!

The trail had some gorgeous views along the way. I also daydreamed of finding heaping treasures of gold since I was in the Superstition Wilderness. There's a lost Dutchman's gold mine out there, just for the taking! I kept my eyes open for it, but as you can imagine, I didn't find it. If I did, I probably wouldn't be writing this blog right now. I'd be writing my tell-all book instead! =)

So I made good time on the trail, despite my swollen ankle, and was even in pretty good spirits looking forward to my upcoming brush with civilization.

I reached the turn off for town which led past the Roosevelt Cemetery. A plaque told the history of the cemetery--the dead from the town of Roosevelt between 1903 and 1911 while the dam that created Roosevelt Lake was being built. As many as 75 people are buried there, but the plaque didn't seem to know for certain the exact number. I guess they didn't keep those kind of records back in the day.

After a quarter mile, I reached civilization, but the marina was still far in the distance. I could see it, floating off shore. I was a little annoyed with my databook which said civilization was just a quarter-mile off trail. Technically, that might be true, but there was nothing here! The marina--where the store, food and water was located--looked like it was another quarter mile away, on the other side of the highway. As far as I was concerned, my notes were deceiving.

But what could I do but go on? And onward I went!

The front of the store had a covered patio area where I dropped my pack, then headed into the store to check out the goods. And I was not happy with what I saw. The shelves looked remarkably empty and sad, and there was a lot less food choices that I would have expected--even for a store that was only good for "short-term" resupply. It was a much shorter-term than I had expected. I was going to be hungry in the days to come....

The views were awesome!

I was surprised looking at their drink selections that they didn't even have any cases of Coke. There were cases of Diet Coke, but no regular Coke that I could see. What kind of store didn't even carry regular Coke? Maybe they had a run on Coke recently. And a run on all of the other food in the store which might explain the painfully empty shelves.

They did have ice cream sandwiches available, though, so I got my fill of ice cream. =) I also got a big bottle of Gatorade to wash it down with.

The store didn't have any baskets for me to load my goods in, so as my hands got full, I took them up to the register and set them down then went back to grab more. The clerk, who was quite nice and friendly, started ringing the items up before I had even finished shopping.

I picked up Red Vines, which was a poor substitute for Twizzlers. I didn't have a problem with eating Red Vines, but from past experience, I knew they didn't hold up well in my pack. They fall apart and shred like red coconut flakes. Twizzlers are indestructible in my pack which is why I prefer them on the trail. I'd largely given up on Pop-Tarts--they never lasted long in my pack either, but I picked them up here for the first time in thousands of miles of hiking.

I bought beer nuts, which never seemed particularly filling to me, and grabbed some jerky which, when I noticed the packaging said it had only 70 calories, I thought about putting back. That wasn't enough. I needed a heck of a lot more calories than that! But then I remembered that I was desperate for food and I shouldn't be getting picky. I bought 5 packs.

They did have M&Ms. I like M&Ms, but I had largely avoided them on the Arizona Trail because of the chocolate. Chocolate candies didn't do well in the high temperatures I was facing, but I couldn't be picky and grabbed several packs. I also took the last of the Skittles. Skittles hold up a lot better in hot weather. (They're hard as rocks in cold weather, though--I lean towards M&Ms in cold weather.)

One of my first views of Roosevelt Lake.
They had some of those spicy pepperoni stick things--I don't even remember what they're called--which I absolutely love except that it gives me heartburn every time I have one so I never eat them. I seriously considered them, watching them, trying to decide if the heartburn was worth it and finally passed. I'll survive on my other ill-gotten gains!

I lingered on the powdered donuts more than most items. I liked powdered donuts, but I'd never carried them on the trail. They're too fragile! I'd often get them when I was in a trail town and eat them for breakfast in the morning. But I wasn't in a trail town. So I was torn....

They made my "in" list and joined my growing pile of food at the register. I'd have to eat the powdered donuts in the first couple of days and leave it at the top of my pack. Hopefully it'll last that long before it disintegrates into the powder from which it came.

I probably spent a half hour trying to decide which of the foods would hold up best in my pack, keep my stomach full (or at least not feeling like it was empty!), but I was finally set. I was a little worried about my choices, though. Did I get enough? I had picked out so much food that I almost never eat on the trail, I wasn't entirely sure how well it would fill me up or how quickly I'd likely consume it. I hoped it would be enough because there weren't anymore stores between here and my next resupply point a week away!

The last thing I grabbed, just before paying the nearly $80 bill, was a 7-pound bag of ice. I knew it wouldn't last long in the heat, but I intended to drink cold water for the rest of the day--even after I left the marina! I'd stuff all of the wide-mouth water containers I carried with ice before filling them up again with water.

As I was paying for my stash, the clerk said she had two mail drops that hadn't been picked up yet and if either of them were mine. They weren't, but I pretended like I was thinking hard about the answer....

"Well that depends," I said. "What's in them?" =)

Back outside, I rested in the shade and actually started feeling downright cold. Being on the water, it was probably a full 10 degrees cooler than it was just offshore. Being in the shade dropped it another 10 degrees. And the breeze blowing over the lake probably dropped it another 10 degrees. Eventually, I got so cold I actually moved out into the sun! The surprises never stop! =)

It was about this time when I first noticed an abundance of air traffic flying overhead. I'd been hearing it all morning, but by the time I reached the marina, I was noticing it more. They were always large passenger jets flying from west to east, and I figured this area must have been under the flight path for Phoenix Skyharbor Airport. It was a little strange to contemplate. The people in those airplanes were at an airport just minutes ago that I had been in nearly a month earlier on my way to the Mexican border. It took me nearly a month to hike here, and they were a few thousand feet above me in mere minutes. They were probably complaining about the lack of leg room too. I didn't have that complaint, but I had my own complaints. I shook my fist in the air at them. "You could have walked here! See how you would have liked that!" =)

After restocking my pack with food (fragile items at the top!) and loading all of my water containers with water, my pack was once again excruciatingly heavy. Ugh. At least it would only get lighter from here!

I retraced my steps past the cemetery to the Arizona Trail and continued the hike which led up and down a series of steep hills. Every hill just about killed me because I could look out at the road that passed the marina and know I'd be seeing it again just a few miles up the road. The trail seemed to meander for several strenuous miles for each mile of road walk, and I found myself wishing I just took the road. Why the heck did they have to route the trail away from it?

I completely understood why they would route the trail back to the road after they left, though. There's kind of a big lake between me and other side where I needed to be, and the only way across it was a fantastically large vehicular bridge. All traffic, pedestrian and otherwise, had to cross that bridge.

The bridge passes in front of Roosevelt Dam. You might be forgiven for thinking that Roosevelt Dam was part of the Depression-era public works project that FDR spearheaded, but you'd be wrong. This was the other Roosevelt--Theodore Roosevelt who spearheaded this dam. The dam was completed in 1911 long before the Depression even started.

The dam didn't really look very impressive--at least not from the bridge--but I also couldn't tell how tall it really was since it was holding back a large lake. I was just seeing the proverbial tip of the iceburg, and I hoped the trail would lead me to a viewpoint that would allow me to see the downstream side of the dam.

Almost immediately after getting off the Roosevelt Bridge (everything around these parts is named after Roosevelt--the bridge, the lake and the dam!), the trail turned off the road and headed up a steep trail over a thousand feet up. With my heavy pack pulling me down, I didn't make good time hiking up it, but it did lead to a stunning viewpoint of the downstream side of the dam which pleased me. =) And it was an impressively tall dam! It reminded me a lot of the Hoover Dam and it seemed more than likely that the lessons learned while building this dam were applied to Hoover Dam.

Once I reached the top of the ridgeline, the trail flattened out and my speed increased dramatically, but I only made it a measly 8 miles out of town which I found disappointing. I had wanted to push out 25 mile days and get into Pine a day earlier than I otherwise would have, but I didn't even break 20 miles today (19.7 to be exact). Given my unusual food choices, I felt it would be even more prudent to cut a day off my hike to the next trail town, but at this rate, that wasn't going to happen. I just couldn't get much beyond 20 miles per day before I had to stop for the night.

Do you see the Lost Dutchman's gold mine? Yeah, neither did I....

It was quite hazy out, which I attributed to dust from the wind
the afternoon before.

Water on the trail! You might be surprised to learn that I decided not to take
any of this despite my low water supplies. I expected a much better (and cleaner)
spring another mile or two up the trail.

Yeah, I was holding out for this puddle of water--Cottonwood Spring.
It's not very big, but it IS running and was a heck of a lot cleaner
than the water from the stock pond! (I put my foot in the photo
only to give the spring some scale.)
Or I could have held out for this water, which was better than the
dirt stock pond. But I liked the spring water best. =)
Closing in on Roosevelt Lake!
I can see the marina now!
Roosevelt Cemetery
The Roosevelt Lake Marina was actually offshore and I had
to "walk the plank" to get to it!
Lots of fish in this lake!

The clouds today were just gorgeous! The views were nice,
but half the photos I was taking was just for the clouds! =)
The Roosevelt Bridge... and the Arizona Trail runs
right over it!
Here it is! Here it is!
We're on the bridge! We're on the bridge! Note the distinct
lack of sidewalks as well... I was definitely paying attention
for any oncoming traffic!
Roosevelt Dam didn't look particularly impressive from this side....
Climbing back up the steep ridge after the bridge.
And there's the dam in all its glory! It doesn't look very big in this
photo since I was so far away when I took it.
This zoomed-in photo looks a bit more impressive, though. =)

Although the trail ended the day on a largely flat plateau, there
were mountains ahead. Big ones....
Saguaro forest!
I set up camp for the night, a bit disappointed with my mileage for the day.


Anonymous said...

If Michelle Obama reads this post you will be arrested by the "good food" police. Imagine all the children in schools reading about you eating all that junk dare you!

Anonymous said...

I think Mrs. Obama would grant kids some junk food if they were exercising the equivalent of a 20 mile hike a day...

Amanda from Seattle said...

Ryan's eating habits on the trail and in "real life" are vastly different. When he is hiking, he is purposely trying to eat as many calories as he can because he is burning calories constantly. When thru-hiking, he will eat an entire pizza and he'll have the burger AND fries AND a milkshake. At home, normally, only one maybe two pieces of pizza. And we'll have burgers, but with salad on the side and no milkshakes !! Milkshakes are definitely only for special occasions. :-)