Monday, August 25, 2014

Day 31: Pine!

The Arizona Trail followed this dirt road along
these powerlines for several miles.
May 13: During the night, the wind picked up into a ferocious tempo which was more of a nuisance than anything, but it did cause a killer wind chill for any of my body parts left outside of my sleeping bag! By morning, the wind had fallen to a slight breeze again.

I had a relatively quick 10-mile hike into Pine. Along the way, I ran into an older gentleman carrying what looked like an antique gun. He had a dog with him too, and we stopped to chat a bit before I remembered about my strange animal the day before.

"Hey, you're local!" I said. "Maybe you know what I saw!"

So I started to describe it. "At first I thought it looked liked a baby bear..."

He stopped me to focus on the size of the animal and after that was cleared up, I continued, "But then I saw it had a face like a raccoon--"

"A coatimundi! You saw a coatimundi! It had a really long tail, right?"

"Yes! Yes it did!" Awesome! And a little anti-climatic, too. I still didn't know what it was because I don't think the word coatimundi never crossed my ears before.

"I need to write that down--I'll never remember that name."

I pulled out my journal and he told me, "Don't ask me how to spell it because I don't know." I wrote in my journal how he seemed to say the word: cudamunde.

He went on to say that he likes to take his dogs for a walk through the woods most days, and in all his years of hiking, he's only seen coatimundis four times. They're probably as rare as the elusive gila monster if not more so. I, for one, have met quite a number of people who've reported spotting a gila monster on the trail. Not one person has told me they saw a coatimundi--not until I met this fellow and asked about it.

We finally parted ways and I continued onwards to Pine.

The trail crossed Highway 87 a couple of miles south of Pine, but I pushed on another half a mile or so to an official trailhead where I could walk at least part of the way into Pine on a road less busy than Highway 87.

My first stop was THAT Brewery. I happened to know that THAT Brewery also had cabins behind the restaurant that were available for renting overnight and even provided thru-hiker a special deal on them. I just hoped they weren't already full up! They weren't, though, and I had a room for the night.

I didn't stay there long, though. I had more chores to do.

I walked further into town to the post office--I had a couple of mail drops to pick up including my laptop and maps for the next 200 miles of trail. Then I stopped at the laundromat and cleaned my thoroughly stinky clothes. I didn't bother to dry them again--they'd air dry quick enough. Then I stopped at the small general store and acquired food for the next stretch of trail that would take me all the way to Flagstaff.

And only then did I head back to my cabin for the rest of the day, which I mostly spent online catching up with email and checking up on my websites. I did a bit of Google sleuthing on "cudamende" and learned that no such animal existed, but that there was a coatimundi (or a kudamendi depending on which website I found myself) whose photos looked a lot like what I had seen, and their range did include the southern half of Arizona. I was at the very extreme northern edge of their habitat. They were native of South America--which is where I thought they looked like they came from--as well as Central American and southwestern North America. They were also members of the raccoon family, Procyonidea--which I suppose explains their raccoon-like faces.

This hole in the tree kind of looks like an ear, doesn't it? That's the
only reason I even took this photo. =) The forest--it listens to you!
That looks like the Mogollon Rim up ahead!

Highway 87
Highway 87 into Pine. Just on the other side of Pine is the town
of Strawberry. You'll often see both towns mentioned as if it were
a single community of Pine-Strawberry.
The THAT Brewery and Pub also had cabins in back for rent.
My little cabin for the night!


Sue KuKu said...

That cabin looks fantastic and I haven't been on a trail for weeks!

Karolina said...

So cool you have unexpectrdly come accross duch an odd and rare animal! And so cool I can read about it now, at Amsredam Airport, waiting to fly out to my own hiking adventure =). Greetings grom Schiphol!