Friday, August 29, 2014

Day 33: Following the Mogollon Rim

May 15: In the morning, I walked into town to mail my laptop ahead to Flagstaff. It was kind of an annoyance since the walk into town and back took the better part of an hour and wasn't contributing to my progress on the trail, but it was either that or carry the darned thing all the way to Flagstaff and that just wasn't going happen!

On the walk back, I called my mom on my cell phone to let her know I'd be leaving town and that my next resupply point was Flagstaff, an estimated 9 days away. Annoyingly, my phone cut off while I was talking to her and it gave me a message saying that the battery had run down. What?! I had the thing plugged in all night! Or at least I thought I did.... And the cord to recharge it was in with the laptop I forwarded since I didn't expect I'd find any electrical outlets on the trail between here and Flagstaff. I couldn't even plug it in just to finish the phone call. Nor use it at all until I reach an electrical outlet in Flagstaff. I was cut off for the next nine days!

Oh, well, nothing I could do about that....

I packed up my backpack and headed out of town.

The Arizona Trail follows the length of the Mogllon Rim for the next 16 miles or so. The Mogollon Rim is a rather impressive geological feature stretching about 200 miles across Arizona and defines the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau. Much of the land to the south of it lies between 4,000 and 5,000 feet above sea level while the land to the north of the escarpment rises to about 8,000 feet above sea level. The long cliffs between the two stretch as far as the eye can see in both directions. And I'd spend the entire day following the trail eastwards near the base of the Mogollon Rim.

The day was warming up and I really wanted to get up and on top of the rim where temperatures would undoubtedly be cooler, but it wasn't meant to be. At least shade was relatively plentiful and the trail largely flat for most of its length. Just coming out of Pine was the steepest section of the trail for the day, and even that wasn't too bad.

Along the way, I saw a number of ribbons attached to branches and rocks along the trail. Most of the time, I just ignore them, but these were so frequent and persistent, I started paying more attention to them and eventually came to the conclusion that they were route markers for a race of some sort. I'd learn later that there's an annual Mogollon Monster 100 race along the trail here, although the race is apparently misnamed (slightly) since the route is actually 106 miles.

The only person I saw the whole day was a lady walking her dog near the trailhead. Beyond that, I was alone on the trail again.

I set up camp at a wooden bench between North Sycamore Creek and Chase Creek--a bench seemed like a more useful feature for camp than something like--you know, water. =) I was originally headed for Chase Creek until the bench pulled me to a stop. Anyhow, there were probably fewer bugs way out here than next to a creek. It was for the best, I told myself!

I really want to know more about this creation. Who created it?
How long did it take them? It's a neat little trick!
Red Rock Spring had plenty of water!
The Mogollon Rim was prominent all day long!

I saw these ribbons all along the trail. A race, perhaps? Yes!
The Mogollon Monster 100!
Webber Creek
This register was located by Webber Creek. The last thru-hiker to sign it was
just 5 days before! I'm catching up on some of them! The only name
I recognized (other than my own) was Whitney Houston who I met barely
60 miles into my hike. He signed the register on May 3--a whopping
12 days before I did. He's moving fast!
Sego lily
Hedgehog cactus
These ribbons were my best clue for figuring out what race went
through here. Mog100--the Mogollon Monster 100!
Mogollon Rim
More Mogollon Rim views.
It seems like water should come out of this, but if it does, I couldn't
make it work. (It did sound like it was trying to pump water and failing when
I turned the knob, though.)
A lot of places along the rim had these hoodoo-like structures
all along its length.
Reflectors on the trail! Probably for those race runners at night.
The Arizona Trail overlaps the Highline Trail along the Mogollon Rim
which is marked with diamonds like this one,
I'm sitting on my bench next to camp. =)

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