Monday, April 26
Today I entered Pinetop Arizona my 5th resupply town. It is a nice town surrounded by Ponderosa Pine trees. The distance from Alpine Arizona to Pinetop was approximately 77 miles, and took me five days to hike. My High Point was at 9,500 feet, and can be described as open countryside edged with forest, which included Spruces, large Aspen trees, Ponderosa Pine trees. Within the trees were snow patches were blown into drifts by the winter winds. The melting snow created a fresh feeling in the air. The clear prairie like settings were free of snow. Due to the snow recently melting I had plenty of water sources.
A big portion of the last section was following the Apache Railroad Trail. This was a railroad in the early 1900s that was put in for logging the area and getting the large Ponderosa Pines trees to the mill. The Apache Railroad Trail is a 21 mile long bike path that is mostly red lava rock and was pleasant to walk along. I think it would be a lovely place to ride a bike. It was nice that the Forest Service had underpasses where it went under a road that had very little traffic.
During the section I had my first snafu, I stopped to take a break and realized I was missing my solar panel. I determined I left it 4 miles behind at my prior break location, so I was planning on leaving it behind, but then I decided this is not what The Animal does, he turns around, goes back and gets his stuff. Plus by the time I retrieve it, my battery will be fully charged. So on April 24 I had the pleasure of hiking 22 1/2 miles for the day but only had forward progress of 14 miles. It even gave me the opportunity to cross the high point of the day three times. Personally I actually enjoyed going back for my stuff it was a good way to make all of you laugh.
April 25, I was quite tired because I don’t think my body likes doing 22 mile days, it prefers 17 to 19 mile days. Hiking along the route I was sluggish and slow moving, one way to get the body moving is pancakes on the side of the trail. Yes you read the word right, “pancakes”. Included was an apple, a banana, juice, and water. What does all this mean it means I received trail magic. Ronda and Jeff Johnson who were camping in their RVs by the side of the trail with their children, they we’re wondering what a strange bearded man was doing walking down the jeep road, so she came up and said what are you doing? This turned into a lovely discussion with her and her family and resulted in a pancake breakfast. So here’s a cheers to Ronda and John for providing awesome unexpected trail magic along the way. It gave me the energy and pep I needed to get to my next adventure, which was a prescribed fire.
Yes, this is correct a prescribed fire. There was no sign when I started hiking down a trail that said hey there’s gonna be a fire ahead. Archers upon archer of burnt land I passed, so as I hiked on the land started to smolder and I thought it looked like a prescribed fire. As I hiked further I encountered more smoke, and then there was 10 to 12 foot flames on the side of the trail when it torched one small tree. At this point I thought there should be people tending to this fire so I did call 911 to let them know there was a fire. It was creeping up the hill, torching small bushes, I wasn’t sure what it would do when it got to the other side of the pass. After the 911 call I continued hiking to get away, when I got to the other side of the pass it was already burnt, so I knew the fire I saw a really wouldn’t spread anywhere. It was quite toasty walking by the fire, and I’m sure a lot of you saw it on the Facebook page.
Later that day walking through some lovely trees I ran into the owner of the Pinetop Brewery, mountain biking with his two daughters. He was quite proud of them because they were on the mountain bike team. We had a lovely talk and upon reaching Pinetop I decided to go to his restaurant and have dinner for the evening. Somebody from the northwest who likes IPAs would not have been disappointed. Inside the brewery I met a man who thinks I should write my own book about my adventure. He was a writer named Les Roger and his book is titled “Rollovers, Rattlesnakes and UFOs: ... and Other Wild West Adventures”. We had a very meaningful conservation and he was sure that me being who I am and not living in fear is brining joy to many people. I agree!
Here is the written description of his book, sounds interesting.
Rollovers, Rattlesnakes & UFOs is a fascinating spiritual memoir depicting the power of trust and how to stay positive through life’s trying and extraordinary experiences. This modern day “Wild West” adventure has a take on life’s occurrences that give deeper meaning to our existence than what meets the physical eye. The eight compelling true-life stories are a breath of fresh air, even when they leave you breathless. You will rediscover your soul all over again
Tomorrow I meet up with my friend Forrest Fanara who just moved down to Flagstaff, he’s going to hike out with me spend the night, and he will hike back to his car I will continue on to Forest Lakes which is about 79 miles away. I’m looking forward to continuing my hike through the worlds largest Ponderosa Pine forest, and there is snow in the forecast.
Thanks for reading