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(April 29th - May 1st, 2008 - Mogollon Plateau, Arizona)
Tuesday at dawn I headed for the intersection of the Arizona Trail with Forest Road 93 where I was scheduled to meet Jim for a rest day and resupply.
First Light on the Mogollon Rim
I stopped for breakfast a couple hundred yards after crossing Highway 87. While I was preparing my meal, a herd of five or six deer grazed within a short distance of me. They knew I was there because of the movements I made using the stove and sorting food, but they didn’t seem to recognize me as human because I was sitting with my back up against a tree stump. They continued to graze, all the while keeping an eye on me. I presented an unmistakable human shape when I stood up after breakfast, and the deer immediately took off through the trees.
Given how relatively flat the terrain is on the forested Mogollon Plateau, it is uncommon to get good distant views. None-the-less, I laughed out loud with pleasure when I saw the San Francisco Peaks through a break in the trees for the first time on the trip. Seeing the Peaks suddenly made the idea of actually reaching Utah seem plausible.
I was waiting for Jim at FR 93 a little after noon as he eased his way up the four wheel drive track, and it was great to see him. Several days ago while approaching Whiterock Spring I somehow injured myself and have been suffering from shin splints on my right leg ever since. By altering my gait, I have been able to continue the hike, but at times it has been quite uncomfortable. After discussing the situation with Jim, I decided to take two rest days back at Jim’s home in Phoenix instead of one, hoping that an extra day of ice packs and ibuprofen will allow my shin to start healing.
"Trail Angel" Jim
Driving towards Phoenix, we found a Mexican food restaurant in Camp Verde and I enjoyed a sumptuous meal washed down with a big margarita. The waitress filled a plastic bag with ice which I stuffed under my sock next to the injured muscles. The shin splints felt better already!
A couple of days of restful hospitality at Jim’s house, and I’ll be back on the trail.