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After a solid fill of pizza for some and fried pizzeria apps for others with enough drafts to commemorate both the town day and the holiday, amazing Austin dropped us back at the trailhead from where he picked us up just a few hours earlier.
Keeping track of the miles we are pulling on a daily is getting a bit fuzzy, but all said I believe we walked about 22.
Camping in a wash by the Gila River, around midnight we were all startled in our sleep by a very low flying helicopter that by Big Dale’s estimate was just forty feet above the ground. Certainly it must have been a night training exercise because apparently there was just one dim red light and the flight path followed the contour of the wash. At least they were not searching for someone...wayward hikers?
I have never been that close to a live military chopper and was quite rattled. My first thought was ever so slightly understanding what that must be like in combat conflict zones.
Thursday we pushed on another 23.5 to MM 296.3, where I am now typing this post. It was a really spectacular day of hiking with grand rock faces and diversity of flora, clear blue skies, sweeping vistas, and lots of both climbing and descending ending net higher than when the day began, which was essentially at the AZT’s lowest point. The Alamo Canyon and areas before were, again, just gorgeous.
On Friday we all go into Superior, for basically a real nero. Trail Angel Purple Angel is picking us up at 7am (we are going to walk the 4.2 miles to Picket Post Trailhead at 5:30a) and bringing us to her house for hot breakfast, laundry and showers. Such kindness. The guys will resupply at the local market while Paul will drive up from Tempe to meet me with my boxes and stay for coffeehouse chat. I’ll also pick up some lemons for the way out.
We talk about walking 13 miles tomorrow afternoon on our start into the Superstition Wilderness leading to Roosevelt Lake Marina, but a real nero is less than ten miles total.
We passed a few hikers Thursday and a group of older gentlemen doing trail maintenance. It also seems like we are on the trail of a bubble in front of us by a day or so. Many of the folks camped with a few days back likely won’t be seen again based on the pace we are moving.