Total Miles: 570.3
We slept in a ditch. Not exactly like the one from the CDT last year, and certainly not this one from the PCT—I’m beginning to sense a troubling pattern—but a sandy, flat, wash nonetheless a literal stone’s throw from passing traffic. Racing by with regularity late into the evening before an all-too-brief lull, the alarm clock of rubber on pavement made sure that missing our 5:15am alarm wasn’t going to be the thing we’d lose sleep over.
The lack of restful sleep was eased, however, by the pleasant stroll across the mere 7 miles that separated us from the town of Oracle and our next resupply package. A thin layer of cloud cover graced the skies, ensuring that in addition to being short our early morning miles would also be free from the sensation of being hopelessly locked inside an oven set to broil.
In no particular hurry given the leisurely day ahead of us, we stopped for a break beneath a windmill pulled directly from the pages of The Wizard of Oz. Far from being rare on trails of the southwest, windmills are a common sight, since they were once the preferred power source for wells. Today, small solar panels have largely replaced them and as a result, most windmills we come across are hardly recognizable as their true selves, often lying instead as heaps of twisted steel, lifeless in their infirmity.
Between it and the inviting picnic table that sat beneath it—one does not pass up a picnic table, after all—all that was left to do was sit and enjoy.
Until we sat down, of course, and noticed one final surprise beneath the table: a cardboard pallet of cans—yes, cans—of water. Teaming with the Arizona Trail Association, Four Peaks Brewing Company had filled their pints not with beer but with water to support makeshift caches like this one. Considering that even out in a random and inaccessible location such as this they’d also managed to stash a recycle bin—winning extra bonus points with Ace in the process—it was a doubly impressive gesture of support to the hikers and bikers of the AZT. It raises just one question: who empties the recycle bin?