Mile 476 to 495. 19 miles.
We wake up and hit the trail at about 7:10 and cruise on the flat ground pretty quickly. We make it to the East Verde River, the second time I’ve crossed it, only this time it’s a little tiny creek! Must be getting towards its source. We eat a snack there and fill up water.
Then we start up the Mogollon Rim finally. It starts out not too steep on a ATV road following some telephone poles and then heads to the right up a series of switchbacks and then just right up the side at a steep angle. Michael is having a rough time up the hill. Feeling like his lungs are on fire. I’ve been there! We make it to the top and high five and take a breather.
We cruised on the dead flat pine needle covered trail. It’s soooo good. It’s cool up here, shady, breezy and there is even a big patch of snow in the shade we walked by! There is also lots of ice cold streams. We take a break at one of them and eat lunch and filter water. More red pepper hummus, cheese sandwiches. This was such a good idea. It tastes so good. I highly recommend sandwiches!
We head out and cruise on the flat ground until we head down to east clear creek which is a big creek about 15-20 feet wide and crystal clear with a gravel bottom. Most beautiful water I’ve seen yet. Very cold water too. There are elk droppings and footprints everywhere around here. I haven’t seen any elk on the trail yet but we saw big herds of them in the town of Pine eating people’s garden plants.
We then make our way up the last hill of the day and it is really putting the hurt on Michael. He’s yelling, “Yo, fuck this trail bitch!” In his Jesse Pinkman voice. He’s not liking the climb. It’s only about a mile long but you can’t see where it ends and it was frustrating to him. At the top the trail flattened back out into a nice open ponderosa pine forest. We walked about 2 miles after the top of the hill and set up camp in a beautiful meadow.
I set up my stuff and started chowing down food when Michael says he’s feeling nauseous and ill and had no appetite. We try and think what could be wrong. He thinks it’s altitude sickness but I tell him were only about 7000 feet up. I don’t think that’s enough to really make you sick. We agreed its probably dehydration so he drinks some water and take an electrolyte tab. This doesn’t help. He feels worse as the sun starts going down. Finally he says, “This is gunna happen.” He walks a hundred feet or so and pukes his guts out. A few minutes later he walks back and says, “Dude, I just fucking vomed out my nose. It’s like pure liquid and bile.” This is troubling. A few minutes later he says he is feeling a good bit better, no more dizziness, but still not hungry and just wants to sleep. Hopefully tomorrow he’ll feel better.