6:30 am to 10:15 pm
82.9 miles – 127.9 total miles
Mingus Mtn. to Walnut Canyon
Despite some loud campers and passing ORVs in the night I slept pretty well. It was a bit chilly but I stayed warm in my quilt and emergency bivy. When I woke up some teenagers walked by but didn’t see me, when I started to leave I spooked the hell out of them.
It was a good thing we stopped when we did. The descent was long and quite fast at times. On the lower slopes of the mountain we turned onto a single track and it would have been quite challenging in the dark. We popped out of the woods at Hwy. 89A, crossed the road, then had to lift Phillip over a locked gate to continue.
The next section followed a set of power lines. This meant no shade, lots of exposure, and bad tread. It was still early in the day but the sun was already making things hot. We left the power lines to follow a serpentine route along Forest Service Road 318a. During this section I was really feeling yesterdays effort.
We turned left onto Forest Service Road 318 which followed a spine almost all the way to the Verde River. The only thing I saw out there were a few ORVs who kicked up tons of dust. Phillip and I reached the Verde River around lunch time and the heat was unbelievable. I was already dehydrate when I got there. I filled up my water supply and had a snack before moving on.
After leaving the river there was over 20 miles of climbing and over 3000′ of elevation gain. This is the point where I really started to struggle with the heat. My pace slowed to a crawl and I plodded along. Finally, I found some shade under some juniper trees and stopped to take a nap. I had to move cow pies and few rocks but I was able to carve out a little oasis for myself.
The nap and snack I had helped a lot but I was really dehydrated and the miles going into Williams were tough. Not long after my nap the landscape began to change with the elevation gain and trees began to offer some shade.
As we neared Williams my front tire started to go low. I stopped once to top it off enough to make it to town and continued on. Making it to town was a big relief. With that said I was hurting. Our first stop was to hit a convenience store for some Gatorade, water, and more snacks. Man, did that Gatorade taste good going down!
I found a pizza place and order a pie for dinner but I wasn’t very hunger due to still being dehydrated. I ate as much as I could and wrapped the last few slices in tin foil to go.
My tire was still leaking so I pumped it up again and headed out of town. Not long after hitting the first dirt road out of town I stopped again to pump up my tire. This time it wasn’t working. After a few failed attempts I decided to replace the valve core as the current one was sticking. The new valve core did the trick and finally Phillip was back to 100%.
By now it was dusk and getting dark fast. Because I was so focused on being dehydrated I didn’t think to get online and see how to unlock my head lamp. This meant another night in camp without a light again.
The next few miles were flat all dirt roads which was quite enjoyable. We finally stopped at the beginning of Walnut Canyon. I wasn’t about to try and tackle any single track in the dark and I was pretty wiped out from the dehydration.
Using the light on my phone I set up camp in the dark. Camp was on a little ledge in a beautiful Ponderosa forest. Phillip and I slept on a bed of needles for the second night!