The Arizona Trail Day 53: Arrival at Mormon Lake Village

Thursday, May 09, 2013

I didn’t hear the coyote last night. It was probably at the Shangri-La, fleeing security guards while angrily wondering where I was.

Day four of the forest hike was not a good day: 1. It was day four of hiking through the same scenery on the same flat ground; 2. I arrived at the junction with road 219 to find a sign reading ‘This trail temporarily closed. Forest stewardship in progress’. No information about time, dates, extent of closure or the nature of forest stewardship. I looked at my map and concluded that I ought to walk down 219 to get to Mormon Lake Village. As I was plodding dejectedly uphill from the junction, it started raining on me…

Sniff.

I got to the village and walked to the post office, which was easy to find since there’s only one main street. I arrived at 1:07 PM to find that it had closed at 1:00 PM…

Sniff.

My pants haven’t fit properly since week one… my thermarest was floppy this morning and might have finally gotten a hole in the forest… my new credit card ended up at a Fed-Ex office in Flagstaff instead of the post office and will only be held until Monday…

Sniff.

657

I didn’t want another night of camping. I went to the lodge three doors down from the post office and requested their cheapest room, which was $65. The only electrical outlet was above the sink in the bathroom, which was funny since the bedroom had an alarm clock but it wasn’t on because there was nowhere to plug it in. I guess you have to move it to the bathroom counter. When I consulted the woman at reception about the trail closure, she summoned Larry, a former director of the ATA, and he showed me a map of the closure. The same map was hanging on the wall outside – silly me. He said that he had heard of me, but the situation didn’t sound familiar (it was some issue with a crew on Four Peaks and water, and while I did meet a crew on Four Peaks, I wasn’t having any water issues… hmm…), so maybe it was another hiker in the young and female category. As for the closure, it’s for logging and the section of forest surrounding the Navajo Springs trail beyond the sign was cleared last year, so I could have taken the trail down to the village. I suppose that’s why we oughtn’t bolt signs to trees: so that they can easily be moved.

Larry took me for a drive along the trail reroute and then to dinner and picking-up-my-credit-card in Flagstaff. He’s a lovely fellow and interesting as well; he was with the ATA in its early days and had lots of stories. For example, some landowners didn’t want the trail being built near their property because they thought that hikers would break into their houses and steal things. They went as far as taking it to court, and lost. Larry asked numerous questions about my gear, including whether I carried extra pants and shirt (no). He said that it was unusual for a woman not to be more concerned about clean clothing, which made me laugh. Another set of clothing would only double how long I can stay clean in dusty Arizona, giving me a total cleanliness time of six minutes.

He also asked whether I had met the four horsemen (but he used the term ‘cowboys’). I said no, but that I wanted to. Then he told me that they were already past Flagstaff! They must have passed me when I was in Pine. Too bad…

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