Streamside thru the winter - often beautiful ribbons of sand and fading pools, on the luckiest of days water spilling over rock, and, of course, on the unlucky days good-idea-interesting-small-side-canyons narrow until the cat's claw grabs you from all sides.
I know that the water comes and goes every year, each season, again and again, sometimes more and sometimes less - regardless, it feels like a gift, a celebration, whenever, wherever, we find it!
Created and Updated by Charles Miles on 12/20/2022.
I've ended 2022 exploring smaller places close to home. There are no names here - no formal trails and too little long term protection for the land.
Fences, dirt roads and an occasional water tank are left behind from 20th century ranching - but history seems largely to have happened elsewhere.
The scenes here may be more personal documentation than art - I'm not sure, but it is certainly a joy to end the year trying to discern the sign language of the giant Saguaros, watch with concern as the winter water fades and try to find one more sandy path that doesn't close off with the cat claw's sharp embrace.
Created and Updated by Charles Miles on 9/20/2022.
Sitting with Richard at the Black Mesa Crew Area on the Mogollon Rim Road during the Mogollon Monster 100 we hid from the rain, discussed the current ultimate road trip vehicle (Prius with a rooftop tent maybe?) and cheered the oncoming runners. The Black Mesa Crew Area turned out to be a rather gentle introduction to crewing the Mogollon Monster - easy to find, cell reception, plentiful parking, daylight...
With Aaron thru the Black Canyon Crew Area in good style I took a break before heading away from the rim to the first of three nighttime meetups - Buck Springs, Pinchot Cabin and General Springs Cabin. During the evening and into the night I kept an eye on a monster, watched a car drive part of the course, stared in wonder at a racer on his way to a 6th finish, sat in the rain, filled water, tried to help when I could, made endless guesses about when Aaron might arrive and slowly started to recognize some of the crews and racers.
Sometime after midnight I drove to Dickerson Flats, slept and waited. With no cell reception Alison helped me - and a number of other crews - via my inReach Mini satellite messenger to watch for runners being recorded on the live tracker at the Donahue Aid Station, about 4-5 miles before Dickerson Flats. In those 4-5 miles the course makes one of its many (many!) steep trips down and up the rim - it took most of the runners an hour or two (or more) to cover the distance.
I made it to the finish line in time to watch Richard finish the 42k and with a little doubt about light and water I met Aaron at the Pine Trailhead for the trip to the finish line!
The end of a 100 miles race might seem like an obvious ending for the trip - but Aaron's goal is to do the Cocodona 250, so even after his 30+ hour 100 mile effort we kept moving! In Flagstaff we climbed up Elden, in the Grand Canyon we sat alone watching the rain under the ledge at Dripping Springs, saw a sunset from the South Rim, ate pizza at the Maswik Pizza Pub (open again!), and finally escaped a 2nd day of rain by driving south.
In Sedona we hiked some classics, spent the night in Pine Flats and got in one last hike before heading home.
At the end I was both happy to be back to my wonderful life at home and sad to be done with this 1000 mile Arizona Classic!