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DWTH Day 23: Is It Train Hopping If It’s Stationary?

DWTH Day 23: Is It Train Hopping If It’s Stationary?


👣 Miles: 18.14

📈 Elevation Gain: 1,371 ft

📉 Elevation Loss: 1,332 ft

Overall Weather: Mostly Cloudy

Hello Again, Dew!

We awoke on the later side of our internal clock this morning at 6:30 am. It has been one of our colder nights on trail so far at 35 degrees. 

With how much rain we surprisingly got yesterday, the desert had a lot of moisture around. 

I opened the tarp to go to the bathroom and the tarp was soaked! Like dripping soaked. Everything else underneath was dry, but it was soaked-soaked. I think the tarp was drier after the atmospheric river rain. 😂

A Cross-Country Morning

Two backpackers looking at the mountain in the distance.
Looking Ahead

We spent the morning mostly traveling cross-country. We rock hopped on many of the slick lava rocks to avoid large patches of cryptobiotic soil. 

Eventually, we reached a low pass and traveled in a wash for a while…Karma’s favorite. 😉

An Old 2-Track

Woman getting water from a cow trough float value attached to a windmill.
Water from a Cow Trough Float Value

After going up and down through several extra washes, we popped out onto a very old Jeep road. Since this area was designated wilderness in 1990, it wasn’t the best road, but it was easy to follow. 

This older Jeep road led straight to our first water source of the day. It was of the rancher variety: a windmill with a trough and float valve. Nice, clean water came out of the pipe. 🥳

A Drivable Dirt Road

We left via a drivable road that whoever put in the windmill obviously uses, but was not around today. 

It was an easy little mileage jump since we didn’t need to navigate. 

Signal Mountain Wilderness 

Panorama view of desert wilderness in Arizona.
Desert Wilderness

As per BT’s style, we turned right into a wash and followed it up into the wilderness. This particular wash took us to some very cool mountains!

The whole area really reminded us of that section of the AZT/GET between the Gila River and Picket Post. 

Massive volcanic spires shot up and had some really neat-looking cave features. 


Some of these washed through here also had really great tinajas. Every spot that bedrock popped through on the way seemed to hold a little water. 

We carried a little less water today than we have been and that felt great, too. 

A few clearly had wild burro scat in them. 🤢 It was nice that we had plenty so we could be a little choosy about it. 

The Abandoned Railroad Cars

Two thru-hikers sitting on an abandoned trail car.
Abandoned Rail Cars

Between the cool mountains, we had to cross some train tracks. 

Those tracks had some very old railway cars still locked together with no end in sight. 

There’s no way I’m climbing under railroad cars if I can’t see the end of them…that doesn’t seem safe. 

Do, up and over we went. It was surprisingly difficult to climb up onto them with a backpack on. A lot of the footholds were bent under making it even more difficult. No wonder people get hurt train hopping!

Old Mining “Roads”

After the railroad, we followed some almost nonexistent mining “roads.”

Mostly, we looked where the rocks had been pushed aside a bit to indicate a path. 


We found a nice campsite off route just a bit with a good view of the sunset. 

We settled in and cooked dinner while we watched the last of the storms coming in on the horizon. 

Patches of rain seemed to fall to the north of us, but not over until I sat to write this. Fingers crossed that it gives us a break to jump out and pee before bed. 🤞