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DWTH Day 31: River Crossings, Stringy Algae, & Bushwhacking 

DWTH Day 31: River Crossings, Stringy Algae, & Bushwhacking 

Stats:

👣 Miles: 16.43

📈 Elevation Gain: 1,991 ft

📉 Elevation Loss: 2,549 ft

Overall Weather: Hot, Sunny 🥵

Morning Cross-Country

We woke up early to start with the sunrise today. It was a fantastic one!

The sun was helpful to see where to go as we hopped between the two route options of the morning. 

Basically, there was some rotting algae off-gassing at the base of the dam. (Who’d have thought a dam could do anything bad…🙄). The state park was blocking off access below the dam. 

So, we cross-country hiked around them and jumped on the tail end of their road. 

However, it was a little more easily said than done. We camped on top of a hill, which was great for the views, but hard on the muscles to start so steeply downhill. 

The cut-between was easy enough until the last bit. We got cliffed out and had to explore a bit to find a down option that went. We found a decent enough option and then had to bushwhack through some very aromatic shrubs. 

The Bill Williams River

Thru-hiker is crossing a river with a backpack on.
Crossing the Bill Williams

First of all…who the hell names their kid essentially William Williams???  And why is his name on a river?  

Anyway, we got to the river and crossed it 14 times in the span of about two-ish miles. 

The river definitely had an overabundance of long stringy algae throughout. 

After every crossing, we pulled off our sandals. And don’t even get me started about how it felt under the water…🫣

The last water report mentioned that a 5’6” dude had waist-deep crossings. 

We took a little extra time in closing our crossings and the deepest it got on me was mid-thigh. Although, Karma tested one and dipped his bits. He promptly returned and said we were finding a different spot. 😂

The Climb Out

Thru-hiker bushwhacking through a thicket.
Good Old Fashioned Bushwhacking

We loaded up on water from the river for a 21-mile waterless stretch. Basically…heavy. 

Then, we followed mountain lion tracks up to a network of burro trails. 

There, we found a set of burro trails going in the direction we needed and climbed out of the river basin. The hills had so many trails carved into them it reminded us of the sheep in Scotland on the Scottish National Trail. 

Almost at the pass, we saw a group of 3 wild burros. They were, in fact, also on their trails. 

Afternoon Heat, Washes, & Bonus Water

Woman's sandaled foot in the sand with a mountain lion track.
Mountain Lion Track

The afternoon started cooking! Wow! Umbrellas came out in the meandering stretches of the afternoon. 

We hid in the shade often, especially in the washes. One of the many washes we traveled through had some great bedrock that I laid down on, sprawled out like a lizard to cool off. 

In another wash, some burros had successfully made a seep, and next to it was a great pothole with rainwater. We sat in the shade and made an extra drink mix with a half liter of bonus rainwater. 

Evening Hiking

Tent and backpack set in during the evening.
Camp for the Night

We knew we had to pick up our pace based on the food we had left. So, instead of stopping at sunset, we continued into the evening. 

Luckily, it got dark in a very navigation-friendly spot and the moon shone above half-full. That saved us a lot of headlamp battery. 

We found an ATV camping spot and called it for the evening. We wanted to not tire ourselves out so much that we would be tempted to skip cooking dinner. It’s always a bad time when you accidentally skip a meal on a thru-hike. It never works out well. 

Tonight, our dehydrated meal was sesame ginger rice, kidney beans, “chicken” (TVP), carrots, and cabbage. 🤤