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DWTH Day 32: Wild Burros and More Bill Williams

DWTH Day 32: Wild Burros and More Bill Williams


👣 Miles: 20.44

📈 Elevation Gain: 1,230 ft

📉 Elevation Loss: 1,447 ft

Overall Weather: Hot, Sunny 🥵

Bright and Early Start

Thru-hiker walking with a bright sunrise in the background.
Sunrise Vibes

We couldn’t dally anymore in this section since we only had so much food left. 

This meant we had to crush some miles. We knew it would be a hot one today, so we started at 7:10 am. That’s been just as it’s getting light out here. 

We were treated to a beautiful sunrise as we started walking. 

Back to the Bill Williams River

We took a series of graded roads, 4WD roads, washes, and burro trails back to the Bill Williams River. 

I have to say, the upper canyon was stunning, but it was a lot of energy to go a short distance. Because of that bushwhacking, I wasn’t totally stoked to be back for a few more miles 21 miles later. 

However, it was cooler by the water which still ran about mid-calf deep when we reached it. 

Fixing the Neoair Again

Thru-hiker finding a neoair sleeping pad hole in a river.
Finding the Hole in the Neoair

Karma got a hole after our bushwhacking extravaganza yesterday. This one didn’t seem too bad since he only had to blow up the pad once in the middle of the night. 

When we got to the river, we saw an eddy. An eddy has still enough water that you can usually find the sleeping pad holes easily enough. 

Sure enough, within a minute he found not one but TWO holes. 

Karma held one end and dried it off while I was holding the other end so it didn’t lay on rough cockleburs. I heard that special sound of fizzing and saw a tiny THIRD hole on the top of his pad. 

In case you’re wondering, he’s now up to 4 holes on the DWTH and I’m only at 2 right now. 🙌

Following the River

I have never understood how following rivers in popular culture always seems like the way good life. 

Almost inevitably it’s harder than it seems. On this particular river, it had a) lots of thick, spikey brush and b.) deep sand. 

Thus, river miles are slow miles. 

Today, we got stabbed by mesquite, tamarisk, rough cockleburs, and thorn trees. 

Although it was not as bad as yesterday, we occasionally picked the wrong path. Then, we either pushed through the brush or retreated and found a different path. 

Wild Burros

A wide-open, dry desert wash expanse with few plants.
Where the Burro Trail Took Us

Eventually, we hopped off the river path and onto a burro trail.

Right as we got there, we saw some mountain lion tracks over top of some human footprints. We’ve seen this shoe tread before and we suspect it’s either the hiker updating the water report ahead of us or someone in between him and us not updating anything. 

When the burro trail took us to a shelf next to the river basin, the hiking became faster and easier. 

However, sometimes the shelf disappeared and it got into some really deep sand. With the heat, it became an umbrella-up-head-down slog. 

In those few miles, we saw 41 burros! One was super tiny and had a really fuzzy face. 

Evening Push

We got water from a developed source that also happened to have an electrical outlet. It included some exceptional shaded areas and cool concrete. Full hiker lizard mode commenced while we charged and got some water. 

Then, we put our heads down and crushed a bit. For a fleeting second, I saw a small fox before it darted into some very thick brush. 

We passed an incredibly mined drainage that was littered with mile holes, OHV tracks, and hard seltzer cans. 


A tent and two backpacks set up at night.
Camp Vibes

We hiked until it was almost headlamp o’clock and camped in an area cleared by burros. 

The volcanic landscape around us looked super cool and I’m excited to see it in the morning light.