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DWTH Day 33: The Push to Nero into Town

DWTH Day 33: The Push to Nero into Town

Stats

👣 Miles: 21.24

📈 Elevation Gain: 1,962 ft

📉 Elevation Loss: 2,306 ft

Overall Weather: Sunny, Hot, Windy

Use All the Daylight

We got up and got going right at first light. 

That’s one of the biggest things we’ve noticed about this route, if we need to push, we have to use all the daylight. While each day gets longer, it’s still much less daylight than we’re used to on other thru-hikes. 

Burro Trails and Dirt Roads

Thru-hiker walking a dirt road on the desert winter thru-hike.
A Few Faster Miles

The morning started out on a burro trail and onto several junctions of various dirt roads. 

One of the dirt “roads” was basically a wash wide enough for an OHV through a very cool little canyon. We liked it especially well because it kept the sun off of us for just a little longer. 

Another surprisingly offered up great Verizon service. Enough for me to check the dates for something called the “Parker 250 Race” and to book a hotel in town. Luckily, we would miss this apparently obnoxiously fast OHV event by a day on route AND hotels were booking up for it and we have a room to go to now. 🙌

Hello, Cross-Country…

Cross-country in Arizona over lava rock.
Lava Rock Cross-Country Hiking

Right when I wasn’t expecting cross-country to get a little more rigorous, we aimed right off a track onto a side contour of lava rock. 

We headed around some surprisingly green ocotillos and picked our way slowly up and over a low pass into a drainage. However, the drainage was choked with palo verdes, so we kept contouring until it got wide enough to walk in. 

Some Decent Water

Woman thru-hiker in front of a desert water source.
Water Source!

We arrived at a normally not-as-reliable water source right at lunch. Since it’s been fairly rainy this winter, the source had water. 

We decided to cook dinner for lunch so we didn’t have to carry the 2/3 of a liter to cook later. Sometimes, it’s nice to have a hot meal in the middle of the day. 

This source broke up the long gap nicely. 

Washes to Old Mining Roads

After the water, we got on a road that promptly dumped us in a wash with deep gravel. Both of us put our headphones on and listened. 

Finally, we went cross country up out of the wash and toward an old mining road. This one was a little more obvious than some others which was a nice change. 

It was technically wilderness and it was nice to not see rogue tire tracks on it. 

Cross-Country to a Very Long Wash

Like most roads, we set off on a bend and went cross-country across the lava rock toward a wash. 

Somewhere in there, while trying to look around, I stepped right on a pile of cholla droppings. Our sandals are so done that one went all the way through and drew blood on the bottom of my foot through the sole. I had to sit down and yank out quite a few needles. 

Eventually, we got to a wash that went on for miles. It had a mix of deep gravel, large rocks, and some firm gravel…occasionally. We kept our headphones in and continued listening. 

Its main benefit? Frequent shade pausing abilities as the evening sun got lower sporadically dropping below the higher canyon walls. 

The Parker 250

Signs put up on public land about the Parker 250 race in January and February
Parker 250 Warning Signs

We knew we had to get beyond a certain road that BT marked with two stars and “caution.”

Apparently, every January and February, Parker hosts a two-part fast OHV race where people go really fast on dirt tracks in the desert. 

And, they close the public land around the dirt roads as well as the roads. We saw all their signs and got beyond them to find a place to camp for the night. 

We settled in, cleaned ourselves off with some wet wipes, and our lunch for dinner.