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DWTH Day 38: The Long Haul and an “Inelegant” Descent

DWTH Day 38: The Long Haul and an “Inelegant” Descent

Stats

👣 Miles: 23.92

📈 Elevation Gain: 2,461 ft

📉 Elevation Loss: 4,485 ft

Overall Weather: Partly Cloudy, Hot

Up Before the Sunrise

We’ve found a steady rhythm of waking up before sunrise to be ready to go as soon as there’s enough light. 

This morning was no exception. We awoke and left our rather bowl-shaped burro bed to continue climbing the increasingly frustrating ridge. 

The Ridge to the High Point

Okay, I love a good ridge. I’ll admit, this one was stunning with great views. It even had a few bits of burro tail here and there. But we were thirsty. We carried 5 liters out, and the rationing of water took away from the sheer beauty of the range. 

The last 500 feet actually took about 1,000 feet of climbing because the ridge wasn’t the most direct. 

The last decision to cross country over to a side ridge to climb also felt frustrating. If I had seen around the ridge better, I would have chosen to continue on the main ridgeline. 🤷🏼‍♀️

The range’s high point had 360 views, a large cairn, some rusty nails, and a small notepad logbook in an ammunition box. 

Naturally, we skimmed the whole thing (which wasn’t much) back all 9 years of its existence. Funny enough, we saw Masochist had climbed it in 2019.  We took a photo and sent it to him. 

The “Inelegant” Descent 

Descending the Whipple High Point slowly.
The Beginning of the Descent

Sometimes, the fun in BT’s route lies in interpreting his comments. 

Once we reached the ridge to descend, we saw a “steep, rocky, and rather inelegant descent, although not technical.”  

It was actually a perfect description of the way down. It helped to know it wasn’t technical and we wouldn’t get cliffed out…and if it got that way, then we were off-route. 

The descent was quite slow, just like the ascent. A lot of the rock was loose, but not outrageously so—just enough to require care in placing your steps. 

Somewhere down it, I broke the second metal tip off of my hiking poles. The other one broke somewhere in the many crossings of the Bill Williams River. I don’t think I’ve ever broken both tips on a single trail before. 

The Burros

We came across a small herd of burros during the cross country to a wash. 

I searched around a bit where we saw them, hoping they dug a seep, but alas, they did not. 

They watched us curiously from within the wash and above the wash. 

The Dirt 2-Track Push

Since neither seasonal water option had any water (we had guessed this), we had to push to our cache to be comfortable with water. 

The cross-country finally yielded to dirt t-tracks. Time to make some fast(er) miles! Woohoo!

We put on music and started trucking. The sun burned through our cloud clover fully around then. 

Our umbrellas seemed to work best held out in front of us for maximum sun blockage. 

At some point, both of us switched to audiobooks and cruised. 

To the Cache (and Camp)

A hiker trying to dig up a food cache at night.
Found the Cache!

We meant to stop and eat a PB & J on ciabatta, but we were too distracted by the sunset and our audiobooks. 

Instead, we ate another bar and kept crushing. 

We got to the paved road and crossed in the dark. Almost there. 

The moon was mostly blocked by the cloud cover that returned, but it gave us enough light to not use headlamps. At one point, we had full moonlight shadows!

Eventually, we got to our cache spot and had a moment. We were both tired, hungry, and in need of NSAIDs. 

We hid our cache too well. I had to pull up the photos of caching it, and we had to match rock shapes to the photos in the dark. 

Once we did that, we dug up the cache, and everything was great. 

We pitched the tent nearby and got ready for bed.