Date: March 14, 2020
Miles: The Ranch to Payson – 0 Trail Miles
I woke up to the biggest patches of blue sky that I have seen in days…hallelujah! I waited patiently (not really) for MaryAnn to appear from her home so I could get her assessment of whether she would be able to drive the one road out of the ranch and deliver me to Payson, the nearest town. I knew that it would take a long time for the sun to dry out the land considering how much rain had fallen in the last week, but I grasped at a glimmer of hope that maybe there would be a chance. Nope. It was still too wet. But another opportunity soon presented itself.
Sometime around noon, the peacocks started screaming and the dog pack shot off toward the river in a barking frenzy. That’s what I heard when I walked past the ranch the first time, so I figured someone else was doing the same and I headed that way to see who I would find.
As I picked my way over the rocks toward the river, I saw people. Actual people! People I would later come to know as Crikey, Maple, Spitfire and Quetzal. They were attempting a river crossing as well, and while they all could probably have made it as a group, they were waiting for other people and decided to road walk into Payson to catch up with them. I decided at that moment to quit waiting for the river to go down, and to walk into Payson with them.
I led them back to the ranch and packed as fast as I could. I said goodbye to MaryAnn and gave her and the animals my heartfelt thanks for giving my soggy self a safe place to dry out. She didn’t have to house or feed me, but she did without asking for much in return and I will be forever grateful for that. And I will always remember Noodle.
We took off on the road heading out of the ranch toward Payson, crossing a few washes along the way. It became obvious that MaryAnn’s truck would have gotten stuck in the mud if we had attempted to drive out.
Eventually one of the group flagged down a gentleman driving around the area and he agreed to give us a ride the rest of the way into Payson. There, I met the rest of their group and they were gracious enough to share a hotel room with me. After pizza and a hot shower, I crashed.