MRT 2021 Day 2, April 6, Tuesday • Start S1A 8.5 of 13.8 • End S1 mile 17 • Miles walked: 22.3
A few miles of dirt road lead to Parsons Trailhead, and soon branches to Packard Trail. A lovely pond on Sycamore Creek provides the best water of the day. I hike up to Parsons Mesa, and go along the top for some miles.
Descending back into Sycamore Canyon Wilderness, the route stays on the west side of the canyon, with plenty of ups and down from side channels. Dirt and rock turn red, and red cliffs begin to come in creative shapes.
MRT 2021 Day 1, April 5, Monday • Start Cottonwood Connector mile 0 at historic jail, S1A 0 • End S1A 8.5 • Miles walked: 8.5
Cairn and I had an appointment in Tuscon this morning to help Dottor, and then we drove up to Cottonwood AZ and she dropped me off in the Old Town area at 2PM.
So why am I here? Long story long, last year on the Arizona Trail, just past Pine, I was hiking for several miles along the base of the Mogollon Rim, and really enjoyed it. The Mogollon Rim is an escarpment (meaning long cliff) that marks the edge of the Colorado Plateau in Northern Arizona, and runs for a couple of hundred miles or so. When I learned that Blisterfree, the creator of the Grand Enchantment Trail and Northern New Mexico Loop, was working on a Mogollon Rim Trail, stitching together existing trails and roads into a 500 mile route, and that it would be released to the hiking public soon, I asked for an early preview, and so here I am.
The Jail Trail starts from the historic jail in Old Town and winds through Fremont cottonwoods in the Verde River riparian area. Across a highway bridge is Dead Horse Ranch State Park, and a network of trails.
A detour to Tuzigoot National Monument to visit pueblo ruin from the 1300s is well worth a detour.
After a couple of miles the route enters national forest and gradually climbs a series of mountain bike trails and dirt roads to some heights overlooking Cottonwood, where I make my first camp.