March 23, 2021
The moon was really bright last night but I still slept pretty well. Naturally, Ghosthiker and I were the first ones up and breaking camp, hiking out around 6:30am. Lots of great scenery this morning so I took several photos.
It was a fair climb out of camp and we reached the high point of the day well before noon, but barely 5 miles from camp we were passed by Sam (who’s trail name is now Tweety, apparently), Joe Dirt, and another hiker couple. They’re a nice bunch. We passed them later as they were taking a break, but we pushed on to Florence-Kelvin Road Trailhead because we heard there was water and snacks cached there. We were not disappointed.
After a short break in the shade enjoying trail magic snacks, we hiked the last few miles to the Gila River and the highway. The group with Tweety and Joe Dirt passed us again along the way and were already resting at the trailhead by the time we got there. They’d ordered pizza from the local pizza place, Old Time Pizza, to be delivered to the trailhead, per Guthooks recommendation. When the pizza arrived, Gary the pizza delivery guy was nice enough to give Ghosthiker an I a ride into town!
Kearney is such a friendly town. Gary took us to the pizza place, which is very conveniently located right next to the Post Office! The first thing we did was collect our resupply packages and then spread out all our fresh loot on the picnic tables right outside the pizza place so we could organize everything. We’d called the local hotel from the trail only to find they were completely booked up, so we knew we probably wouldn’t be staying in town that night and wanted to figure out our next steps quickly because it was getting colder as the afternoon wore on.
It sounded like the local RV park had showers we could use, whether we stayed the night at the campground or not, so we decided to take advantage of that before hitching back to the trail. We loitered at the pizza place for a while first, though, enjoying the warmth, hot food, and cold beer. I was feeling particularly weather-worn after the last few days and had rashes in certain places from chafing, plus my face felt very wind-burned, so I was feeling particularly exhausted. We had fun hanging out at the pizza place, though.
Ghosthiker arranged for a local trail angel named Chris to take us to the RV park, but when we stepped outside we were hit with a burst of cold air. The temperature had dropped very suddenly, and it was absolutely freezing outside! In a Hail Mary attempt to save us from the cold, Ghosthiker called the local hotel to check just once more if any rooms had opened up, and wouldn’t you believe it, one did! There is absolutely no reason we should have been so lucky! Chris arrived just as Ghosthiker was finalizing our reservation at the hotel, which was literally three blocks down the road. We explained what had happened with our change of plans and apologized profusely to Chris for wasting his time coming out to give us a ride. We even offered him some cash for his trouble. He just laughed and told us to get in, then drove us the short distance to the hotel (because by this point it had started drizzling freezing rain). Thanks, Chris!
The check-in counter at the hotel is the same counter where one would wait to be seated at the hotel bar/lounge, and Ghosthiker and I briefly entertained the idea of coming back for a nightcap after our showers. In the end, we were way too tired for that.
The General Kearney Inn is a very quaint and unique hotel. We have a patio door leading into a sort of backyard area, and a short walk to an adjacent building that had a communal kitchen, which was awesome. We were able to cook dinner on an actual stove and save some of our fuel, and there was a bunch of food left behind by other guests. I used this opportunity to cook one of my couscous meals, since they take a lot longer to took and therefore use more fuel than some of my quicker meals like ramen or backpacker dinners.
Everything works out. That’s become our catchphrase. With chores and showers done and dinner over, we crawled into bed around 8:30pm – way past hiker midnight for us.