You know it’s chilly when sliding into your sleeping bag is one of the highlights of your day.
The wind started picking up about 3 am and by mid morning it was a full-on gale. It was warm enough when the sun was out, but got downright brisk at sunset — which is 6pm.
More forest walking, with much of it along old lumber rail beds.
Other then a herd of pronghorns grazing in a meadow with Humphries Peak in the background, there were no arresting sights today.
The trail skirted around Mormon Lake, but only a few views filtered by the trees were to be had. Although it was named Lakeview Trail, I viewed very little lake.
Mid afternoon a good sized mule deer went flying across the trail at top speed. Not just bounding away, as they do when they spot you. Flying. Nothing that I could see was pursuing it, although given the shadowy forest a lion could have been 30 yards from me and I would not have seen it.
Not much later I began to smell smoke and see a faint haze through the trees to the west. Was it a prescribed burn? Given the wind and the dryness, this seemed implausible. A big fire? There certainly have been plenty of those in Arizona in recent years. Was I walking right into it? No way to know. I seemed to be walking perpendicular to the smoke and might outflank it. Or I could walk right into another section of it. I had no phone service, so no way of getting any information other than through my own senses. But the main highway was not too far ahead – I figured if I got there and there were no fire vehicles screaming up and down, then things were OK. And if not, the highway would be my best option for bugging out. I picked up my pace and seemed to leave the smoke behind.
Fire is certainly a concern with this wind, but it’s been several miles since I detected any, and I am near the main highway and not hearing any sirens, so I think it’s ok.