Too long in town

Unwilling to walk back into the odd town of Colorado City until we knew for sure our packages were at the P.O. I called to ahead to see if our boxes had arrived. When we were told there was still not any mail for us we decided to move our camp a couple of miles further out of town and stock up with fresh food and beer to make us comfortable while we waited. We swung by the market and then walked down the highway towards a small liquor store. After grabbing some beer we sat outside the liquor store charging our phones on the side of the building. We discussed the odd lifestyle of the polygamists that inhabited the remote desert town down the road. As we pondered our many questions of such a different world several jeeps pulled up out front. We were approached by a man who asked if we would be interested in smoking a joint with them. We were unsure how to respond as this town had us really on edge, but once we broke into further conversation we realized that we were not being set up and these men were just being friendly. Soon we were circled by jeep loads of guys who were curious about us, the odd outsiders that surely everybody in town had heard of by now, and we were happy to answer their questions. We had questions of our own as these men did not seem to be like the others we had seen around. We asked where they were from and one man responded with, "born and raised polygamists in the town down the road, kicked out of the church, thank the Lord" as he tipped his hat and gave us a toothless grin. "We all live out over there now" and he pointed to a large expanse of desert on the opposite side of the hill from the town. They began to describe how we could find their place "if we needed anything, anything at all." They then invited us to "go wheeling" with them exclaiming again and again that we were "guaranteed to have a good time." We were so curious, and knew it would probably be the perfect opportunity for us to ask all of the questions that we had about the polygamist lifestyle, but reluctantly we declined. We chatted for awhile longer until they finally climbed in their jeeps and raced down the dirt road. It was a refreshing relief to have had such a nice interaction with some people in this town.

We returned to our camp tucked deep into the juniper trees and settled in for an unknown period of time. It began to rain that night and continued to rain for most of the following day. I tracked my shoes which were now on day four of what should have been overnight delivery and found that they were still not in town. Goose washed our stinky clothes in a couple of water jugs. Wearing one pair of clothes for sixteen days of hiking and no showers make for clothes that are dirty beyond description so I was super appreciative that he offered to do this for us! We listened to podcasts and lounged around in our tent which we had just received for the last days of our trip. It was amazing how much warmth was added to our December nights when we slept in an enclosed tent. We should have had the tent sent out earlier, but I was being stubborn and trying to go the entire hike with only our tarp. It was kinda silly we ended up switching out for the last fifty miles, but we were happy to have it even for the last few nights.  

The following morning I checked on my shoes again and we were thrilled to find out they were at the P.O. in town. We packed up our camp, resupplied at the market for the next days (our food boxes never made it which was okay because we were sick of the food in them anyhow) and picked up the long awaited for box at the P.O. I happily put on my new shoes and bounced on the thick soles which cushioned my feet so much nicer than my last pair with holes through the bottom. We then filled our water bottles at the gas station and began to make our way through the heart of town. Our alternate route took us through residential streets to the edge of town where we would enter a canyon and make our way back to the Hayduke Trail. As we walked through town we were passed by truckloads of children sitting on hay bails or standing in the beds. The housing compounds with matching roofs and ten foot tall solid fences or walls grew larger and larger as we reached the edge of town, some taking up entire blocks,. We were either stared at our ran away from when we saw people near the compounds. We couldn't wait to get out of there and back into the wilderness! We finally found the canyon and creek that we were to follow for the next ten miles and followed a dirt road past the last of the private lands. A truck approached from the opposite direction and we stepped aside as it slowed to pass us. As typical, this truck was also filled with young boys and the eldest at perhaps fourteen years old, who stood in the bed of the truck, exchanged greetings with us. We then looked at the driver of the truck who was a child of no more than eight years old with a toddler on his lap and four passengers who looked younger than the eight year old driver. We gawked in surprise as they drove away back towards the town and we hurried on to find a good spot far away to set our tent for the night. We were so happy to be out of that town and backpacking again!