It was late afternoon when we left San Diego, pushing through a little traffic before the open road was in front of us for the next five-six hours. Along the way, migrant workers toiled in the fields, trains rumbled across the desert, and a spectacular moon rise awed us.
Sometime a little before midnight local time, we pulled into the Emery Henderson Trailhead of the Black Canyon Trail, officially designated a National Recreation Trail. Sleep was on my mind; an imperial stout night cap was on their minds. Sleeping pads and bags were set up on the cement slab, and after some good-natured ribbing, I slugged a little black liquid and then crawled deeper into my cocoon.
Coyotes yipped in the distance. Stars shined bright. A breeze kicked up to a gust of wind from time to time. As my eyes grew heavier, an owl offered a greeting.
A good night’s sleep in my body, I woke and was feeling great about getting started on bike packing for the next three days. The morning Phoenix sun rose, warming my chilled bones. Not long after unloading our bikes and gear, a friend showed up to shuttle us to the trailhead up north along route 69.