Gateway to the Gila
Gila River Alt. Miles: 5.1-22.3 (17.2)
Total Hiked: 191.6 miles
Elevation Range: 5,200-7,890
Fear not, you few fair folk joining on this journey. I bring tidings from up ahead… I hike onward and more tales from the trail shall be shared in the near future (when I get enough cell service)!
“It was awesome, but also, it wasn’t.” – Troy Barnes in Community (when asked about the infamous GreenDale pillow/blanket fort war)
Wow wow wow! Today was a full and beautiful day. Tough hiking at times, but just lovely.
I slept in and got a 7:15am start. Even so, I was the first out of camp. Not long into my hike I took a wrong turn. After realizing and making my way back to the trail, the four hikers that I’d camped near, who seem grouped up (Soccer Mom, Ponderosa, Bright Eyes, and Sledge) came up and passed. I followed along and when they missed the next turn I called out, “Hey Soccer Mom! I think we cut off here.” It didn’t seem silly at the time, but seeing it written out is pretty great.
These four are super hikers, really fast. But, unlike some super hiker groups I’ve met, they also seem to be quite welcoming and open to others hanging with them. There was no way I could’ve kept up and so I cruised at my own speed. At one point I came across Fix It and and we walked together for a bit.
I learned Fix It is a retired California tech. guy. He met me at my second breakfast spot later on too and when chatting, he told me an idea he had for our app that I thought was brilliant… basically, it would allow the the hiker to set a sort of alarm when a specific waypoint is reached. Often, if we’re on the lookout for a junction or water source, it’s easy to miss, and so we have to have the phone out and continually check as getting closer. Tough to do when walking on rocky and uneven terrain. I think it’s brilliant.
I’m not sure what I expected today, but it wasn’t the extreme uphill sections we had before lunch. I almost made it up to 8,000 feet elevation and certain sections of trail were stupidly steep. Like straight up the mountain steep.
I reached the high point a few miles before a water source where I took lunch. There were butterflies all around and I started taking note of the different colors… orange and black and white (monarch?), bright yellow with black border, light yellow, big with yellow and black patterned, small bluish purple, and brownish black.
After lunch the trail was mostly gradually descending with some steep stuff too. A lot of it was going down the sides of dry-ish streambeds. Occasionally there would be some algae filled pools. Overall, much more water today, which was great. I not longer had to fill 4 -5 liters, but could do half that much.
The last two miles of trail were steeper downhill to the river. I was getting so excited as I finally could see the beginnings of what this praised river section was about. At 6:30pm I made it to the Gila River and found the super hikers. Had dinner with them right there near the bank. While eating, another friend of theirs, Squintz, arrived who had left Silver City today, so covering more than 30 miles.
After dinner, I set up my tent and went through my nightly routine. All is well.
Since I took so many pics today, I thought I’d try doing a summary and then do a dump if them here…
Second Breakfast -> Lunch
Post-Lunch -> Camp
Album of the Day
“Local Valley” by Jose Gonzalez
Song of the Day
“Guerilla Radio” by Rage Against the Machine