This was a big section. 9 days of backpacking without any real town stays. Definitely longest section/trip I’ve ever done and town, as spare as it was, was much appreciated at the end.
Zero Day! Slept in today. Stressful day (town usually is). Got all the chores done, had a pizza dinner. Packing out leftovers will be swell.
Slept in, continental breakfast and off to trail. 7+ miles of road walk then some beautiful trail sections for a while. Back to gravel roads and 4×4 tracks made for a rollercoaster of a trail. Collected water from our first creek on trail and had our first creek crossing.
1.2 miles to trail from hotel (back on at 157.8). 17.8 trail miles up the red line then onto the Gila alt. Mile 6.4 on alt. = 19 miles (177.6 TTM)
Set out in the morning with light packs due to natural water in the next couple miles. After winding up some steep hills and through dry river banks we came to a mother of a mountain to climb. Steep, no switch backs, no fucks given kind of trail. Terrain till now has been fairly flat till Lordsburg. Easy climbs with good grading through the Burro Mountains into SC. Now we’re in the Gila, where there are no fucks given. Up, up, up we go the down, down, down. Made it to the bottom, which means we’ve arrive at the Gila river! And the first swim of the trail. Couldn’t have been sweeter after such a hot and grueling day. The Trail Fam all arrived and we headed up trail another hour or so till we found a good site for the night. The sound of flowing water is beautiful.
Camp @ 25.2 Gila alt = 18.8 Miles / 6 water crossings (196.3 TTM)
Little bit of a sleep in after a tranquil night next to the Gila River. Cool shady morning on account of the abundant trees and deep canyon. Never really got hot. Regular river crossings also kept us cool and thoroughly supplied with water. Stopped for lunch at a hot springs and went between the river and them. After lunch we headed the last 3 miles to Doc Campbell’s Trading Post. After picking up treats and our resupplies we decided it was best to head another 4 miles of road walk to the free camping near the Gila Cliff dwellings national monument for early morning viewing before we headed back to the Gila river for more river walks.
Just off @ CG .7 on Gila high route = 18.1 miles / ~44 river crossings (214.5 TTM)
Walked Gila Cliff dwellings with the crew, sans Oli and Strap-on(previously Aaron). They were waiting for a box at Doc’s. Not sure when we’ll see them, should not be far behind. Also walked with Pat and Wicket. Got back on trail and passed Sprouts, Stumble-bee, and Pale Ale. Made it back to the Gila river and boy is it cool. Still a river, but more shade, more trees, and a 1000 feet of red cliffs soaring above. Beautiful. More hot springs around lunch. Saw our first rattle snake crawling along the hill side above the hot spring. We all watched intently hoping it wasn’t going to join us.
Camp @ 59.5 + ~3 NTM for the Dwellings = 14.8 TM (229.3 TTM) / ~82 crossings
Met Gables and The Brain at the lunch stop. “Walking Home” was also a new name today. Got started @ 8. Felt late, but those are the benefits of hiking in a shady canyon. We made it out of the Gila River canyon to a very disappointing lake that would not be swam in. There were trash cans, bathrooms, and clean water so that was good. After dinner we decided to walk another 5 miles to the next water source. Running low on food, I didn’t pack enough for lunches. Should make it fine might be a little hungry the last day or two.
Camp @ 83.1 of Gila alt = 23.6 TM ( 252.9 TTM) ~90 crossings
First night at or below freezing. Of course forgot to bring my filter into the tent or sleeping bag so might have ruined it after just getting it is Silver City. 🤦♂️ Unfortunately, I have no backup and there’s water to drink so I’ll have to find out the hard way if it indeed froze (Future Guru here, so far I haven’t gotten sick after having to use it for several weeks so looks like I got lucky). Steady climb all day up in to the high plains and canyons of the Gila NF. Sparse on water and I missed the fill today and had to back track almost a half mile. Annoying but necessary. My food supply has been low. Poor planning on my part. I failed to pack adequate lunches. Luckily, the trail provides. Meaning, Arrow over packed and was able to supply a dinner and some bars that mean I can reshuffle to make it out without totally starving. I feel much more confident in my ability to eat. I don’t feel like I’m robbing Peter to pay Paul. We make it back to the red line (CDT) tomorrow first thing and leave the Gila River alt behind. Though the water was soothing to feet and spirit, I don’t miss the constant wet feet. Many of our legs are very dry from the constant wet-dry cycle. In total we did around 220 river crossings in about 50 miles of trail. Today was a rough transition to nearly 20 miles of gravel road walk.
Camp @ 105.4 = 22.3 TM (275.2 TTM)
Met Jif and Bingo Bango at camp in the morning. Here on day 17 I’m remembering I signed up for a 4-5 month journey(120-150+ days) and wondering about my sanity. But here we are.
Camp @ 4.6 of the Pie Town Alt. = 27.3 TM (302.5 TTM)
Ended up making a day of hiking and we got into camp at 10:30. It was already cold and getting colder. Luckily I remembered to sleep with my filter this time. Between the cold and the late night I didn’t wake till 8:30 and was busting miles by 9. Did the first 16 by 2 then rolled into the Davila Ranch round 4 for some real food and charging.
Davila ranch is a Rest stop and haven for hikers on the CDT provided by a local rancher. There’s laundry, showers, some basic food, and places to charge things. It’s an oasis and much appreciated.
They had showers and laundry but it didn’t seem worth it on the short schedule and the fact I’d be in town the next day (I came to regret this as there was no laundry in town). Rolled out at 6 for some nice evening miles to get into town early.
Camp @ 33.5 pie town alt = 28.9 TM ( 331.4 TTM)
Leisurely morning walk into town for breakfast and a chill day at the Toaster House hostel. Good pie, good pizza, good times. Over re-supplied and ready or not, walking out in the morning to shit tons of road walks. It’s the worst, but welcome to the CDT in New Mexico.
Hostel @ 39.6 pie town alt = 6.1 TM (337.5 TTM)