Trees reflected in small creek.
Today’s hike to Bear Creek was … a bear (sorry). And this is despite yesterday’s (mostly) zero day. But yesterday wasn’t an easy zero day. I walked about 7 miles (11.3 km) in and out of Cuba, plus drove with Ed for nearly six hours down to Silver City. It was exhausting.

Ed had arisen at 4 a.m. yesterday to make his flight, so he was super tired. We slept in until 8 a.m., and thanks to an amazing supervisor at the Holiday Inn Express, we found a ride to our starting point!

Strangely, there is no taxi service in Silver City, despite having a college and a population of nearly 10,000. So the HIE supervisor had one of her employees drive us. We gave her money for her time, of course, but were so very thankful for the assistance! This saved us hiking 3 miles (4.8 km) on a busy highway.

Hiking to Bear Creek

I’d originally planned to hike the official CDT out of Silver City to the popular Gila River Alternate, said to be taken by 90% of hikers. But I punted once again. Due to our tiring day yesterday, we instead took the Walnut Creek Alternate out of Silver City, which hooks into the Gila River Alternate.

Most comments about the Walnut Creek Alternate say it’s a boring road walk – well, that would be perfect after a tiring day. So I assumed we’d have an easy road walk, then merge onto the stunningly beautiful Gila River Alternate. Ha!

While the Walnut Creek route is, indeed, on the road, it goes uphill for about 7 miles (11.3 km). That’s a lot! We were able to lunch at a STATE FOREST SITE with picnic tables, garbage cans and bathrooms, so that was good. But after that, it was pretty miserable.

No River on the Gila River Alternate

Once we reached the Gila River Alternate, I remembered the pretty river section doesn’t start for nearly two dozen miles. The beginning was largely more uphill, and now on super rocky ORV roads. We climbed and climbed and climbed. The views were minimal, and we were often under the blistering sun. Water, once again, was a concern.

Around 4 p.m. we reached Bear Creek. I believe it’s usually flowing strong in the spring, after the snow melt. I was terrified it would be bone dry. It was pretty minimal, but there were still flowing spots where we could filter water. Phew!

Although I don’t like to stop at 4 p.m., we decided this was smart. We’d drink our fill of water, plus have water to cook dinner and bathe. In the morning we’d lard up with water again, since the next reliable source –Sapillo Creek and the Gila River – are more than 17 miles (00 km) away.

Luckily, the ORV people made a sweet, large camping spot near the river. We will rest in style tonight!


Today’s Miles: 12.1 (19.5 km)
CDT Miles to Date: 234.2 (376.9 km)
CDT Miles to Go: 2,865.8 (4,612.1 km)

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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