The last few days were so taxing on this Gila River Alternate that I was having doubts about my hike. Should I hike on? Maybe I should bail and go home with Ed. Maybe I’m too old to be doing this stuff alone. It’s OK to change a goal you’ve set for yourself.
Ed wanted me to come home with him, but he also knew I had to make this decision myself. I had no idea what I’d do when I went to sleep. This morning I decided to forge ahead. Kristy said the trail is much better marked heading northbound, at least to Jordan Hot Springs. I figured if it got bad, I could hike back to Doc’s and find a way home.
So this morning Ed walked a mile with me before heading back for the shuttle with Bo. My matches had gotten wet somehow, and Kristy wasn’t awake when I started hiking, so I had no matches for my stove. Once again, Bo came to the rescue. He had some and, after grabbing Ed, they drove and caught me and passed them on. It was sad to see Ed go home.
Striking Out for the Meadows
I walked on the road to the Gila Cliff Dwellings, where I picked up the Little Bear Canyon Trail, yet another alternate to the Gila Alternate. It was just gorgeous in the canyon, which featured a tiny, burbling creek, narrow canyon walls and lots of greenery.
This trail spit me back out onto the Gila River Alternate. For several miles, up to the famous Jordan Hot Springs, the trail was superbly maintained and easy to follow. All of the river crossings were obvious; no need for the app.
The hot springs – where I’d originally planned to camp with Ed – were really neat. There were several campsites nearby. Too bad we missed this!
Continuing on the Gila
After Jordan Hot Springs, things got decidedly worse. Thankfully, the trail wasn’t nearly as bad as those first few days. But this stretch was often overgrown and, at times, I did have to use my app to stay on course. Still, I made decent time and decided to camp at this site in an area called The Meadows. It has a nice, flat tent pad, fire ring and seats. It’s also near the river, so easy to grab water.
I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring. I’m a little tired of wet feet and trall-finding, so I may switch to the Gila High Route (off the river) when I get to that junction. We’ll see!
Today’s Miles: 16.6 (26.7 km)
CDT Miles to Date: 288.3 (464 km)
CDT Miles to Go: 2,811.7 (4,525 km)
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My most useful piece of gear today: My Loksak Opsak, which keeps bears and other critters away from my food.