Since I last added to our blog, much of our time was spent hiking The Gila Alternate, a route through the Gila River Canyon. This route is one of the favorite sections for many CDT hikers due to the availability of water, hot springs, and the amazing canyon walls accented with towering rock spires. Hikers cross the river 200+ times over the 7-8 days hiking the alternate.
Three days into the alternate, we stopped at Doc Campbell’s, a small store that supports hikers and other backcountry travelers. We picked up our first mailed resupply here—way too much food, probably close to twenty pounds each. I’m seriously rethinking our strategy in regards to food weight to calorie ratio.
At first I found the river crossings and the canyon enchanting. It was relatively flat, the water was refreshing on warm days, we got to soak in the Jordan Hot Springs all by ourselves, and the lush surroundings were a welcome change from the New Mexico desert. But as the weather turned colder, the romance somewhat cooled...
Notes from Wednesday, April 28
This shall forever be known as the cold adventurous day. It was a bit chilly starting out but I felt really good and strong. Daydreamed about the future, looked at the amazing surroundings. Tall cliff walls surrounding us with spires made of stone. The excitement began when I slipped and fell in the cold water. I fell down then I fell forward. I freaked about my phone getting wet. Cried out to John for help. Couldn’t stand up by myself because my backpack was so heavy with food. When I got up I was relieved to find everything in my fanny pack was dry, including my phone. I had slipped on a slippery rock and lost balance due to the heavy load high on my pack. We brought too much weight in food. I want to pack less in the future even if it means less food for the trail.
And now I was wet. My gloves and the sleeves and around the waist of my puffy coat and shirts. We figured it was in the low 50s... until sleet began to fall from the sky. I walked as fast as I could, hoping to dry out my clothes with body heat. Well, I slipped in the river two more times, getting one glove and my shirts wet each time. Cold!
The other exciting moment is when the river had rock walls along both banks and I scaled a wall. On my first attempt I knew I’d never make it with my pack so I headed back down, took off my pack, and threw it above onto the ledge. A bit stupid, dangerous, and the funnest part of the hiking day.
We stopped at 3:30, after nine hours of hiking and I’ve never been happier to be in my down clothes, in my down sleeping bag, in my tent. John’s making hot tea and we’ll eat soon. A difficult but memorable day.