Quite a day! I hiked another 13 miles of the Gila, as the walls of the canyon grew. Eventually, they were 1,000 feet tall! I know this because after lunch I had to climb out of the canyon and back into desert.
I think I did get in the 70 crossings, and the 13th was the most memorable. It was the first of the morning, and my socks had frozen solid over night, to the point where I couldn’t even contemplate getting them on my feet. So, first I walked a bit in just my shoes, not done up (laces frozen too). At the 13th crossing I washed everything in very cold water, which got them moving just enough to achingly put everything on properly. There were some grim, cold crossings early, but as the morning progressed it got much better. By lunch the cold water was a relief.
There were so many cool formations in the canyon, giant spikes, tons of nice little pools, and caves scooped out of sheer walls by flooding waters. I was somewhat sad to choose the Cliff Dwellings route rather than just continuing down the canyon to it’s end.
The Cliff Dwellings are these interesting pueblos built high into canyon cliffs. I was there towards the end of a windy, hot day and the caves were cool and quiet. Standing on one of the cave porches, it seemed like am awfully nice and peaceful place to live.
I had lots of time to think about that last thought while I walked the side of a highway 4.5 miles to Doc Campbell’s, the store where my next resupply is being held. It was closed (somewhat expected), and had a hand written note saying it’s closed til noon tomorrow (nasty and unexpected). It’s mostly annoying because there’s nothing else here.
Or so I thought! There may be no food or phone service, but I camped at a spot that has a natural hot springs. So I may be stuck here, but at least I’ll be comfortable!
Date: Oct 20, 2011
Daily Distance: 27.3 miles
Trip Distance: 2416 miles