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Pie town to Grants was a lot of days of lots of (seemingly) endless road walking. The start was fine since we were on dirt roads, but because of Bourbons leg we were trying to take the shortest route possible from point A to point B. That meant a lot of hiking on paved roads (or blacktop, as the locals call it). This is particularly unforgiving because it has no softness, and it forces you to take exactly the same steps over and over and over again.
The highlights were meeting the Thomas' who kindly let us stay on their property and use their water. This is probably the last year CDT hikers will be able to do this though, since after a bad fall recently they are selling their land and moving to Texas. They were very lovely.
I also had an unfortunate interaction with a "dry" (read: not at all dry) mud pit around a water source. Find me in person and buy me a drink one day and I'll tell you the story.
Taking some proper rest for Bourbons leg and then heading up to Cuba tomorrow I think. We are going to try and summit Mt Taylor on the way- wish us luck!
Bourbon got a pretty bad episode of Tibial stress syndrome during our last day on the Gila. It was partly because his crummy shoes completely collapsed along the inner endge of the sole, and partly I think because we pushed through 27.5miles of trail that day. The trail was on and off river rocks, through the river so many times I lost count... it was a pretty hard day of walking.
Th next morning Bourbon could barely walk- he only managed 1 mile in the first hour of hiking, which was a pretty bad sign. Whilst we were standing on the trail trying to come up with an exit strategy, we got a magical hitch from some very fascinating, very kind hunters who happened to live not far from the Toaster House in Pie Town. So they picked us up off the trail, and dropped us at the door of the place we were headed to. Amazing.
We have been resting up there for 4 days, and the swelling and bruising and pain in Bourbon 's leg has gone down enough that we are back on the trail today! So far it has been hard going on a loooong road walk, but hopefully his leg holds up. Keep your fingers crossed for us, we are taking it easy and should be in Grants in 5 days time if all goes well!
Cheers, Medic and Bourbon.
Well, we pushed pretty hard and with a 27.5 mile day made it out of the Gila and up to Snow lake- we gained about 2000ft of altitude over the course of the day. We got in at 8pm, almost dark, and discovered there was no water at snow lake campground. Bit of a tough end to a 13hour day of walking.
Josh has hurt his leg pretty badly and the 27.5mile day definitely didn't help, so yesterday he was barely managing a mile an hour. By amazing coincidence a group of hunters drove past just as we were trying to work out how to get across to the highway to try and hitchhike to somewhere we could hole up for Josh to rest. They live one town across from Pie Town, and graciously offered to give us a ride straight to The Toaster House where we are now. Magical. A hitch straight from the trail, straight to a trail angels house. The Hunter who gave us a lift was incredibly nice, but also is a strong believer in the 3rd amendment and spent a lot of time filling us in on his large collection of rifles and guns and different shooting adventures... It's amazing the blend of people you meet on trips like this. Hopefully we will be back on the trail in a day or two. Keep your fingers crossed for us!
This canyon still blows my mind. Crossed the river about a million times today, rubbed up against a lot of poison ivy and took a lot of photos that just don't do it justice.
Pro tips: if you lose the trail, walk directly away from the water and usually it appears. The Cairns of rocks showing where to cross are also definitely your friends. I spoke to a hiker today who didn't know there was any trail at all, who had been basically non-stop bush whacking. Hopefully he has a better time of it now.
If you look closely at the gap in the trees, you can see Katie up ahead of Josh. Katie is still about 40m in front of the cliff... Just for some scale.
It took us a while to get the hang of the many (manymany) river crossings this morning during our first foray along the Gila River alternate (pronounced Hee-la for those playing along at home). It was a stunning transition from high dry desert full of pinion pines and dry grass down to the canyons full of towering Oaks and Elms. None of my photos do it justice, and I honestly didn't take many. The constant track finding and river crossings definitely wore me down today. You'd be on an actual trail, cross the river from cairn to cairn then poof! The trail has disappeared. We also followed some very (very) recent bear prints and scats. So recent we could still see the creases in the pads of his paws imprinted in the dust. He was stepping on the hikers footprints of the hiker immediately in front of us (she was only maybe 15-20mins ahead). Kind of amazing really!
Silver City was a great town to zero in, although we are still learning the best way to resupply so we spent a lot of time running around getting not much done. It's a super cool little town though, and it boasts two stores that carry hiking supplies so it is a good spot for getting a few bits and pieces if you need.
The hike out to Little Bear creek was pretty mellow (only 12miles) and we took our time (thinking we would have a few low mileage days). The next day, however, we had a near constant climb for several miles, and th altitude really kicked our butts. Guthook was also incorrect about the mileage, we were expecting a 15 mile day and ended up doing a 19.2 mile day. The views were pretty epic though.
Tomorrow, on to the Gila!
Hiked up and over Burro Peak yesterday- our biggest day yet! 23 miles up to 8050ft, and nearly ran out of water no less. Other hikers, note that almost all the water sources on both the ascent and descent were almost completely dry. Also, there is no view from the top!? Gipped
We ended up spending the night at Burro Mountain Homestead, then cut out 20miles by following Tyrone road and the Hwy 90 up to Silver City. We are all pretty worse for wear after 19.5 miles of road walking today and that behemoth yesterday. Good to have a zero day tomorrow.