Daily Miles: 19
Total Miles: 444
We had a really nice and relaxing evening at our rental. Given the fact that there was no internet and no TV, relaxing was about all we could do. We did watch a few episodes of Fraiser that SweetPea had on her phone and then headed to bed early.
This morning we got our food sorted out for the coming five days and packed up our gear. We managed to eat most of the treats that Mountain Man and Ace had sent, but as for the few remaining items, we just added them to our food bags as treats on the trail.
We headed across the street to drop off a few things in the hiker box at the general store (Doc Campbell’s), but the store was closed. There was a hiker outside who we talked with and realized he was hiking the GET too! Our second GET hiker…both of them we met in towns. His name is One Gallon and he was just coming in, so he wasn’t planning to hike back out for at least several hours. There is certainly a good chance we’ll see him on the trail, since it seems he is hiking faster than us.
And our great hitching luck on this trail continued, as the guy who had given One Gallon a ride to Doc Campbell’s was heading back out our way and was happy to give us a lift. He was really interesting to talk with as he gave us a ride in his Sprinter that he has set up really well for living out of. He said he spends half the year in the Sprinter and half the year doing long-distance cycling trips. It sounded like he had really worked it all out and was really happy with his life. We always enjoy meeting people who have created an “off the beaten path” kind of life for themselves.
We got back on the trail just before 9:00am. The trailhead we started at is the same one the CDT folks use. We weren’t sure how long our two trails were concurrent and we never saw another hiker this morning.
The trail was really nice and well-maintained today. We had a lot of fords over the day again…our feet are ready for a break from being wet. The trail had so many cairns this morning, we thought it was kind of strange. We weren’t sure if we were still on the CDT and maybe that was the reason for the cairns.
We came across a pack of about nine javelinas this morning. They blended in so well with the golden grasses, and they were completely still for about ten seconds when we eyed them. Then they all bounded off…almost hopping like rabbits. We got a good laugh out of them.
The scenery was really nice today…rolling hills at times, canyon walls at other times. Golden grasses with pines and junipers. At times it was reminiscent of a pioneer scene…all we needed was Pa Ingalls to come driving his wagon.
We had some walking in washes this afternoon, but it was still pretty nice. The walking today has been easier and we have been able to keep up a quicker pace than normal. That has effected our navigation some…we often look at the map to see the distance to our next point of note and then estimate our arrival there based on our typical pace. Since we were walking faster today, we kept getting to the next point of note earlier than expected and we even missed a couple turn offs because we were walking faster than our normal pace. As the day went on, we adjusted our estimates and got better at predicting our arrival time. This method of navigation really helps us to keep track of our progress, without always having to have the GPS on.
Our final few hours of the day were spent starting to walk through Tom Moore Canyon. It is a really wide and shallow canyon…it doesn’t even really look like a canyon. We still have golden grasses and tall pine trees. The trail is flat and easy to walk.
We stopped just after 6:00pm at a spot which looked much better than it turned out to be. It’s pretty rocky in this area, but as we cleared off the rocks, we just seemed to uncover all the charcoal bits from a forrest fire. So, we keep getting bits of charcoal blowing onto our stuff, and surely things will be pretty dirty when we wake up tomorrow.
As we were setting up, we noticed that there were some grey clouds. Since we had looked at the forecast yesterday and it had showed 0% chance of rain, we chose to ignore them. Once we were laying in our sleeping bags, we started to feel just a few drops…it seemed our strategy of ignoring it wasn’t working for us. So, we decided to move Beardoh’s set up about 15 feet away and put up both of our tarps. The rocky soil is hilariously hard to get a stake into, so we have giant rocks securing each of our tie outs. Of course, since we started working on this, we have not felt another raindrop…seems like Mother Nature is playing with us.
Tomorrow morning we will leave the Gila Wilderness for the final time. We have really come to appreciate this area and the diversity it holds. Surely there will be more gems to walk through on this trail, but we are really glad to have become acquainted with the Gila area.