Saturday, May 25, 2024

Doc Campbell’s to Pie Town

After our fill of food we finally packed up and started walking away from all of the amenities. We had decided to try the high route and after a few miles of road walk ended going up, up, up. We took a break near the top and while we were there Little Bird appeared. We thought she was heading back to the Gila with Kanga and Tuba but she told us that Kanga was injured and was staying at a campground. I hope he recovers quickly, they are both fun to around. 
So now there were three of us and we continued till almost dark and set up in a spot along the top, sheltered by some trees. 

We woke up and it was cold. So cold that there was ice in my water bottle. At least we had set up the tent, Little Bird had cowboy camped and said she had been cold all night. She is planning on switching out her sleeping bag for a warmer one. 

It was a beautiful day though and we hiked in a very park like area with big trees and rolling hills or ridges. 

Our first water source was near an old abandoned prospectors cabin. I wanted to sit on the porch to have breakfast but TBD thought that it looked like a place that murderers hid out in. lol! 

Later we met some trail maintainers who were out with hand tools sawing downed trees as power tools aren’t permitted in Narional Wilderness areas. We stopped near their camp for lunch by another stream. The end of the day brought us right back down to the Gila where he had to make a choice whether to hike back up the ravine or stay low along the Gila River. I don’t think anyone wanted to go back up so…we were immediately back to multiple water crossings.

 Soon it was time to set up camp along the Gila once again and call it a night. 

The next morning was crazy cold again. We successfully hiked out of the Gila and soon after the road walks began. We did see a baby elk in the morning and later on we saw a herd of eleven elk.  There was a stretch where we weren’t sure where our next water was going to come from. We ended up having to take water from a culvert but after filtering it was clear and tasted great! We stopped to talk to Mogul and Second Wind where they had set up for the night and thought about staying with them but decided to get a few more miles in. We ended up stopping when we saw Little Bird setting up behind a tree. 

The next day also started with a road walk and along the road we met Swiss Cake and Saint for the first time.  The road started going up and TBD went ahead leaving Little Bird and I to catch up. No breaks for us on a big up! A hiker I had never met passed us so I asked him to tell TBD to stop if he saw her. At the top we found her sitting waiting for us and eating her lunch. After lunch we hiked through a burn area. We’ve been hiking through lots of burnt areas but this was the first time there were entire mountains with burnt to the crisp trees. On the PCT I called them Tim Burton trees. 

We were leapfrogging Swiss Cake and Saint who was heading to the town of Reserve with Mogul and Second Wind. Little Bird was hurting and decided to go to Reserve with them.  For some reason I thought we wouldn’t be seeing them again  (I thought they were taking a different route than us) so I was surprised to see them  when we took the Govina Canyon alternate route.  We stopped for water at the first opportunity when we got to the stream and met three ladies who were out section hiking for the weekend. In the canyon we saw a giant bull with horns. This was the second giant bull TBD had to get really close to within 24 hours. When we set up in the ravine that night she was making up stories about murderous bulls and the hikers who don’t survive. 

The next morning the trail was beautiful in the canyon but as we were climbing out the map took us a bit off trail. As we were walking the mapped route (rather than the actual trail) Swiss Cake and Saint caught up with us making the same mistake. When we saw the trail we quickly dropped back down to it and continued up and out of the canyon. Around lunchtime we made it to the road where everyone around us would take a shuttle to Reserve and we would head on alone. It turned out to be another road walk but it was a dirt road and was easy to walk on.  We stopped in a field to make dinner and while we were there Big Spoon and Slay hiked up. They had been on trail for awhile but Big Spoon had an injury and had spent a week recovering. TBD recognized his trail name as she had been reading his comments on the FarOut app. Slay who had already hiked this section and was just back to hike it with Big Spoon told us about the water available at the cabin the fire tower caretaker stayed in at the top of the next mountain. That changed our plans as we were going to have to get water in a few miles and then hike it up the mountain. Not anymore! Thanks Slay! Big Spoon gave us stickers before they hiked on to a nearby campground. The campground sounded nice but we were trying to get as close to the next mountain as we could so that we could get the up over and done with before it got too warm. We hiked until it was dark and used our headlamps to set up our cowboy camp for the night. 

The next morning we woke up early and went up, up, up! At 9,615ft we found snow! And at the top we didn’t even have to go to the cabin because the jugs of water were right along the side of the trail! Perfect because it was too early to disturb the caretaker. We hit the 300 mile mark around the top as well! We headed down the other side of the mountain with dreams of showers and clean clothes. We were headed to Davilla Ranch! We got there around lunchtime and enjoyed hot showers and got our clothes in a machine just in time before a group of hikers arrived. Prime, Flo, Hank and Blue arrived…. Well not in that order. They were racing and Prime arrived first bearing Blue by about 15 minutes. Sunrise the hiker I had asked to give TBD a message the other day arrived and a few more hikers that I still haven’t had the chance to talk to hiked in. While we were there hanging out and using the wifi, the owner John arrived and told us that they used to come across hikers who were out of water or out of food or who needed medical attention and rides almost everyday during hiker season. He and his daughter decided to open Davilla Ranch as a place where hikers could get food and water (they stock eggs, potatoes and beans and provide the kitchen to cook in). They have showers and a washer and dryer and provide wifi. It was a great place to hang out and while we were there it rained for the first time on this adventure. It was sunny and then it downpoured. And soon it was sunny again! We left around dinner time and headed to Pie Town. There was 14 miles to the town and our goal was to get as close as we could tonight.  We ended up using our headlamps and set up 6.5 miles from town along the side of a road. Not ideal but it was already dark and we were planning on getting up early to head to town.

The next day was town day! We woke up, packed up in record time and were off! We hiked into the post office first where we picked up our food drop and also my replacement hiking poles (I lost mine in the Gila) then we headed over the The Gathering Place (the only restaurant opened in town that day). I couldn’t believe what I saw when I opened the door of that restaurant. It was completely filled with hikers! 

The place was perfect! We ordered coffee and orange juice right away and a big plate of home fries with toast. I think we spent 3 hours there chatting away with other hikers. We had planned on a quick in and out of Pie Town but when we went over to check out the hostel (The Toaster House Hostel) we quickly grabbed beds and decided to stay. Not much was open in the little town and the only store that sold fuel for our stove was 3 miles away. We planned on hitching and walked down to the highway where we saw Batona who had the same idea. We ended up walking the entire way to a store that ended up being closed. We were so disappointed. Luckily a guy in a jeep gave us a ride back and we got dropped off at the restaurant where they made us a huge salad and orders of onion rings and fries. And of course root beer! While there we met Night Shift who was supporting another hiker. He offered to stop by the hostel and take us to another store to get fuel after the slack packed (drove backpacks up the trail and dropped them off so hikers don’t have to carry their packs for a few miles) Big Spoon and Slay. By the time he arrived at the hostel I wasn’t interested in going to a store but Batona went promising to get us whatever we wanted. He came back empty handed…. Except for the huge bag of chips he bought us! Thanks Batona! There was no fuel though and I figured we would just cold soak all of our meals when we ran out. Prime saved us later when he brought out his flip and a half can of fuel. He topped up both Batona and our fuel cans. Thanks Prime! It ended up being a pretty late night as we had some stuff to sort out. We were trying to figure out how to get my phone fixed (the battery got damaged in the Gila River). TBD ended up ordering a fix it kit that included all the tools needed to do the job yourself and a new battery. They will arrive in Grants along with a new pair of sandals for me and new shoe inserts for her.

Day 13   9.4 miles/15km

Day 14   18.8 miles/30.2km

Day 15   21 miles/33.8km

Day 16   20.9 miles/33.6km

Day 17   23.1 miles/37km

Day 18   21.9 miles/35.2km

Day 19   6.5 miles/10.4km

327.2 miles/526.5km so far!


“The earth has music for those who listen.”Shakespeare

1 comment:

  1. Love to read your stories good luck Tracy and be safe