Sunday, May 19, 2024

Silver City to Doc Campbell’s

We had a nice relaxing morning and at 11 when we were about to check out of the hotel TBD sent Little Bird a message inviting her to come downtown with us and then head back to the trail. The three of us ended up doing a couple last minute chores on the way back downtown and then buying sandwiches and burritos to pack out later from the food coop. Little Bird bought mango ice cream for the Talenti jar so I helped her finish that off. We met Sketchy who hiked the CDT previously but who had just come

off of another trail. We had a great time listening to her funny trail stories. And then after a few other interesting conversations with locals (including a guy named Wolf who hiked 700 miles of fhe AT in the 90’s) we started the road walk out of town. Along the road walk we were surprised when a car pulled over and a lady invited us to a shady spot for beer, apple juice, yogurt or apples. Her name is Wiley and she has been keeping a cooler of drinks and snacks in her car for whenever she sees hikers. She said we were the first women she has seen! I took the apple juice and an apple and TBD and Little Bird each had a beer. She actually invited us back to her place for the night but we had just stayed in town and were excited to be heading into the Gila. As we were about to say goodbye Murphy, Dozer and Batona (stands for Back to nature) came up the road so we left them with the almost empty cooler laughing as we headed up the road that we had taken all the good stuff! The road walk would have been long but we chatted away with Little Bird as we made miles. Soon we were entering Gila National Park. There was a picnic area with outhouses and a water pump so we took a break loading up our water before continuing on a really nice path.  The entire hike was beautiful but we ended up having to take our headlamps out for the last hour to make it down to the stream. At the stream we dropped our packs at the first sandy spots and cowboy camped.

We woke up to learn that there was a nice grassy field we could have set up in. Oh well!  I thought we were heading into the the Gila River today so you can imagine how disappointed I was as I hiked up and up and up. It was a very slow going day and I took a break with my sleeping bag at lunchtime. The trail was absolutely beautiful though. Big cedars and lots of oak and there was a breeze all day. I thought I would be happier on the down but the down was very steep and rocky. I was thankful when we got to the bottom. There we found D20 and Happy Six. They had gone ahead and crossed the Gila but turned around and were taking another trail out as they thought it was too high. Happy Six is pretty tall so that was a bit daunting but we were excited to finally be so close to the water section. We crossed the river a few times, it was about waist high (maybe a bit higher) and rushing water but we knew that the first section was supposed to be the worst and thought we would be okay. It was close to sundown and we definitely did not want to be crossing the river at night so we set up at the fist flat spot we found. It was windy, our shoes and clothing were soaked from the water crossings but we were happy to finally be here!

The next morning we woke up to frost  over everything. TBD’s shoes were frozen, our sleeping bags were covered in frost and our wet clothes were frozen and frosty. We packed up in the cold knowing we would have to cross the river again in a few minutes.  Sure enough we were crossing. We spent most of the day either crossing the river back and forth or searching for trail on either side. We found Batona searching for the trail and he hiked for us for a bit. When we stopped for coffee he gave us really nice coffee. TBD is counting this as her 200 mile celebration. After that break I got swept away down the river and lost my trekking poles, a water bottle and the tyvek ground sheet for under the tent. Thirty feet down the river I was able to grab some roots along the river bank and I waited for TBD to help me out. I was fine, it’s too bad about the gear but I get to say I went for a float down the Gila River.

Later in the day we ended up hiking with Tuba,Kanga, Little Bird and Batona. It was fun hiking in a group and we were spread out so that some of us would arrive just in time to see where the person ahead chose to cross the river. The river was intense but it was really only an issue when it was over my waist. The last few miles our focus was on getting to Doc Campbell’s. We had heard that Doc’s was going to be closed the next day and knew we wouldn’t make it in time today. TBD used her Garmin to send a message to Skip who was ahead of us. It turned out that he had left Doc’s already. We had nothing to worry about though, when we arrived at Dic Campbell’s the owners owned up for us and let us take as long as we wanted. The place was like heaven! We started with root beers, picked up our food package and bought a few snacks before heading across the road to the campground filled with  hikers. The campground wasn’t ideal. The hot water in the shower didn’t work and we had set up the tent on the only grass and found out that a sprinkler would go off at 6am where the tent was. But Doc Campbell’s the next day made it all worthwhile! They even made us a vegan pizza! TBD had a hot shower there and we did our laundry. We sat and ate and met other new hikers. I think we were one of the last hikers to leave with only Kanga, Tuba and Little Bird behind us.

Day 10: 12 miles/19.3km

Day 11:17.9 miles/28.8km

Day 12:16.4 miles/26.4km

205.8 miles/ 331km so far!


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

1 comment:

  1. An amazing chapter that was!!! You two are resilient and more!!