Ahoy there! It’s been a while.
I just finished two legs: Silver City to Doc Campbell’s Post and then from there to Pie Town. I think I covered nearly 200 miles over 10 days. Mileage is really hard to get right because maps and apps estimate them differently and there are also different alternates all the time.
Out of Silver City, I caught up to Überdude, Cloud, Popeye, and Gnome God. We were calling ourselves team grocery since we had so much food for the next 3 days. On top of that, we were passing around a heavy can of spinach as a joke for Popeye.
That first day we road walked and then entered Gila National Forest. We got a little lost once when we tried to take a shortcut… Moral of the story: don’t take shortcuts! After that it actually started to sprinkle rain a bit as we set up camp and while I ate my Mac and cheese infused with tuna, summer sausage, and real cheese.
The next day we climbed up and climbed down over some wooded ridges– feels good to walk under the shade of some trees and get up high on a trail! I walked about a mile down the wrong trail junction, how fun. By the end of the day, we made finally made it to the famous Gila River. Little did we know, we were about to cross the river 215 times over the next few days.
We set up camp with wet shoes, socks, and feet (there’s no use taking off your shoes for each crossing), and I started a fire. Waking up and putting on those frigid socks and shoes was quite miserable. However, we only had 10 miles to Doc Campbell’s post to pick up our resupply.
After a quick morning, we arrived and picked up our mail drops at the store. Very interesting guy Doc Campbell… I got some homemade coffee ice cream. From there we set off down the road again (so many road walks) loaded up with 7 days of food for the next 140 miles. It’s a lot of stuff. We went down a little canyon that turned into an amazing slot canyon (walls really high to your right and left) until we arrived at the middle fork of the Gila River. We did about 15 more crossings that evening to make it to Jordan Hot springs where we would soak our weary bones in the morning.
That night, some of the other people were in the hot springs at night and were crossing the river back to camp when they came across two hikers walking up the river with no headlamps in the dark. RightOn! and Handstand joined us at our fire. Awesome fellas.
After skinny dipping in the hot springs the next morning, I busted out 20 miles along the river to catch up to Popeye. That was probably my hardest day yet. On account of there not really being a trail all the time, the rocks, and the slippery crossings.
Still, it was absolutely beautiful. Rivers and streams, especially those with trout in them, are my absolute favorite landscapes to walk through. My mind gets lost watching all the pools and hearing the rush and flow. It’s even more amazing when the light gets low and reflects special ways through the canyon. I’m excited just thinking about it.
That night we had a great camp and fire, but awoke to frozen socks and shoes. We actually dipped them in the frigid river in order to “warm them up”. Jeezypeezy. However, we crossed the river for the last time that day and walked through a new dry canyon where we saw a baby rattlesnake and then up on top of some grassy plains with beautiful views.
The next few days to Pie Town were filled with walking along jeep roads, questionable water sources (“oh, that’s cow poop”), lots of new people, turkey hunters, cold nights, cows, dogs on private property, momentarily joining the “official” trail, and a magical beer truck that gave us Bud Ice. Being part of a group has been a lot of fun, especially at night when you have someone to talk to and laugh with before going to bed.
I’m sort of missing my guitar, but good company, Moby Dick, and talk of making a Settlers of CDT game has kept me pretty darn happy. I’m having a blast and feel great. Except when I wake up with frost all over my sleeping bag which sometimes happens when I cowboy camp.
Pie Town has been fun. The food is amazing. The pies have lots of calories and are delicious. All hikers stay at a hostel called the Toaster House run by a trail angel named Nita. We were able to slurp back a few beers (liquid calories), write a song with the house guitar (coming soon sometime), and create Settlers of the CDT based off of the Settlers of Catan board game. For those nerds out there: resources are water, shoes, ramen, snickers, and maps; roads are trails; settlements are mail drops; cities are full resupply towns; knights are ultralight mooches (take a resource from someone); victory point d cards are new states; road building is trail crew; monopoly is ultra yogi; year of plenty is trail magic; longest road is longest trail; largest army is lightest pack (most ultralight mooches); ports are hiker boxes (exchanging/trading); there’s more that I can show later. It doesn’t make sense to a lot of people, but it’s a board game that we made and I’m super stoked about it…
It’s been pretty fun hanging out with about 20 other hikers, but it already feels like it’s time to get on the trail again.