Start: Hwy 15 Gila River Bridge
Stop: Jordan Hot Springs
Total miles: 198
My tent is soaked. Every time my head touches it my animal beanie gets wet. I put dry socks on my feet but they go into my soaking wet shoes. I slog the 1 mile down the road to Doc Campbell’s Post where my resupply box is waiting. Thanks Mom and Dad! I yard sale my pack (spread the contents everywhere) in order to dry everything out. Luckily the sun is on my side this morning.
Ice cream, post cards, blog/instagram update and resupply sort fill the next few hours before Beads and I start the road walk to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. We pay the entrance fee and climb up to the caves. It’s a totally remarkable place and I try to imagine what it must have been like to live there perched above the river valley. Volcanic eruptions plus deposited sediments have created the perfect environment for cave erosion. Carbon dated wood places the structures within the caves at over 700 years old. Also noteworthy is that the Gila Wilderness was the first to be designated as such in the US.
We eventually hit the trail about 5pm and crush a few miles up and over into the Little Bear slot canyon. This leads us to the Middle Fork of the Gila River. The dramatic cries erupt as we launch our dry feet back into the river and hike another 3 miles.