Day 14 – 12+ Miles (201 miles from Mexico)

I’m living life as hard as I can.

Two weeks on the trail, 200 miles, and I cant imagine being anywhere else. Sleeping when the sun goes down, waking just before the day begins…it’s as if I’ve been transported to an alternate universe where time takes on a different pace. Two weeks back in Bend pass quickly…the routien (no spell check out here! oh well, who cares) of the everyday has certain qualities that are blissfully absent out here. No bills to pay, no obligations other than to my feet and stomach. I’ve already lived a lifetime in these two weeks, and the prospect of 4-5 more months of this is pretty exhillirating.

Do it people. Unplug for a while. You will find a peace and inner strength that will amaze you.

I woke at 5am today…the call of nature can’t be ignored, but there was also a hot spring pool mere feet from my tarp. I made my coffee and slipped into the waters while the sky was still dark. Watching the sky lighten, brighten, and the clouds slowly breeze over the canyon walls is an experience that is hard to capture in words or photos. Come see for yourself!

I decided to visit the Gila Cliff Dwellings, so road walked the 4ish miles to the park, and walked the mile loop through a large dwelling. Beautiful. I’d love to live perched in a cliff deep in the mountains, what an existance! There are quite a few other cliff dwellings to be found in the area…some along the Gila River, not sure if I’ll remember to notice, but the river canyon we have been walking through is sure to hold some treasures.

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Then i hiked the Bear Canyon Trail to meet the Gila River, and holy slot canyon, it was a great side trip!! But the best was the awe-inspiring first glimpse of the Middle Fork. WOWOWOWOW I had no idea that canyon would be like this! You MUST make it a point to visit some day. A fire and flood two years ago took out a lot of the trail through the canyon, you can tell it is loved heavily…but I was suprised at how much trail there was.

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The few miles to Jordan Hot Springs took much longer than usual beause I kept stopping to look up and try and capture it all in a photo…but the cliffs where much too large to accurately capture the experience.

I made it to Jordon Hotsprings…a little oasis set up off the river with clear blue water…and I had it all to myself! A little shelf just above the springs was open, so I set up my tarp. Meanwhile Dan, a backpacker from back home in the North West came in, he was just out for a short trip, but we had a good time talking trail while soaking.

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My view from camp

And then Bearclaw came in! Woot! We shared stories from the past week and ate dinner, finishing just in time; the sky opened just a bit to let a few sprinkles down, but we are tucked safe and dry in our tarps. The sound of running water will lull us to sleep and we face another wonderous day in the Gila canyon tomorrow.

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6 thoughts on “Day 14 – 12+ Miles (201 miles from Mexico)

  1. Sweet! I’m looking forward to hiking this stretch in a few year’s time. 2011 was a big year for drought, fire and long detours in NM and heaps of snow to the north. Glad to see your smiling face!

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  2. Sounds glorious and just the type of experience I like. So glad you are lapping up every moment. Thanks for sharing it through your eyes. I look forward to my turn.

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  3. So true to just take time to unplug. I love my weekend backpacking trips but I also plan on doing a thru hike hopefully next year. PCT or AT for first one, suggestions?

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  4. Would I still possibly get a trail name?? I heard it good to do AT first but I’m originally from California so I’m leaning towards west coast first then AT following year. We’ll see saving now….

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