After the March we wandered downtown to pick up a few things. It just so happened to be Tour of the Gila here in Silver City. Part of the road was blocked off for a timed loop the cyclists were doing. We arrived for what seemed to be the most exciting race of the day (per the announcer). We hung around and watched the cyclists loop around with one lead that kept his position and even added time between himself and the pelaton in the last lap. It was fun to get caught up in the event.
From there we headed back out to the woods. We did a long drive on a dirt road to a trailhead for a backpacking trip the next day. The road we took had not been maintained. We ended up moving 5 trees. The first we dragged, and I hurt my lower back a little despite trying to be careful. The next two we wrapped a jerk strap around the tree and dragged it out of the way. One we moved using a steel pipe as a lever and the last we was small and Matthew just dragged out of the way. Good times. We prepped for backpacking and for dinner made ash cakes and fried spam, a delicacy in the woods.
He loves this stuff
Had to drag this for a while to get it out of the way
He's so strong... I ended up doing some of the lifting with the steel bar too
The plan was to spend 3-4 days out. With a possible loop in mind, should we make good time. The trail ran along the Gila river. This meant more river crossings. This time I wore my new mesh trail runners with no socks and had little trouble with the crossings. Matthew had his leather shoes, not wanting to get them wet repeatedly he took them off for crossings. So this time I was the quick crosser! As a result we did not make much headway on the trail. It took half a day to go a few miles. It also lacked a trail most of the time, we kept going just following deer paths, bushwaking and keeping the river in sight, occasionally finding a cairn which showed we were on the right path, at that moment at least. We stopped because his feet were hurting. We picked a nice spot in the sand near the water. Matthew wanted to try a neat method to keep warm where you dig a deep hole, start a fire, get good coals then cover with the dirt and sleep on it. Done right you have a cozy warm spot to sleep, done wrong you could burn your gear.
Digging for his fire pit
Lunch break by the river
I tried to stay positive and be thankful for my legs, for the fact that I could feel. That only helped for a short time. At one point when Matthew was far enough ahead to not be able to see me, I broke, I held myself and didn't hold back the sobbing. It was a mixture of pain and frustration. The route was hard, keeping my footing was tricky. I slipped, and fell over, the earth gave way under me while trying to climb, branches I relied on snapped and I got scratched some more. It was miserable. Probably the worst day I've had in a very long time. The thing is.. it was all physical and although it hurt... I was not seriously injured. I knew this intellectually but emotionally I felt beaten. I finally admitted to Matthew I had been crying (he wasn't surprised) and he was miserable too, but having experience with bushwhacking wasn't as beaten up as me.
We did find a way to bypass the end of the canyon which was continuing to get worse. To do this we did a very steep climb to the top of a mountain. Once almost at the top we hit some more thick brush, we avoided it by traversing around it. We had to go through some brush but it was not nearly as thick. Eventually on the way down the other side of the mountain we got out in some open pine forest. Elation. We found our way back to a trail and high-fived that going off the known route, we'd made it back to a trail. We'd made good time so that it was still early enough in the day we pushed on to make it back to the car. We were running low on water and didn't find any where there was supposed to be a spring. We could have stopped and camped but had the energy and drive to make it back to the car. We did stop shortly to eat dinner a little early.
View from the top of the mountain we climbed
I already started to slather on the salve when we took photos
Just looking at this photo makes my legs burn
We spent the following two days recovering. We got lucky and are here in time for the CDT trail days! So we are spending the weekend learning all about the CDT, meeting awesome thru hikers and getting excited about the idea of doing the AT, CDT, and PCT.. which is called triple crowning. I always wanted a crown lol
I think next we'll be in Cibola NF to do some rock climbing. Not sure yet, we're going to do some planning tomorrow or the next day.