Day 15 – Onwards Into the Gila

May 6, 15.8 miles / 158.4 total hiked

Finally we are back on the trail and starting a highlight section where we hike up the Gila river. Silver City was a nice town stop and a good place to let my shin splints calm down a bit… I don’t want a repeat of the Colorado Trail in 2015 where they got pretty bad. I think it was the fast paced, crowned road walk into Silver City that did it.

Walking out of a town is a different experience vs driving out of a town. You feel the town sort of dwindle away as the buildings become less frequent and eventually the rural residences disappear as well and you know you are “back out there”, even if it is along a remote dirt forest service road vs trail. That transition would take 5 or 10 minutes in a car but on foot takes a few hours to cover the 7.5 miles of the “Walnut Creek Alternate”, at the end of which we crossed the official CDT and immediately started another alternate – the Gila River.

We were climbing the trail when someone came up behind us and said “I know you guys!”. What a small world – back in 2016 on the PCT we hitched a ride with Taylor (now with trail name Forest), his brother, and a friend from Bishop back to the Onion Valley trail head after a resupply stop. Taylor was thinking about hiking the JMT and was hungry for information so we had a good chat during the ride. Fast forward and he wound up hiking the PCT in 2017 and now the CDT in 2018. He said we were a real inspiration for him getting into thru-hiking and it was great to see him out here embracing the ultralight mindset and making it happen – Kudos Taylor!

Gina is still struggling a bit to get her stamina up to do a full day of hiking without a “lay down” type break but I know she will get her hiking mojo back. At least there are frequent trees now to take a break under and it all works out as we just hike later into the evening when it is cooler.

Afternoon break

Peak of the day: Seeing Taylor out here hiking the CDT

Valley of the day: Watching Gina run out of gas by mid/late afternoon