Day 20 – Two Black Bears in Two Miles

May 11, 14.3 miles / 222.4 total hiked

Today, I felt more like a thru-hiker.  We continued hiking through the Gila (hee-luh) River alternate route.  We crossed it 100 times.  Our feet continued to stay wet, which was not a bad thing since it sort of kept our body temperatures down.  Somehow, sand got up under my pants and stuck to both legs on my shins and calves.  I did not realize this until later in the day when my legs started to sting.  Ouch.  It sort of gave me a rash/burn on my legs.  I was not happy.  I applied a little zinc oxide sunscreen to them which helped a bit, but Keith was a little nervous that I would use up all of the sunscreen – argh…  I really do not know how other hikers are wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts without frying their skin off!  We did see a young gal a Doc Campbell’s whose legs were all scratched up, all up and down them.  It is so hard to avoid all of the thorns and cacti and everything else out there that wants to harm you.  Pants gives us at least another layer of skin for protection.  But even that was not enough to protect me from the sand in the river.

Towards the end of our hiking day, Keith spotted a black bear in the distance.  At least we were downwind from it.  Then just a few miles later, I spotted another juvenile bear going up a hill.  He saw us and then sprinted uphill as fast as he could.  We did not even have time to grab a quick photo of it.  Oh well… so the score is even – 1 bear for Keith and 1 bear for me spotted first.  Then about a mile later, I saw an awesome campsite and convinced Keith to stop for the day.  We had only done 14.3 miles today, but they were hard miles.  Walking on all those slippery rocks in the river, trying not to slip an fall, then walking in 6 inches of sand (ugh), over and and over again for 100 times today, we needed and deserved a break.

Peak of the day:  Seeing two black bears and a few snakes.

Valley of the day:  Getting Gila River rash/burn on my legs.