Day 21 – Beating the Gila Monster
May 12, 17.1 miles / 239.5 total hiked
After 252 crossings, we declared victory at beating the Gila. The Gila was a neat experience, especially the middle fork, but we were ready to be done with the constant crossings, the sand, the bushwhacking through willows and reeds.
The Gila did leave some scars – Gina found out that the sand collected in her pants legs from all those crossings had acted like sandpaper and left her legs with a burning rash. I sacrificed a pair of socks (to be fair, these had several hundred miles of PCT wear on them but the bottoms were intact before starting the Gila).
We passed by Snow Lake, where we had hoped to get water for an upcoming dry section but the spigots were turned off and the lake was a muddy mess. Fortunately a USFS crew came by and let us access the spigots to get water. It was amazing how quick we went from unlimited water back to carefully planning where we can next get water mode.
Even more surprising was the vast grasslands we emerged into after a final climb up and out of the Gila river area. We spent the afternoon walking across these shimmering golden plains with the wind howling at probably 35-40+ mph the entire time. Fortunately the wind was (mostly) at our backs… it was difficult to walk directly into it. Eventually we made it to trees which marked the start of a long gentle climb up into the mountains that surrounded this high elevation plain.
Peak of the day: Being done with the Gila
Valley of the day: Going back to the reality of needing a daily water plan (and carrying said water)