Monday, May 16, 2011

Day 6... Trail goes Missing... I find the Gila

Woke up bright and early and instantly made a run to see if my food supply was safe. It was and I'm happy to also report that Marmot slogan is correct and "for life" is just not a line they use. I have no idea how my bivy survived with me tossing and turning on lava rocks all night but it did without a scar. Camp is broken pretty fast, I can break camp, eat breakfast and be on the trail in about 20min. This helps with letting me either take my time or getting in more miles.

Daryl and Daryl
Re-started out on Tr-96 which does head back to the dreaded NM-15 but not before topping off at 9400ft. I hope to find some good views there. However so far besides these two characters I call Daryl and Daryl its been peaceful morning. So I thought...

I can't tell you how it happens but more than once on this trip...The trail just gets lost or is suddenly no longer a viable option to take. Their seem to me no switchbacks or walk around; it just vanishes or ends with no carirns to guide you. This gets me in places I really don't want to go and you have to be very careful out here. Because being of track one moment could lead you to being lost forever and dead the next.

There is no doubt I am lost now but I took a heading last from the Daryl's so I can always backtrack and find their spot again. Plus when you prepare and have food and water that will last you days... You really don't care as much. I don't say that "lightly" but you do get a feeling of confidence when you have everything you need to last days as opposed to being without. So I continue where I think the trail should be and either I will find that or NM-15 the way I'm heading. I want to make clear this is not condoning "bush whacking" but it is sometimes the only thing to be done.

As I'm climbing a steep hill with no trail to try and gain an vantage point; my stick that Lily gave me seems to have broken about 1/3 of the way down. Of all the times a stick comes in handy this would be one of them. I vow to myself to keep the stick and to move upward and return it home to Lily. Looking to the south I see what appears to be a fence line and I head for there. Bush whacking goes much slower than hiking for obvious reasons and about 35 min later I find the fence line and the trail right along side of it. Total being lost time is almost 3hrs...

I'm now cruising along TR-96 but rest to write this note in my journal... "I think at one time this National Forest while having shown glimpses of beauty; could never hold J.M's (J.M refers to John Muir) love and does not hold mine.

The trail does end with this nice view of the mountains as I'm back to NM-15 to seek out Alum Canyon as my next destination. It has become the hottest day of my trip so far however  have a strong desire to see Alum and the Gila river itself. So after a snack break and some quick scanning of views; I hit the pavement once again.

Hours pass and it becomes later on in the afternoon. Before I hit Alum's trail head I see a little road that follows the power lines for maintenance. and I decide to take it to see if it will give me a shortcut from a steep hill. Sure enough it does that and more as it gives me the first glimpse of the Gila river. Finally the thoughts of running water and wilderness wildlife look like they could become reality. :-) There is a spot at the top of this road that offers a great view and good size flat clearing that I decide even though early I will rest here for the evening. Excited now and can't wait to get down there and see what its made of. The sky has a "bangarang" sunset.

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