Saturday, June 18, 2011

Unlucky 13? Your Damn Right.

Realizing after a day of rest I was ready to leave the Gila for good. My ankle feeling worse by the day and swollen to the size of a baseball, the weather seeming to turn colder and my map basically torn to shreds thanks to windy conditions; all tell me its time to leave. When backpacking, to me at least, little things that are bothersome one day can possibly turn disastrous the next. Seemingly small mistakes become magnified and I'm not immune to these problems or mistakes for that matter.

So I leave on TR-160 once again and head south and plan for a two day trip out of the Gila. It's really more of a slow limping hike with spurts of a pain shooting though my ankle. The Gila is not a place to "Code W" and I'm far from that at this or any point on this trip. For those of you that don't know. "Code W" is forest service talk for people they help that really are just a "wimp out" by that hiker. Also their is no magical helicopter that is going to save you. No clicking your heels three times to go home. So onward I go down to Little Turkey Park for a rest.

No turkeys, just some stagnate water is waiting for me. Plus a camera with no batteries is a reminder that my trip is done and done. Continuing on to Miller Spring and seeing the old cabin I heard about. The way there becomes a bit of a trek I was not expecting... Steep trail climbs and some ugly dreaded Lava Rock. However I did find this little guy along the way.

The cabin at Miller Springs was nice but not nothing to say wow over. Honesty I'm in too much pain today to see anything as exciting even if it were. It just serves as vivid reminders of how much farther I have to go.

I say to myself... Hey I want to change course to be closer to running water. Even though it will take me miles away from my original destination point. This on the surface may seem odd. Yet my thinking is " If I have to stay here longer because I can't travel as far every day; at least I'll have water with food." So I divert myself west on Tr-155 and set camp up on a ridge for the night. Bushwacking a little off the path. At least I'll have running water the rest of the trip.

4:00am...The best way to describe what happens next is "POP" "POP" "crash" "POP" I awaken to what I thought was gunfire for some reason. Perhaps for about 15min I sit with my eyes open and hearing this on again off again "POP". I finally open my flap door and see a huge glow over a ridge a few miles away. This can only be one thing... FIRE !

I start to think Day 14 is not going to go well at all... Not well at all.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 11.. Jordan Springs Eternal?

After what was maybe the deepest sleep I encountered in years... I awoke hoping to find the "hot spring" in Jordan Canyon. After breaking camp and still a little stiff from the exhausting hike the previous day I set out around 10am. By 10:05am I realized I had to be right near the spring itself as I watched a small creek of running water against the current of the river. My suspicions were confirmed as I dipped my hand in to very warm water.

The spring was there alright, if I was any closer I would have hit it with my huge schnoz. So knowing there was hardly anyone out here this time of the week; I stripped down and felt the spring water wash over me. It was not as warm as the stream but good enough for me to realize two very important things while relaxing. One, I was very lucky with that bear but needed to keep my camera closer next time. Two, though my ankle had some pain in it I had no clue it was swollen up like a baseball was implanted on the top of it. The later was cause for concern as I was at least 12 miles and 25 river crossings away from help.

So needless to say it was a slow hiking day after my morning at the "spa". On the way back I started running into people of all types. So by the time I was 5 miles or so away from the spring I was meeting people quite frequently. More so than any other time on the trip. The trail you take literally ends up being a creek surrounded by 20ft. high rock, so if it rains...You won't be taking this trail for sure. However since I've only seen one cloud in over 10days; suffice to say its not a problem today.

I met two ultralight CDT-'ers, a very opposite backpacker with at least 60lbs on his back and a couple who later on I would meet again. "Ultralighters" are all the same...I can say that because I am one. We would go naked if it was acceptable just to save ounces :-) We look scruffy all the time and have a true adventurer spirit. Our razor and toothbrush either have the handle cut off or we drill holes in it.

"Regular backpackers" well they enjoy the finer things of camping along with their adventure. A chair, full size toothbrushes and razors. Extra shoes clothes and maybe even a pair of jeans to go out in. Oh and a tent that always looks to be able to fit a truck in as opposed to a person. Dan was a nice enough fellow and even gave me his card. I know that we all have different ways of getting to and in nature...but we share nature and that's the great thing about it.

Near the end of the day now and I've headed back to "Scorpion" to rest at least an extra day before heading out of the Gila. Should be a "piece of cake" (that is a quote from my journal). I should have known never to say that. It has all but assured my trek would become as dangerous as ever. Taking me through more of the Gila than I ever planned on seeing...


Powered by WebRing.