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.
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.