Distance: 18 miles
start: 7:00 am
stop: 5:15 pm
Others Here: Cloudbuster, Tick Tock
Camp: 11 ish miles from Snow Lake; tenting
The grandeur of the canyon walls continued to keep us enraptured for most of the morning. Then the difficult nature of this section crowded out the beauty and all three of us began to struggle. I couldn't understand why I didn't remember this section begin so difficult until the flood of a few years ago came to mind. The Gila flooded and most of the trail was destroyed. Jordan hot spring is completely changed. There is no longer an improved spring with a soaking pool, just a stream of hot water flowing into the Gila. I didn't recognize it at all.
The second half of the day was both physically and mentally exhausting. When we weren't crossing the Gila we were either walking in loose sand or on loose baseball size and up rocks. You had to concentrate on every step, both in and out of the river.
At about 1pm, the skies became cloudy and we eventually started hearing thunder. At some point the rain caught up with us; though only a sprinkle here or there. That is until about 4 when it started coming down with more of a will. By 5 everyone was ready to throw in the towel for the day so we could set up tents and get out of the rain. Tents were assembled (some after considerable effort since we are out of practice) and it promptly stopped raining. Figures! I'm very thankful for the break in the rain because it allowed us to get water, cook, and fix rapidly pitched tents.
This sounds like a lot of complaining, I know. I'll tell you that I would much rather struggle in this way than sitting in front of a computer. By the way, it is raining again. I hope it will be over by morning.
202 crossings so far (give or take a few) and 11 miles to go before we exit the Gila.
Oh, one more small thing. I did stop to smell the roses; quite literally. There were several patches of wild pink, deliciously fragrant rose bushes along the way. As well as one swimming hole at the base of a cascade … it was cold.