DAY 16 Heading to the Gila

29th April 2022

As I sat having  my dinner last night I did think it a little strange that no other hikers passed by considering I stopped early.
It was only when I went to calculate mileage did I realise I was 2 miles off trail or rather I was on trail  but not the bloody right one. Fuck fuck fuck, so rather in the morning pushing forwards I need yo go back and find the trail. 
Good morning I slept really well.
The alarm went off at 4.45 I reluctantly pulled the stopper  on my mattress and slowly packed, still annoyed at myself  for last night. If I had checked when I first sat down I would of very grudgingly walked back last night. Oh well what’s done is done.
It was still dark at 5.30 as I set off to look for the right trail, At last I found it and in the morning light  I could still see many arrows on the ground pointing the right way although I am sure that were not there yesterday. I presume other hikers made the same mistake  as me but quickly realised their mistake rather than heading on like me….aaarrhh.
But yes it was hard to miss, It was a real trail then danced sound trees. I pushed on trying to claw back those missing miles

Then trail was very undulating but nice to hike on, after several hours I spied a yellow Nemo tent it was just 7am as I passed and no one was moving. That makes a change on this trail I laughed to my self.
I pushed on and was soon climbing but  my legs were coping well. The terrain was constantly changing rock, sand, gravel but stunning . I emerged out onto a rock outcrop with more amazing views of the mountains and canyons. i paused for a few minutes before pushing on eventually arriving at the Regertree. I paused and signed the book but didn’t linger as the infamous hermit lives here and he will rob you of several hours..

Next was a water sauce and I was desperate for a coffee in fact I had been promising myself one all morning. So as soon as I came to water I dropped my pack went and filled up my bottles before I fired up my stove, mmm coffee.
As I sat enjoying my break numerous hikers passed by, I chatted to a Belgium guy called Fuckit for a while. After he left a young hiker called m,&,m arrived she’s from Montana. So I asked her about the Grizzlies. She gave me her tips that made me feel a lot better
Okay onwards, after the water the trail began to climb before following the river bank. This part of the trail was overgrown and a mess. At last I began to climb out and instead of the usual cairns were pink flags. From here the trail had been cut and well maintained.  THANK YOU X.. the trail was now superb.
a delight to hike on until I arrived at the next climb and it was steep , Phew it was a struggle and I was soon puffing and panting guess it took me over half  a hour maybe more. Once at the  top I dropped my pack and took 10.
Mishap passed me by saying that was brutal and I would have to agree. We spend most of the afternoon playing leapfrog. Eventually i came to a look out where i could see across to the other valley .OMG across the other side i could just make out the path heading to the moon.

FUCK NO….really. but this one was not so bad and I was soon at the top but needed a break  and some shade. As I came around the next corner there was the perfect spot and sat there was mishap.  
Do you mind if i join you ?
Several minutes later her friend appeared and started telling us of his visit the Hermits Lair. 
I dropped my pack and began to chill, taking off my shoes and socks. 

Interesting the hermit brews his own beer and it  5* very good..
It was about 8miles to the river & the next water. I packed up  and set off after them but they were no where to be seen. The trail down was steep and was a mess as a horse had been down the trail when it was wet so there were huge craters  where the horses hoofs had sunken into the mud and so my speed was crap. At last the trail levelled allowing me to speed up. I pushed and pushed, eventually emerging by a huge water tank and off to the right a shinny new one. I walked over to be nosy. The tank was I’ve cold and at the bottom a tap with a hose. I turned the tap and water came out. Great so I topped up both my bottles, so if I can’t make the river i can  camp.
A little further the trail crosses several roads, I was just checking my map when a truck pulling a huge horse box came by, It did a huge circle and stopped.
I said hi to the man who was a rancher, in the back of the trailer were 4 dogs and two horses, the horses were such a beautiful  colour.
Are you out for ride ? I asked
Yup rounding up stray cattle.
How do you get them back?
He pointed at the dogs.
Oh I said .He then asked me where I lived etc.
He said “I’ll keep a look out for a skeleton wearing a red backpack lol.
I laughed too.
I pushed on up the trail now following a dried up river swapping sides now and then .
I was tiring, early start, huge climbs and it was approaching 4 pm, but too early to camp as I passed a great flat spot with my name on it. Thankfully the trail was flat but when you haven’t any energy  it doesn’t really matter but still I pushed on, okay Snail 6pm 
The trail turned onto a dust road and at last I manged to find some pace until I was suddenly startled by another hiker. He was hoping to get to the river. Its doable I said to my self.
The trail then abruptly  stopped I was thinking I could camp here but there was a white pickup parked nearby .Okay Snail to the river.
The trail dipped down but after a 100 yards it was just littered with break your neck pebbles and rocks Fuck fuck .I  made my way down constantly looking at my feet and swearing .I had about a mile left to go when I spied a  spot…. perfect. 
I threw my tent up and was just pegging when a man & his dog appeared.  We chatted for a while  then they were both gone.

I quickly cooked tea drank a cuppa then made hot chocolate to take to bed

Mileage  19.1 wow well  done Snail 

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