18.8 miles (30.3km)
Sycamore Creek Camp (179.6) to Gila River I (198.4)
Last year when I hiked the PCT I fell in love with the trail on day 3. It has taken me 12 days to fall in love with the CDT.
The day started like every other. Until several miles in when I went for an ablutions break. I expected to catch up with Crunchmaster and Spontaneous when I descended down to the Gila River. I took my time. I caught up to two of the Warrier Hikers, then Spontaneous caught up to me.
‘I got lost in the bushes’, he said.
We arrived at the Gila River after a nice descent into the ochre coloured gorge. No Crunchmaster. 20 minutes later he arrived. He also got lost. Navigation wasn’t particularly difficult. Like many sections of the trail I just had to pay attention.
The Gila River is stunning. This clear rushing stream has cut a gorge a thousand feet deep in places. There are said to be many Old Apache site along the gorge. I searched in a cave that looked promising but there appeared to be little evidence that it had ever been used as a shelter.
For the rest of the afternoon we hiked upstream. In only 7.3 miles we crossed the river 37 times. It was rather amusing to watch Spontaneous take his shoes of at the first couple of crossings. It didn’t take long to realise we would be crossing this river a lot.
I have an intolerance to cold water. Some might say I’m allergic to cold water. But the Gila River was quite warm. Relatively speaking. Not warm enough for me to swim but warm enough that I didn’t complain.
We set up camp early and had our first campfire of the trip. A campfire seems to bring people together. We spent time talking about our future dreams and aspirations. What a great way to end a great day.