22.2 miles (35.7km)
Gila River Camp III (232.2) to (254.4)
It was cold overnight. Well below freezing. Crunchmaster and Spontaneous were slow to move again so I set off without them. The first river crossing was not fun. Cold water and the air temperature below zero gave me two lumps in my throat.
The subsequent crossings were not as unbearable. But route finding was not as easy. Recents floods have either destroyed the trail or covered it with loads of debris. Suffice to say it was slow going.
It was around 10am when I reached the end of our Gila River section of the CDT. It was 1.5 hours later when the others caught up. The 58 river crossings were 58 too many for them. They are both glad to see an end to the Gila River. I consider it a highlight of my hike in New Mexico so far.
A few rolling hills took us to a small small stream and pond where were settled in for an early dinner. We were not sure how far the next water source would be. Either 9 miles or 24 miles. To be safe we loaded up for a 24 mile water carry.
We started our evening hike at 5pm. The grasslands were like fields of gold as the sun slowly started to sink. New Mexico was putting in a show for us. The rather low mood that existed within our group lifted. The Gila River was but a distant memory for some.
We walked until just after sunset. Already the evening air had a nip to it. We passed the same hiking group that started on the same day as us. When there was barely enough light to see when we set up camp. I found a log and rolled it near my tent for some night photography, if I wake in the middle of the night.