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29th April

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 Warrior 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.

typical early morning trail

the Gila River is down there somewhere

it was amusing to watch spontanious take his shoes off for the first two river crossings.

an old Apache dwelling

I don’t think so

my feet were wet all day

Crunchmaster hiking through one of the deeper crossings

Next – Day 13 Gila Cliff Dwellings

All the tips you need to hike the CDT : Continental Divide Trail

More great hiking stuff:

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail
Hiking the Appalachian Trail
Thru Hiking the Te Araroa Trail – New Zealand

Lightweight Hiking Gear List

Where to buy all the best gear for Hiking the Continental Divide Trail: | |Wild Earth Australia |Amazon

Hyperlite Mountain Gear |

Traveling Overseas to go Hiking?
World Nomads Travel Insurance

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About The Author

Life long lover of hiking and keen observer of the natural world. Former Police Officer and Wilderness Tour Guide who loves Cycling and Hiking the most amazing places on the planet.

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10 Responses

  1. Bob Jaworski

    Man, what a challenge to be able to find and follow the trail????

    • BikeHikeSafari

      I’m using the Vasque Inhaler Low. A great shoe. I should get 1000-1200 miles out of them.

  2. leggypeggy

    Glad you are starting to feel the love of the trail. Like you, I have an intolerance for cold water and a love of a camp fire at the end of the day.

  3. surforcycle

    What are your plans for the San Juans, assuming they’ll be a lot of snow? I’m slowing down to let the Sierras calm down. Currently in Tehachapi. The Gila looks very interesting. ADL

    • BikeHikeSafari

      We’re just going through. The snow will be there if we wait a week or a month. Same for you in the Sierra. I’ll have many more thunderstorms to deal with. That will be the big problem, not the snow. Have fun on the pct.

  4. idlewildandpawprints

    That’s a LOT of crossings in such a short distance. Looks gorgeous though.


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