CDT Day 12 The Gila River

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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.

CDT New Mexico
typical early morning trail
New Mexico desert
New Mexico hiking
the Gila River is down there somewhere
Crossing the Gila River on the CDT
Crossing the Gila River on the CDT
it was amusing to watch spontanious take his shoes off for the first two river crossings.
Looking for Cave art
an old Apache dwelling
Looking for caves
I don’t think so
Crossing the Gila River on the CDT
Gila River on the CDT
Wet shoes
my feet were wet all day
Gila river alternate on the CDT
Crossing the Gila River on the CDT
Crossing the Gila River on the CDT
Crossing the Gila River on the CDT
Crossing the Gila River on the CDT
Crunchmaster hiking through one of the deeper crossings
Tall trees on the CDT
Crossing the Gila River on the CDT
Gila River campfire

Next – Day 13 Gila Cliff Dwellings

Everything you need to know about hiking the CDT:
Complete Guide to Hiking the Continental Divide Trail
CDT Resupply Guide
CDT Gear List

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

    1. 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.

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