Into the Gila Wild, Day Four

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Sleeping high on the mesa, the sun reaches the tent much earlier this morning than on our two previous days deep in the canyon of the Middle Fork, which makes it much easier to get moving. It also helps to know that we only have a short distance to hike today and that there are only a handful of river crossings before we reach the trailhead. Plus there’s always the inherent excitement of finishing a trek to motivate us today. (more…)

Into the Gila Wild, Day Three

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Déjà Vu

When the alarm goes off at 6:30 am, it’s still dark in the tent. Once again, we’re both reluctant to loosen the drawstring around the hoodies, break the seal on our sleeping bags and make contact with the arctic air of this November morning. Once we finally do, it’s immediately clear that this morning is EVEN COLDER than yesterday. There’s only one way to handle the cold: get up, get dressed, get moving and don’t stop. Generating body heat is essential, so we move as quickly as possible as we set about our usual tasks. And when that doesn’t work, we duck back into the tent to drink some hot tea and coffee. (more…)

Into the Gila Wild, Day Two

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Waiting for the Sun

Sunrise is officially at 6:45 a.m., but the sun doesn’t begin to penetrate the bottom of the canyon where we are camped until considerably later. It’s cold, and we are more reluctant to emerge from the warmth of our sleeping bags than normal. Without ever leaving their cozy confines, we can tell that the temperature is even colder now than when we went to bed last night. We unzip our bags just enough to pull our cold hiking clothes in, hoping that this will help take away some of the chill before putting them on. After a few more minutes of playing possum, we give up and get dressed as fast as possible. Our quick movements help generate a little body heat. (more…)

Into the Gila Wild, Day One

After tackling 490 miles on the Colorado Trail this past summer, it’s been an awfully sedentary fall for the two of us, and we’ve been itching to hit the trail again and taste the freedom of the outdoors. With a week off over Thanksgiving, we were looking for a backpacking destination in the US that would offer a challenging multi-day experience and still be warm enough for camping in late November. Our first choice was the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Trail, a classic hike that’s still on our bucket list, but, unfortunately, we were too late this year to secure a permit. Where else would work? (more…)

Colorado Trail, Day 41: We Did It!

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When we wake up this morning, the first thought that goes through my head is that this is the last day that we will walk the Colorado Trail. We are only 7.1 miles from the Junction Creek Trailhead, and, although we are excited to get there and to complete the Colorado Trail, neither of us wants this amazing adventure to end. It’s definitely a bittersweet feeling, and we linger in camp as we pack everything up for the last time, eat our last breakfast, set off on the trail on this last day. We wish our summers could last forever, but all good things come to an end sooner or later. (more…)

Colorado Trail, Day 38: Blackhawk Down

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Cascade Creek really lived up to its namesake! We awake to the soothing sounds of waterfalls seemingly all around us. We gaze at the prominent falls right in front of our peninsular campsite as we sip on our morning coffee and chat with Rob and Amy over breakfast. Before bushwhacking our way through the willows and over the creek back to the trail, I take a quick peek at the cascade that plummets 40 feet off to the right of our campsite and snap a pic. We are all in a good mood after a restful night of sleep and so grateful to have ended up with such an impressive site.  (more…)

Colorado Trail, Day 36: Silverton Sojourn

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Our last true zero day on the trail…hmm, how to spend it? Well, laying low and taking it easy for sure. After last night’s late night fun, a little sleeping in is certainly in order. And now that I have a name for it, my tibial tendonitis suggests a minimum of movement. Ah, but hiker hunger, even on an off day, motivates us to escape the motel room in search of the one thing America does better than anywhere else in the world—breakfast! (more…)