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Gila Wilderness Trip Report

Backpackers:  Joe Gundry, John Gundry, Ed Tucker, Lori Fisher, and Carl Fisher

May 23, 2010 - We started the backpacking trip at 9:30 from the trailhead near the Gila visitor center.  We all started with our hiking boots on and planned to change into water shoes when it was necessary.  Little did we know at this point that today would end up with 22 water crossings and most of them required water shoes.  After the first couple we just hiked in our water shoes to save time.  Lori brought a cheap pair of sandles which will not survive this trip.

This is very little elevation change as the trail for the West Fork of the Gila River follows the river.  The scenery is gorgeous - similar to the Narrows at Zion without the slick walls.  Lunch came upon us quickly and Carl realized that he left fresh veggies, apples, cheese, jerky, oyster crackers, and sub sandwiches (lunch for today) in the motel referigerator.  Everyone does a quick check of food supplies and we decide enough food exists so we decide to keep going.

There are cliff dwellings not noted on the map.  We selected a campsite about half way between our starting point and Hells Hole trail that is next to the river.  We chilled two of the bottles of wine in the Gila and Joe created a nice fire.

May 24, 2010 - Today resulted in 33 water crossings, a 1000 foot assent to Hells Hole, and not many breaks.  All of the trail and river looks the same so we had a hard time knowing exactly where we were on the map.  We didn't want to miss our connector trail to take us up to Woodland Park.  The day was very exhausting and we were now concerned about having water.  As soon as Prior Creek had enough water of our needs we found a flat spot and set up camp.  Chilled wine again tonight.

May 25, 2010 - Twenty eight degrees when we get up in the morning.  As soon as we start hiking we discover about 300 yards up the trail and around a curve there is a patrol cabin and an old fish hatchery which would have made a better camp if we had just continued on last night.  Oh well.  Woodland Park is flat (as one would expect) and we make very good time.  We stop for lunch at a trail junction where we are now required to do major repair work to Lori's sandles.  Another of the 1000's of uses for duct tape.  Tonight we camped near where the Middle Fork trail and trail 729 meet.

May 26, 2010 - We dayhike up the Middle Fork of the Gila to Jordan Hot Springs which required a total of 30 water crossings.  The hot springs were a perfect temperature and very relaxing except for the naked guy that was there when we arrived.  Ed announced we had a female with us and the guy didn't respond so we put our swim suits on and got in.  Two ladies arrived on horse back and they joined up in the hot springs which is like on large hot tub.  Naked guy, when he decided to leave, just got up, walked to his stuff, took his time drying off, and then put his clothes on.  Very different to say the very least.

May 27, 2010 - An easy hike today back to the car.  We took the ranger lead exploration of the Gila Cliff dwellings which was very interesting and well worth the time we spent.