Continental Divide Trail – Day 9 (25 miles)
Well, last night was cold. I had frozen socks, shoes and gaiters this morning. Luckily for me, I got to sleep in. Doc Campbells, where I am picking up my resupply package, does not open until 10am.
Even when I got going, the river crossings were cold. The first few of them I got that cold pain in my feet that provoked memories of the Sierra streams last year and my cries of pain.
After only a mile of walking, I turned the corner to actually see people. I think I have forgotten what people on trail look like! I have not seen a Thru Hiker since I left Clean Sweep at mile 250 odd miles ago. I wondered if I will make it to Pie Town without seeing one.
Anyway, the people were kayaking the river and offered me a hot breakfast. I would be a little later than I planned to Doc Campbells, but I did stay with them for 30 minutes. It was a mother and son combo, with the son being a semi-pro tennis player.
After finishing breakfast, I pushed on up the river and found the going a bit easier than yesterday and made it to the shop not long after it opened.
I hung around for a couple of hours to charge my phone. But just as I was about to leave an older lady rocked up. She was hiking a few weeks of the CDT and we got talking for a good couple of hours.
I eventually left and hiked the 3 miles to an alternative down Little Bear Canyon. This alternative had two bonuses, the first being the mile of narrow, almost slot canyon near the end. The second is that I’ll have an hour or two with dry feet by not having to cross the Gila a couple of times per mile!
Little Bear lived up to its reputation and was a beautiful canyon with some exceedingly green trees and sheer side walls.
However, the real beauty was just around the corner in the Gila. The wide-open canyon had closed in to now have 300ft+ (100m+) vertical cliffs all around me.
I walked until dark and camped on a nice sandy bank. It should be a comfortable night. And I’m looking forward to continuing this epic section of trail.