CDT day 8: down to the magical Gila

May 12
Mileage 30
173 miles from Mexico

I sleep ok, I guess. I’ve been waking up at four a.m. for some reason, and then sort of tossing and turning. Adjusting. I am still adjusting to the trail.

On the walk out of town to the trail I stop in at the store and buy one of those giant two-pound rice crispy treats. This seems like a great idea at the time. I carry it in my arms and tear off chunks while I walk. Soon I have a stomache ache and I strap the thing in its shiny foil wrapper to the top of my pack and cinch it down. That oughta do ‘er.

The trail, which today is a mix of paved roads, jeep roads and single track, climbs back up into the lovely pine forest. Ten miles in we catch up to Kevin and a hiker named Apache, and then we all roll together for a while, which is possible on a jeep road. Even though we didn’t start hiking until 8 I want to do a thirty, and manage to convince everyone else to do this as well. Then we’re really climbing, for what feels like the first time on the CDT, and I’ve got these great endorphins and I feel really, really good. Hiking! I love hiking! Two miles from camp we all start to fade and my feet hurt as we pound down the rocky trail into the canyon but whatever. Camp is a burbling stream, our first running water, .2 miles from the Gila. It’s Apache’s birthday so I give him an antler I find in the leaves and we force him to pledge Ride or Die. We all eat our gross/amazing dinners.

Tomorrow: Gila cliff dwellings!

Photos on instagram