Miles: 9.5
Camp: Gila Hot Springs mile 182.5
Gila River crossings: 28 (52 total)

I can now confirm that my sleeping pad has a slow leak. I will have to make it a point to get to it with my patch kit later today, as it makes a huge difference in how well I sleep. Somehow I still managed to dream though, and in that dream I entered a contest to win a car…it turned out to be a banana shaped truck that was equipped to make and sell hot dogs. I was going to turn it into a house somehow, but first had to park it while I hiked.

Anyway, the morning was quite chilly in the canyon. We all took turns putting on our wet shoes, each of us wincing against the chill. It was only a matter of time before we would be crossing the river again, and that sounded daunting as we walked out of camp.

The first few crossings were mind numbing. The water was biting at our dried out legs that were on the verge of being chapped. Then we had to walk through thick brush on the opposite shore to find the trail, branches poking and scraping at our tender legs. The grass hit our skin like tiny razorblades and yet we all marched on with visions of resupply packages and ice cream in our heads.

The morning stayed cool, but the appearance of the sun really changed the swing of things. The crossings became more bearable, though at one point I considered that maybe I’d just gone numb.

Around lunch time it began to rain. We found some trees and rigged our umbrellas to cover us while we ate. Fortunately the rain was brief and we finished eating before the last couple of miles to Doc Campbell’s Post.

We ended up getting our boxes from an older gentleman at the store where they also had amazing ice cream. Supplies were inventoried, trades were made, spotty Internet was sluggishly shared (the reason my blog didn’t post)…and then we met our friend trail magic. A nice couple was traveling through and gave us a bottle of wine to have in camp. A wonderful treat after the last few days.

The campground turned out to be a magical place. We walked down a small dirt road passing pens of horses and goats on the way. The goats were very friendly and the babies tugged at my every heartstring.

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Such a peaceful scene that was followed by our biggest treat yet…hot springs! Our campground has 3 amazing hot springs on premises and they are just the best. After all of those cold river crossings our bodies melted into the hot water like butter. I have never felt so good on trail. On top of the therapeutic river water helping with my foot swelling, the hot pools relax the rest of my body and mind. I think I’m in for the best night of sleep yet.

On that note, we have cliff dwellings and slot canyons to explore tomorrow…because this trail never stops being amazing. It is truly the most wonderful place I could ever imagine.

I love this trail.

Dinner: Mountain House beef lasagna (guilty pleasure favorite!) and red wine (no guilt there 😉

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1 mile road walk today
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Spirit, Wilderness, Dust Bunny, Rampage, Cerveza
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View from the loo
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