Day 11: Mile 35.3-38.4 Doc Campbell's (Gila alternate)
Total trip miles: 190.4
Town day! I'd heard stories of homemade ice cream and was dreaming of sitting lazily around all day. With no rush to get there until the store opened at ten everyone was sleeping in. It was a funny game, everyone is awake but trying until the bitter end to take advantage of being able to sleep. You accidentally catch someone's eye and go back to hiding in the sleeping bag. I finally caved and started to get ready.
I should mention around 11pm raindrops started falling, by the time we had all hustled our shelters up it has stopped, but at that point you've worked that hard, you aren't going to take it down. Moist just got to sit there all snug in his tent laughing at our chaos, he had set his up before dark unlike the rest of us.
Bigfoot and I headed out, cruising through a few more cold river crossings, putting on those wet shoes first thing in the morning had probably been the hardest part.
We made it to the highway and a very quick check at the GPS had us heading uphill, and man was it steep and we were cruising at a hood clip chatting away. We even talked about how strange it was to be climbing because we hadn't remembered a climb. We saw another hiker headed down the hill, uh oh. Thirsty Boots had headed North from a different terminus than us, taking the Columbus Route to start and we were the first other hikers he'd seen his whole hike. Yup, we had just climbed over a mile in the wrong direction. At least we hadn't gone even farther, so back down we went. We even made it to Doc Campbell's before they opened. Caught up with all the hikers, got our resupply boxes and somehow wasted the entire morning.
The Warrior hikers rolled in, we caught up some more. Eating and trying to use slow wifi. Looking at something like 6 days of food for long hard hiking and 140 miles makes you procrastinate sorting all that food something awful and somehow we didn't leave that porch until after 3pm.
We got a campsite at the Gila Hot Springs Resort and after some much needed cold water (all of the water at Doc Campbell's was hot from piped in hot spring water) we relaxed in the river and then the developed hot springs. It was fantastic.
The storm clouds rolled in, and while we cooked hot dogs over a campfire the rain really started. Sprinkles for awhile that I ignored and everyone went back to the hot springs. Then it started pouring. I waited forever out of stubbornness but finally put my tent up. Of course it shortly stopped raining and within half an hour was clear. But our stuff is pretty wet so that will need to be all dried out tomorrow.
More campfire time and finally sleep. A fantastic day full of great hikertrash and plans for the next section. Tomorrow I'm planning on checking out the Gila Cliff Dwellings and Jordan Hot Springs. Other than that I just know I have a lot of river crossings in my future and then back to 20 plus miles between water sources. But it's all to get to Pie Town, a town that has no grocery stores but 2 restaurants solely devoted to pie! It's going to be great.