Day 12: Gila Is For The Birds

Start: Jordan Hot Springs
Stop: just past Flying V Canyon
20 miles
Total miles: 218

Beads wants to leave at 6am but at 545am I hear nothing from her tent. Despite being mostly ready to pack up, I get back in my sleeping bag and wait for her rustlings. Besides, it’s still a little too dark to hike.

All day we trudge and trudge up the Middle Fork of the Gila River. You work your way up one side until the river turns and then you cross to the other side. ALL DAY! WET FEET ALL DAY! We’re lucky if we average 2 miles per hour.

It’s grueling and the muscles in our legs are exhausted from all the work hiking over rocks. There was a flood two years ago so there is woody debris everywhere. Which of course scratches the shit out of our legs. The nicks, slashes and cuts are numerous plus the water has dried out my calves to a nice red pain. Add in a little sunburn for good measure.

There’s an insane amount of birds in the Gila. Flitting to and fro and living a grand ole life. The cavity nesters have it made here. Yesterday, birders identified over 70 birds at the cliff dwellings. Oh to fly this grand canyon.


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