Day 14: Squirrel Crossing

Start: bursum and eckle canyon roads
Stop: fs road 94
26 miles
Total miles: 264.2

I forget to take a picture out my front window of the dozer parked nearby but nonetheless, foot hits road by 6:30am. It’s roads all morning, first dropping into the WIDE open valley and then climbing back into the mountains. It’s valley farther than the eye can see. I imagine I see Beads way off in the distance but maybe I’m just hallucinating. The monotonous road has a way of hypnotizing you. Like I almost don’t notice a small herd of elk crossing the road ahead of me. And then I just happen to see a fox glance my way before disappearing into the bush. What else have I missed during my trance?

I approach our first water of the day and a new mexico squirrel crosses the road a foot in front of me. These guys are darn cute. Large tufts of brown fur on their ears with long bushy tails that fan from gray to white. I see them all day long as their tall pointy ear tufts dance through the forest.

Our Gila River alternate finally ends and we join the actual CDT. Nice trail quickly turns into trail filled with burnt blowdowns. Picking through and over the trees takes longer than expected. Climbs and descents are straight up and down the mountains. Beads gathers water out of a seep for both of us and then we push on back up into the mountains.

We diverge from the official CDT ridge walk for a slightly lower, less exposed route. You see, the wind is really howling and the sky has filled with clouds. Besides, at this point, the road seems like a better option than trail. After chatting with a couple turkey hunters from Arizona, we find home for the night. Ice crystals flit from the sky as we set up our tents. Gonna be a cold one.

Recovering from the Gila

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