5/5/15, Day 11, Tarp

Doc Campbell’s to Mile 60.7 next to Gila 

20.9, 210.8 Trip Miles
Sunny, 70’s7:30 to 6:30 pm
87 Gila Crossings, 147 Total

Critter Count
13 Lizards
5 Deer
3 squirrels
3 Chipmunks
1 skunk
1 Toad


93 Lizards

10 Deer

9 Horny Roads

5 Jack Rabbit

4 Snakes

3 Cotton Tail Rabbits

3 Squirrels

3 Chipmunks

2 Toads

1 Mouse

1 Skunk

I fretted over food most of last night but slept okay. Besides the skunk no one visited us during the night.

I got up at like 6:15 only because I couldn’t sleep. I was worried someone would find me poaching. I got up had breakfast then headed to the cliff dwellings.

Gila Cliff Dwelling Ladder

Ladder at the Gila Cliff Dwellings

After a short stop at the visitor center and some trail beta I walked the mile to the cliff dwellings. After a short speech of what not to do I headed up to them.

The trail up to them alone was spectacular. It was in a tight notch canyon which was green, lush, and had a magical looking stream.

Gila Cliff Dwellings

Gila Cliff Dwellings

The dwellings themselves were impressive to say the least. It turns out the people who actually lived there did at the time of the mammoths and other very large predators. As a result the doors where in the roof. Unfortunately none of the roofs were in tact but I was told this. It was so the animals couldn’t get through a regular door.

The doors between rooms were tiny. People must have been very small back then. I was told they also develop corn around that time too. They had examples and they were about 3″ long. Corn was made by cross breeding grasses.

The whole experience was pretty cool after only seeing pictures my whole life.

After the cliff dwellings I had to road walk again back about a half mile then had a two mile climb in the sun. Luckily there was a strong breeze as even at 10 am thunderstorms were rolling in.

After an awesome descent through Little Bear Canyon I rejoined the Gila route. LBC was a small notch canyon that had one hundred foot walls and was about twenty feet wide.

stick figure drawings

Native American Drawings

The Gila was more of the same. River crossing after river crossing preceded and followed but river rocks and sand. Later in the day after leaving and amazing camp spot a new element was added to the difficulty of walking. Sand that was chewed up but a dozen or more horses and pack donkeys.

The donkeys were very cute. I instantly wished I had stayed at the meadow that looked so perfect as they were headed there.

Gila River

Gila River, New Mexico

I pushed on and found 2w. We’re camped in s sandy spot forty feet from the river. It took lots of rocks to hold my stakes in.

I believe I saw an Osprey and one other type of hawk today.

Today was very special.  I had been looking forward to the cliff dwellings for a long time.  It was amazing to get a look into how the people their lived and the challenges they faced on a daily basis.  It made my hiking seem easy.  All I had to do was walk, one foot in front of the other.  They had over sized predators wanting to eat them.

Despite the Gila being the same as the first time it still held an amazing beauty.  When you stopped and realized that if you were on top the cliffs surrounding you you’d be in the desert and miserable.  The Gila is truly an oasis.  

Back to Day 10, Forward to Day 12


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