The Gila is beautiful but thoroughly exhausting! Mentally and physically! Your mind is constantly on, watching the rocks you're walking over, paying close attention as you cross the river and try not to fall, looking for that ridiculously evasive trail, and trying to catch sight of the rattlesnakes before they freak out at you.
Oh, and avoiding the sketchy piles of destroyed trees that came down in the flood. My legs, man oh man my legs. Stepping over trees, climbing over trees, squatting under trees, crawling under trees. My legs are getting some great training. Good thing because it looks like the San Juans (the mountains in southern Colorado) are gonna be a serious physical challenge.
We got out of camp at 7:30, later than planned, but not unwelcome by me! We wanted to do about 15 miles in order to get halfway to Snow Lake, a campground and the end of the Gila. We ended up doing about 14 when we found a nice camp spot, which is peachy. No reason to rush and this section is very beautiful.
I pissed off 2 rattle snakes, which was a great adrenaline rush. It was overall a hard day. It is tough if you haven't done something like this before and those 14 miles were well earned miles. Wide-Angle said he's had 30 mile days on the PCT that were not as difficult as these 14. The tedium of crossing that river over and over and over again definitely gets to you after a while. It's all about finding the best spot to cross so you don't accidentally get in too deep!
Speaking of getting in too deep, my dreams have been full of emotions that I have been needing to deal with, but have been avoiding. Trail strips you down and you brain has A LOT of time to take care of everything it needs to. Night time is when it sorts through all the thoughts and feelings from the day. It's been intense at night. My dreams since I started trail have been about letting go of my past hurts and the hurts that I have caused. They haven't been about the present or the future at all. It is very interesting. I hope I get through this phase sooner than later, but I am grateful to have the opportunity to remove the distractions of city life in order to become more whole.
This night included another earlier night at a campsite with a fire pit. I've been cooking dinner in the fire instead of using my stove, which has become increasingly a nuisance to use out here. It is good for a more leisurely trip, but not for thru-hiking. I have been thinking of getting something smaller and lighter soon. We were leap-frogging with a pretty cool chill girl who is section hiking for a few weeks. She saw a small mountain lion and got thoroughly freaked out, so she booked it to camp with us. I hope we don't have mountain lion issues!