We made our 16 mile goal today and boy were we glad to get out of the Gila! Love that place, but enough was enough. It was more of the same: huge gorgeous canyon walls towering over us, river crossings, caves above us and in the river, river crossings, large fish and small fish, river crossings, losing the trail, finding the trail, river crossings, losing the trail, destroying our legs with razor like grass and thorns, river crossings, and losing the trail. Oh, and amazing canyon walls, and did I mention river crossings?
We did run into Dutch and Shane, two other thru-hikers. They had been doing some big miles and caught up to us fairly quickly and easily. Then they passed and fell away into the distance, one river crossing at a time....I eventually had to change from my skirt into pants because my legs were getting so cut up! It was like sand paper meets chafe meets fresh tattoo burning. Ouch! A lot of pain! Ratna had a nasty sunburn on her legs on top of that and somehow managed not to change into pants, though she regretted that decision later.
The pants I had bought before trail didn't really fit me when I got on trail due to a little too much wine and indulgent food in Chicago. Today, they fit. I didn't know how I felt about that considering it had only been 2 weeks on trail and I had gained 15 lbs between buying those pants and getting on trail. I had a feeling I had lost a bit of weight already, but didn't expect a huge loss at this point even with my underestimation of my food needs for this stretch. I had under packed for my breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. So basically I was only set for my dinners. Oops.
We eventually managed to get to our last river crossing in the Gila and celebrated with pictures and cleaning our shoes. We had made it to Snow Lake! Dreams of RV campers with hot dogs and ice cream were talked about as we approached the campground. When we arrived, there were Dutch and Shane and one little RV (no treats alas). Shortly after we arrived a couple, Tigerlily and Downhill, arrived as well. We all took advantage of the pit toilets and clean water coming from a well.
We built a potentially last fire and that brought everyone over from the other camp spots. We shared stories of our trial experience thus far as well as an update on the trail news. The people ahead and behind. Many laughs were had and I grew very fond of our new friends very quickly. Shane gave me some of his extra snacks, which I was very grateful for. It looks like it is going to be a cold and windy night tonight!