Day 17: Tortilla Mountains and Gila River Canyon

This morning was magical … the afternoon was hot & a bit of a slog for the last few miles, but the morning was special.

Woke up to everything wet from an extremely heavy dew — my tent looked like it had been through a rain storm. My clothes were damp, my shoes were damp & even my sleeping bag was damp. Tent was so wet, it dropped through my pack & down my back all morning.

The sunrise was spectacular (so spectacular I didn’t think to take a picture!). It was cool all morning with just enough high, thin cloud cover to keep it from being hot. There were flowers everywhere, the heavy dew made even the cacti sparkle. The views were gorgeous, and ever-changing. I did not see a soul all morning & had the trail to myself until right outside the Kearny trailhead. I probably took a hundred pictures this morning … I still won’t do the morning justice.

The awesome morning made the miles seem easy & I made the 11 mile stretch to Kearny by 11:00. I took a nice long lunch, filled up with water Parker, aka “Desert Pete” had stashed for me, and chatted with a couple of other thru-hikers.

The afternoon was hot & I spent a lot of trail time stressing about water. This section of the trail is really remote, and there is no accessible place for Parker (or any other trail angels) to drop water for about 40 miles. The only reliable source is the Gila River, which the trail gets close to every 8-10 miles. It’s a muddy, shallow river, and looks like it may test the limits of my filter — I’m contemplating going old-school w/the chlorine tabs I brought as back-up. I carried an extra liter of fresh water out of Kearny, & had enough for this afternoon/evening, but tomorrow, but I definitely won’t make it to Picket Post w/out re-fill—yuck.

Found an awesome tent spot — I think it’s my favorite so far. It’s even got rocks to sit on so I can enjoy the view. The only drawback is that it is right off the trail … I’ve chatted w/3 hikers as I enjoyed my dinner. I stopped really early and got everything dried out … here’s hoping tonight is a bit drier (though an excuse to stop early again wouldn’t break my heart!)

Daily Miles: 20.3
Total Miles: 272.3

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