The first couple of days out of Pie Town were unremarkable. Dirt roads and blah trail were the bulk of the days. As expected in the desert, water is usually scarce. On the second day we had hiked quite a ways to get to water and there were no more sources for a long ways past it. When we looked at the water it was very brackish and when we filled our bottles it was the color of green tea and had lots of floating particles. Closer inspection showed that the floaties were actively swimming; they were flea sized tadpoles. Yuck! I strained my water through a shirt and then double treated it. Even so it was hard to get past the fact that the water was gross. Needless to say there was much rejoicing when we crossed an unlisted spring and dumped out the tadpole water.
The end of day three began the Gila River. The river starts out in a valley and in 25 miles becomes a canyon with 1000 foot cliffs on each side. The trail is trapped on the valley floor and crosses the river over 100 times. My feet were always wet. At the end of the canyon were Jordan Hot, which can best be described as a hot tub in the middle of nowhere. A stone lined pool made ideal soaking and a small water fall flowing in set the scene. Leaving the Gila canyon we walked out a side slot canyon that at times was only six feet wide. This area was definitely my favorite part of New Mexico.
On day five we toured the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. It was cool to see such exact stone work. The dwellings are remarkably preserved for being 700 years old.
We made it to the small community of Mimbres tonight. Once again we are staying with trail angels. The hospitality of Southern New Mexico has been simply amazing. We are heading out in the morning to continue the race to the border. With less than a week to go, my eyes are definitely on the prize.