Day 6: Lordsburg to Goat Camp windmill, ~28 miles, ~122.3 total
Some days on trail feel like 2-3 days in one. This morning we hiked out of Lordsburg and crossed the last few miles of the Chihuahuan Desert. By evening, we were traveling through pinyon pine, live oak, and juniper country. An amazing day. One to appreciate the close proximity of different ecoregions and how far one’s feet can take them.
The last miles in the desert had us enjoying an abundance of prickly pear cactus in bloom, towering soaptree yuccas, and a speedy antelope jackrabbit (aptly named).
We wandered up a wash between Golden Hill and Walker Mountain. With each mile, more live oak and juniper occupied the landscape. Things were getting greener.
A little after 1 pm we reached mile 100! Milestone! Time to celebrate. We were about to pose for our “traditional” first hundred mile photo when we saw someone else on the trail.
This rattlesnake was very cautious and didn’t want us around. Even though we were more than 10 feet back and backing up slowly, the snake rattled loudly and went into strike pose. Gabriel and I gave the snake a wide birth and then took our “traditional” 100 mile photo.
By 3 pm we’d hiked to the Co-op water tank. 18 miles into the day. We’d intended to only hike 20 miles, but we still had 4-4.5 hours of trail time left. Dangers of easy walking. So Gabriel, Roadrunner, and I decided to hike onto the next water 10 miles up the trail.
We went up and over a few ridges and soon were on real built trail! Winding northward and down to comparatively verdant forest of juniper, live oak and pinyon pine!
I enjoyed sampling a few needles. So refreshing, palette cleansing, and an excellent on trail source of vitamin C.
We crossed state route 90 and after a slight, mostly fun (extra barb wire fence rolling), detour were contouring our way to Goat Camp. Gabriel and I had never seen juniper and beargrass meadows before. We oohed and awed at the golden light on everything.
Made it to the windmill with just enough time to get water. Set up camp in the sandy was and ate dinner under the stars.
It’s only been a few hours (and miles), but I am already in love with the Gila NF.