Saturday, April 13, 2013 – 21 km
The air was still and hot today. The Gila River is large by AZ standards but always separated from the trail by either distance or a fence, so there were no opportunities to jump into its brown water. After winding alongside for awhile, the AZT passed through a basin, turned away and began a high traverse alongside a canyon.
Plenty of scenic camping opportunities were available as long as you like waterless, rocky and windy – and who doesn’t? I was trying to be a disciplined thru-hiker today though, so I refused to let myself camp at 2:00 PM.
Around mile 15, someone had left a huge water cache of which ~40 litres were left. The jugs were tied together with twine, preventing empties from blowing away. After replenishing my water supply, I wrote a note of thanks from thru-hikers on one of the jugs. Then I considered writing a longer message. Then I considered covering every inch of the jugs with writing to creep people out. Then I realized that whoever had left the cache would not be impressed with that use of my time, and that I was procrastinating getting back on the trail because my pack was heavier again, so grudgingly I plodded away.
The trail followed a ridge with stunning views. I saw a miniature tunnel that I think I could have fit through, but no one was around to give me $5 if I did. Around 4:00 PM I came across the most amazing campsite, but again it seemed too early to stop. I’m still disappointed that I didn’t camp there, even though I found another nice spot later on. Thru-hiking is an exercise of continually balancing speed and enjoyment.