Day 24: Fordings (20miles)
At Doc Campbell's I had to wait until noon before the store finally opened. I spent the time talking to other hikers, including Lightwalker and her four dogs Togo, Stardust, Mush and Lilly. At noon I had a quick lunch with a chicken salad, some sandwiches, a micro-waved burrito and ice-cream, did my resupply for Pie Town and than headed out.
The Gila River remained spectacular and allowed for a quick pace, oftentimes just interrupted by some of the ~50 river crossings.
Day 25: Forty! (40miles)
The night was freezing. I had pitched right next to the river, which is usually a colder place in general, but options were limited in that narrow canyon.
It took several hours for the sun to climb over the cliffs and actually warm me up. My rain pants provided a little bit of warmth for yet another 30-40 river crossings.
For the first time in weeks, I passed several hikers going my direction and made good progress on easy terrain. By noon I had left the Gila Wilderness section and started a 1.5 days roadwalk to Pie Town. Here I encountered a 15-20mile waterless stretch, which forced me to push on in the evening and to hike my first 40mile day.
Day 26: Uneventful (31miles)
Day 26 was remarkably uneventful. I followed roads for most of the day and some smaller trails that provided a few nice views, but nothing spectacular.
Most of the time I hiked through a Pine Forest and on the Bursum Road, that I had already used a few days before. Water was again limited, but at an elevation between 7,000 and 8,000ft and some cloud cover, temperatures were quite moderate and my water consumption pretty low. I easily hiked 10-15miles with just one liter of water.
I ended that day not far from Aragon Well, which I used to refill my water for the night and the next day.
Day 27: Confidence boost (39miles)
The night had been cold again and extremely bright, due to an almost full moon. I got up at 5:20am, as I wanted to get as close as possible to Pie Town that day.
Two routes were available and I took guthooks blue alternate route, which was yet again a 40mile roadwalk.
In the morning I felt really tired and exhausted and I was afraid of being to weak to climb more than 2000ft up to the Manga Lookout. My pace was slow and sluggish.
At Valle Tio Vences campground I met the trailangel Jetta, who had just refilled a local water cache. Here I started the climb, which wasn't as hard as I expected and I made it to the top before 11am. Just an hour later I got passed by an ATV with a hunter and a hiker.
The ATV returned half an hour later without the hiker and I had a brief chat with the hunter. He told me, that the hiker got lost and had no cellphone battery power anymore and that he had dropped him off, at a junction to Pie Town. I than asked the hunter, what he was hunting for and he replied "Turkeys". I was quite suprised, as I had seen a lot of deer and elk, but no Turkeys, and the hunter said. "Well, me neither and I've come out here for the last 12years. Never shot an animal. Guess it's just an excuse to get away from my wife".
Around noon I caught up with the lost hiker, BeanieWeenie. He was glad to have some company and orientation. We walked fast and talked for a while until we made it to the Davila Ranch. A shed for CDT hikers with a fridge, some sodas and some food. Here I rested for an hour and than decided that it was still early enough to push all the way into Pie Town. Another 14miles down the road.
I got to Pie Town and its 186 citizens at 6pm. I was out of food and a little bit concerned about my resupply as there were no grocery stores in town. Also, both of the two restaurants/ cafes in town were closed. Luckily Nita, the owner of the Toaster House - a CDT hiker hostel - was driving to Datil to have a Steak. She took me and 9 other hikers along, cramped in a car, during a pandemic...
(Several toasters at the fence of the "Toaster-House")
The food at the restaurant was good and it had a small General Store attached to it, where i could buy food for the next 4 days. The trail provides...