Gila River High Route

No Name Canyon (GH_0137)
Day 17 – 5/7/17
Miles – 14.0
Total miles – 228.0

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Since we were going to visit the Cliff Dwellings, we slept in 15 minutes. We ate and packed most of our gear, then, leaving the packs in our tents, we walked over to the Gila River Cliff Dwellings. However,  access to the caves was blocked by a locked gate and did not open until 9:00. If we had known, we would have slept in even later. We decided to wait the two hours since we would probably never be here again.  Leisurely, we walked back to our campsite and dried the tents from the nights condensation. As we waited, we read some of the park signs around us. There was one wall with pictographs. Then, a short walk up the canyon we were camped in, was a small three room cave dwelling that we crawled through. At 8:45, we packed up and hiked to the ranger station. A ranger was just beginning an orientation talk and then she walked us up to the cliff dwellings. She had interesting information to tell as we climbed up to the Dwellings in the caves. What is special about this park is that it is only location that allows visitors to walk inside the cliff Dwellings that are over six hundred years old. After an hour or so we returned to the ranger station. We talked with the volunteer about water conditions for the Gila River high route. She called the park head quarters to find out if their is any water available. The answers was yes and at several locations.
We have decided to alter our plans a bit. Instead of walking up the Gila River for the next 28 miles, we will take the Gila River High Route. Mama Raven would have dry feet and will cut about 8-9 miles off.  Perhaps we can come back another spring and hike this portion of the Gila River we will be missing? It seems to be a favorite section for hikers who do the CDT and thus we are disappointed to miss this piece of trail?
We finally hit the trial at 11:30. A very late start but it was worth it to walk amongst ancient Indian dwellings. The trail pulled us up West of the Gila. We stayed pretty high, around 7000′, so the day did not get too warm. We hiked through pine and juniper. Right now we are camped in a pine forest with grass growing throughout. Joon spooked several deer this afternoon.
We return down to the Gila in about 7 miles, then we will have to decide if we finish the high route or splash the remaining eight miles to were we exit the Gila.

Mama Raven’s song of the day:
Hey Na Na by Katie Herzig

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