It had been a while since I had visited the area and I decided to spend an afternoon exploring. The Gila is basically dry except for a few puddles. Some places could be crossed in a Prius. Others had big puddles or deep mud. The crossing at Cochran looked a bit treacherous, but from the railroad bridge I think any capable truck could have driven the river bottom all the way to Florence.
Curiosity got the best of me and I looked into the railroad. It's the Copper Basin Railway and runs from Winkelman to Magma. It's owned by the mining company and apparently runs a train one way once on most weekdays, but not on weekends. I don't know how fast it goes, but the tunnel is curved, so if you should illegally
find yourself somewhere in the middle of the 630 feet, you wouldn't have a view of any oncoming trains.
I didn't venture across to the Coke Ovens this time, cause I've seen them enough times. But it's only about a 15-minute hike and is very easy if the river is dry like now.
Closer to Florence, the Hayden-Ashurst Diversion Dam is undergoing construction, in a 20-year project to line all the canals it feeds with concrete. Incidentally, it looks like it couldn't really hold any water to begin with, but I'm definitely no dam engineer, so don't ask me if 2 feet of sheet metal and some sticks can hold back a river!