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Gila River Canyons - AZT #16
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mini location map2014-04-05
22 by photographer avatarslowandsteady
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Gila River Canyons - AZT #16Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 05 2014
slowandsteady
Hiking32.68 Miles 5,438 AEG
Hiking32.68 Miles   13 Hrs   35 Mns   2.72 mph
5,438 ft AEG   1 Hour   33 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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Finally feeling recovered from the Grand Canyon trip, I said I'd like to do no less than 15 miles/3000 feet of elevation. I need to be careful what I wish for.

We were really wishy washy about what hike to do and never fully committed until about 4am. Initial thought had been to start hiking by 6am....blah blah blah we got started at 7. Doing a little math, my goal was to finish in 14 hours.

We ran into the only hiker of the day, within the first hour. He was headed on the GET to Albuquerque. He said he had been drinking from the Gila River for two days and was hoping to find some AZT water caches soon.

The trail is above the river and railroad tracks. We made a short side trip over to investigate an old railroad bridge. Back on the trail, we were passed by four mountain bikers. They seemed to keep stopping and we'd catch up to them for a few miles.

Four hours and 11.7 miles in we took our first break. The trail was in perfect shape, I love trail that can have me doing almost 3 miles per hour! We continued on, seeing three more mountain bikers. We went down to the river at 16 miles to pump water and have lunch. I drank 80oz of water on the hike to lunch.

After lunch it was time to head uphill. From miles 16 - 23 it was more a rolling up and down, just when you'd start feeling tired from uphill, it would level out. A lone mountain biker came cruising down, proving we need to look up once and awhile to see what's coming at us! We took a short break at 23 miles to refuel. You could see the trail wrapping around and switch backing to the end of AZT #16. We headed out to finish and soon the lone mountain biker was coming up behind us. We chatted, and he said he starts at Picketpost and then turns around when he hits the old road down to the Gila. He said the 16 miles from the Gila to the other end of #16 is hard for mountain bikers to get a flow. The gravel/dirt is thick and the bends in the trail force you to stop pedaling. This is probably why we kept catching back up to the bikers this morning.

We made it to the intersection of #16 and #17 just before 6pm. Now it was a race with the daylight. We cruised down to the turnoff to get us over to White Canyon. Drastic trail change! It makes you realize how the AZT can spoil you. With the fading light and rocky trail, we needed to concentrate, but it was super hard at this point after 12 hours of hiking and sore feet and mentally starting to finish. We got to the car in under 14 hours!

Now I know if there is excellent trail, I can do 30 miles in one hike...and with any future offers, I can answer based on desire and not ability!
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94 Photosets

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