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Jordan Hot Springs Loop, NM
mini location map2014-06-14
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Jordan Hot Springs Loop, NM 
Jordan Hot Springs Loop, NM
Backpack avatar Jun 14 2014
Backpack18.73 Miles 2,617 AEG
Backpack18.73 Miles2 Days         
2,617 ft AEG
1st trip
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ABC - Group
This was so not what I expected. Once to the river, the trail is here and there and the narrow channels of river are now pushed to the sides from the new beds of rock that have eaten up the land that once housed trees and such. UNBELIEVABLE!!! :o

We drove up Friday nite. It's a pretty drive as you come out of Tucson for most of the way. We were treated to storms in the distance and a rainbow as we got closer to Lordsburg. Our intent was to have dinner at Jalisco's in Silver City around 8 but we forgot about the time change :doh: so Wendy called ahead to Jalisco's which closes at 9. In fact, it seems most of the locally owned restaurants close around 7:30. So we were out of luck.

Wendy found an El Charro in Lordsburg so she called all of the other people behind us and we met up there instead. But it's not like THE El Charro however I think the food was fine. After a short celebration for Sarae's birthday we made the long winding drive to the Upper Scorpion Campground arriving around 10:30 I think.

The next morning we were up and ready to go at 7 AZ time. Some folks were going to the Ruins only to find out they didn't open until 8 AZ time so we shuttled a couple vehicles and mounted up our backpacks and headed up the hill from TJ Corral TH. I would discover a little while later that I forgot my lunches and gatorade in the cooler but Wendy and Sarae said we could make due with the food they had (thank you girls!).

The 2 1/2 miles up the hill really isn't too bad but it was a tad warm. The group hiked pretty fast and as usual, I was at the back with Wendy pulling me a long. I enjoyed the scenery more this time as I'm just a tad better hiker than I was in 2011. However, I am still having trouble with my pack tugging on my shoulders :cry: . I used to carry my tent on the outside bottom of my pack but the last couple times I've been carrying it inside the pack. However, it seems just a bit too much for my shoulders (my rhomboids). Eventually that would work out okay as I adjusted the pack putting the waist band at my waist rather than below. I would struggle the following day with sore rhomboids but I think where I put the waist band is the issue.

Anyway, once you hit the pass, we checked out the view and then headed down into Little Bear Canyon. It is so very narrow which makes it so intriguing and fun to hike. The light was different from 2011 so I filmed a lot. The 2011 video of this part to JHS has a lot of hits on youtube so I wanted to film an update with the newer camera. This time there were some nice flowers along the way too and the Canyon started to get water in it at about the same place as 2011.

And before you knew it we were at the intersection with the Middle Fork. And here is where the surprise started :o . The flooding residual was more than apparent as it overwhelmed even this spot. Where before you could walk right across the river, now you had to go up the river a bit and then cross.

From what reading I've done on the internet about 60% of the trail is gone. Going down the Middle Fork I would say at least 80% is gone. The NWS said 5-8 feet water rise Sept 2013.
According to the alert, a 5 foot wall of water full of debris was tracked heading down the middle fork of the Gila River.
Per an entry I saw from a blog:
I met a man who worked for the Forest Service, who said he had just airlifted five people from the Middle Fork of the Gila. He saw the river below – 15 to 20 acres of fallen trees just drifting down the river, taking down more trees as they went. Each tree that was taken down by the debris was instantly stripped of bark. The cottonwoods in the river valley were devastated.

Little did we know we would spend a good part of the rest of this hike to JHS hiking over large debris fields to cross the river rather than walking down to the narrow river channels and wading to the other side. Huge trees were uprooted and splayed across the broad washes of dry silt. The riverbed had extended to nearly the entire canyon floor, wiping out previously grassy sections. We were in awe! and so much sand, what a pain. It would be even worse once we headed down the river from the intersection the next day.

We eventually, with a little route finding here and there, made our way to the JHS and to our camp across the river (8.5 miles or so around 11:30 AZ time). It was warm and it was a bit harder hiking : rambo : than we had anticipated so we were glad to get to camp. After eating some lunch, I decided to give my Sawyer Squeeze a try. Well that darn bag won't fill with water or I'm clueless how to do it. Fortunately I had watched some video where a person suggested using a baggie to gather the water and then put it in the Sawyer bag for filtering. I was impressed with the quick filtering and of course it weighs nothing but having to transfer water is a bit of a pain. I also saw you can cut off the top of a plastic bottle to fill with water to transfer to the bag.

Then it was time to get the swim suit on and join Wendy at the pool in the Gila. Well it was darn cold and took me awhile to submerge over to the rock bench on the side. And then, yep it was time for exfoliation of my brilliantly white legs by the little fishies 8-[ . As long as they were little fishies it would be okay. It got a bit nippy with the wind gusts coming and going so I soon decided enough of that and went back to my tent to put my legs up on a rock and take a quick :zzz: .

After a snack of smoked cheese and crackers, next on the agenda was the trip up to the JHS for some soaking in such a pretty, warm and clear pool of water. The whole group of us (13) eventually were in the pool and there was plenty of room. Had a little sip of some cinnamon whiskey and then headed back to camp to prepare for a Pad Thai dinner and butterscotch shots in roasted marshmallows. The marshmallow thing was an idea Wendy shared on FB tho it was with kahlua. It turned out pretty good but it was hard to master the hole in the middle for the shot as it would leak through sometimes.

We all went to bed at hiker's midnite as we would need to make an early start to avoid the heat of the day for our longer hike out. We made pretty quick time back to the intersection in an hour 1/2 (it took us 2 hours the previous day). There were a few people gathered here; we stopped for only a moment before heading on down the river curious to see what it would have in store for us. And yes more of the same but even less trail. Some of the fallen trees were even larger on this side :o .

Once again we spent lots of time walking on the wide path covered in uncomfortable rocks. This would get annoying after several miles :bdh: especially when a rock would get caught in my boot. I didn't want to ask the group to wait while I got the rocks out so I would do the best to wiggle the rock into a comfortable spot until our next break. The group was already a little annoyed that on occasion Wendy would have them wait for a moment while I came back into site. When you constantly have to look where you're walking, I like to stop for just a moment to take in the scenery :) .

We finally took a short lunch break up against some rocks that provided some shade and water. I was glad so I could clean out my boots. Plus I like that little break just before the end of a hike as it makes those last few miles seem less arduous. I think we had about 3 miles to go yet and this was only our second break since we started in the morning. We started again and on occasion got to walk where the old trail was though it was covered in sand. I discovered that those large mud cracks soon dissolve into sand. The sand was hot AND annoying after awhile.

Our next stop was Middle Fork Hot Springs and the wind tunnel fired up big time. Couldn't keep my hat on so took it off. The group enjoyed this last spring for a few moments. We took off again only to encounter waist high weeds and future blooming flora (including sunflowers and prickly poppies) scratching against our legs for about 1/4 mile. And then one last river crossing toward the road ahead that takes you up to the Visitors Center. We did get some filtered light for this short climb up to the parking lot. I grabbed my last picture and said "adieu" to the Gila Middle Fork.

I would like to come back in a few years to see what Mother Nature has done with with the place.

Comparing 2011 with this year, the difference is remarkable. It was interesting to watch the video from 2011 vs what we hiked this year.

TJ Corral into Little Bear Canyon:­­

Middle Fork to Jordan Hot Springs:­­

Jordan Hot Springs to Visitors Center:­­­

2011 Middle Fork to Jordan Hot Springs­
2011 Jordan Hot Springs to VC­
Named place
Named place
Little Bear Canyon
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
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