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The Best Hikes in Gila Wilderness

115 Triplog Reviews in the Gila Wilderness
Most recent of 30 deeper Triplog Reviews
17.18 mi • 3,986 ft aeg
Led an overnight backpacking trip along the Mogollon Creek Trail with a group of 12.

The road in was fairly smooth, though one truck did inexplicably get a flat tire. There was no water flowing at the creek crossing a mile or two short of the trailhead. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, but you could probably get a sedan to the trailhead. The road was completely fine for anything with high clearance. It should be noted that the official HAZ_Hikebot GPX track does not start at the trailhead and may not be accurate. I am not sure if there is a trail that matches the HAZ_Hikebot track.

Only 26 people had signed in at the trail register since the beginning of the year. Clearly the trail doesn't get much use. The first six miles of trail are largely uphill. This section of the trail was is in surprisingly good condition and shows evidence of recent trail maintenance. Due to the aforementioned flat tire issue, we got a later start than planned. While the temperatures were only in the 80s F, it was definitely hot and exposed. Near the top, there was a nice patch of woods that you could potentially camp in if you were willing to dry camp. Once you crest over the top, you pass through some burned areas and the condition of the trail declines. There are some downed trees to navigate, but nothing posed too much of an issue. The views from this side as you drop down toward Mogollon Creek are great. It's about a 2 mile decent down to the creek. The area along the creek is a bit overgrown. We lost the trail for a bit after reaching the creek, though we were able to follow it for the return trip. The views and scenery once you start dropping into the canyon are great. We camped for the night among the trees near the junction with Teepee Canyon.

Prior to the trip, I had called the Glenwood Ranger Station and the Gila National Monument to inquire about water availability. The rangers I talked to had no idea if the Mogollon Creek would be reliably flowing. I knew that the creek had an endemic Gila Trout population and had been restocked by the forest service, so I assumed it couldn't possibly entirely dry up. That turned out to be correct. It was flowing and there were pools of nice clear water along the section we hiked. There were some small fish that I assume were Gila Trout in the pools.

In the morning we got an early start to beat the heat and hiked out the way we came and back to the cars. Just north of Cliff, that same truck had yet another tire blow out. That resulted in an 8 hour ordeal involving two tow truck companies shuttling it across the state border to Safford where the nearest compatible tires (available on a Sunday) were found.

Overall it was a good trip. If I were to do it again, I would go earlier in the season. I would also try to make it a three day trip to allow for further exploration up canyon. The best scenery occurs after you crest over the top and start dropping into the canyon. I would have liked to have had more time to enjoy it.
47.2 mi • 0 ft aeg
Almost the same as the official route, but took a slight detour between Hell's Hole and The Meadows. What a great hike! Almost as good as Aravaipa. I lucked out with the weather, 70 during the day, 25-30 at night. I want to do it again, this time counter-clockwise so I can camp at the Meadows before doing the climb over towards the West Fork.

I did make a Youtube video guide to this hike: [ youtube video ]

Foliage
Sycamores were near peak color
13.23 mi • 1,532 ft aeg
Someone had told me that White Rocks was a nice trail, so I decided for my second hike in the Gila the pups and I would start at the Middle Fork trailhead and then hike to White Rocks Tanks for a break, some water and then a return the way we came.

The hike started out very cold. In fact, cold enough to freeze the pups water where we camped and I was definitely not in a hurry to put on my chacos and start crossing the Middle Fork of the Gila, but alas I made my first crossing just after 8. However, After about the second crossing my feet were starting to feel like I was seriously starting to get some frost bite, so I put my socks and shoes back on until the next crossing, as inefficient as that was. Eventually I thought the key to my frozen feet was a set of hot springs along the river's shore. Needless to say that was a very bad idea. A little PSA here, "frozen feet and hot springs don't mix." I seriously thought I did some damage to my feet for a few seconds, as that hot water sent some pretty nasty tingling pain through my feet for a few minutes and only calmed down after I was able to rub them some with the inside of my hoodie that I had take off.

Despite the cold start, I wish I would have just spent more time enjoying the Middle Fork Trail. The trail to the tanks had some decent views, but it was generally bland trail and offered few redeeming qualities The tanks were also bone dry, which put me and the pups in a little bind, as it was around a seven mile detour to get to them. I knew it was a gamble assuming there would be water, but the forest service had it listed as a desirable destination and from the map it looked like it would be a good contender for water and I thought from the tank's name, that there were going to be a couple of nice scenic natural tanks in the rock, or something like that, but nope just two bone dry dirt tanks from yesteryear. Basically, a seven mile detour for nothing overly scenic, when we could have been tramping along the scenic Middle Fork of the Gila River. Needless to say, the dogs were happy to reach the river again, where we did a little more exploring up the Middle Fork, before turning back for the trailhead.

After getting back to the trailhead, I decided to go check out the cliff dwellings and utilize their complimentary kennels for the dogs. The kennels unfortunately looked something like the POW "tiger cages' from Vietnam and I was not putting my pups in there, even for a short tour. Not to be deterred, we settled for a quick hike of the West Fork Trail, which shares a parking lot with the cliff dwellings. The forest service notes that the trail has recently been cleared four miles in, but we only went in about a half mile, or so and turned around, as the drive back to Phoenix was looming in my mind and Cup was beat.
14.82 mi • 1,856 ft aeg
I finally made it to the Gila Wilderness. I kept my first hike pretty standard with a trip to the Jordan Hot Springs. I drove from Phoenix on Friday night, however, due to some last minute planning and packing I did not leave the valley until after seven, but nevertheless I made it in around 1:30 a.m. Arizona time, 2:30 a.m. New Mexico time. The road in is not very fun to drive for the first time at night, but I did see a mountain lion crossing the road, so that was cool. That makes three sighting this year, all crossing roads and all out east, Primitive Blue Range in the spring and now the Gila. Maybe they are a little plentiful out there, does seem to be a lot of deer.

I slept in a little at the Grapevine Campground and then made my way up the road to the area around the Gila Cliff Dwelling monument and the TJ Corral trailhead. Set off with the pups for Jordan spring at 9:22 a.m. The first couple miles of this hike leave you wondering if the six hour drive from Phoenix was worth it and are a tad mundane, unless you like Juniper. However, once you hit the narrows of Little Bear Canyon those thoughts are gone. That section was very pleasant, with the trickling water, fall colors and dramatic walls. The Middle Fork portion did not disappoint ether, although some might find the water a little chilly this time of year. The scenery was very dramatic through there with some towering walls and stunning rock formations along the nicely flowing Middle Fork of the Gila River. The springs were also very nice, with a nearly perfect setting under the trees. There were two other people at the campsite above when I was there, but I had the spring and clear pool to myself. I took a long break, soaked in the spring and then headed back. I probably passed twenty backpackers headed to the spring area on the way out. I chose an out and back for my return and was at the TJ Corral around 4 p.m. The final stretch into the trailhead got pretty warm and I know the dogs were happy to be done with it.
1 mi • 180 ft aeg
Because of how the queen beds are smaller in hotel rooms, our family didn't get a very good night's sleep before we did this hike. Fortunately, that ended up with us getting a very early start to the day. This ended up with many benefits. First was the first shot at the extended contintental breakfast at the hotel, then low traffic on Route 15 in New Mexico on the way to the ruins, and seeing a whole lot of wildlife along that drive. Natasha counted 13 turkeys and 8 deer. It got to the point that we saw so many turkeys that not only did I not stop the car any more, I jokingly gunned the gas to try to run one over in the attempt of a turkey dinner that I nearly was successful at :o . I got yelled at.

We stopped at the visitor centor since we were there so early that we would have been at the trailhead before the 9am open time. Natasha got the booklet for the Junior Ranger program and I got my obligatory refridgerator magnet.

the ruins were very cool, as expected. I've been so to many now that it's becoming easier to spot where restoration was done. Since we were there early, we again had the advantage to spend more time with the volunteers and ask things like where the hidden pictographs are. The corn cob room what pretty cool to see also. We spent some time at the museum by the trailhead after we were done checking out the stuff they have there.

Made our way down to Willcox and getting ready for our big hike of the weekend tomorrow at the Chiricauhua NM.
17.66 mi • 1,542 ft aeg
Bit late, but this was an awesome pre-4th get out of town. April and I left Phoenix after work Friday and stayed the night at Cherry Creek CG, then continued on to the trailhead the next AM. The hike in was super pleasant, lovely to get down into the canyon and walk across/through the stream. Hiking poles made a big difference. We passed a lot of returning dayhikers so we expected a little bit of a crowd at the hot springs but there was only a handful of people and a couple horses set up in the vicinity when we arrived, maybe 2-3 other groups down by the stream and we took the prime hammock camping spots up near the springs. First time we both ever hammock-camped on a backpacking trip and it was great, will keep doing it that way in good weather. Nobody bothered us, and we didn't even have to share the hot spring with anyone till our morning soak the next day. We hiked in with a 6pack of SanTan and a full bottle of wine, definitely worth the added weight. Returned on Sunday via the Middle Fork trail, which was really nice in it's own right. The other hot spring near the visitor center is super-hot compared to Jordan but we sat in it for a bit anyway. We had hoped to make it up to the cliff dwellings after getting out, but they were already closed, ah well. After striking out finding an open coffee joint at 6pm on a Sunday in Silver City, we camped at Coal Creek CG in ASNF just over the AZ border before making it back to Phx midday Monday.

All-in-all this was a sweet little overnighter, very high reward/effort ratio, especially for a not-crazy crowded hike with Phx at 115F+.
19.55 mi • 3,325 ft aeg
Buck Hannen Mtn & Middle Mtn & Loco Mtn
Day 3 (NM Peak Bagging Trip, Part 2)
It’s not often that I wake up on the wrong side of the bed to begin with… let alone wake up on the wrong side of the bed AND still feel royally pissed & frustrated after a sensational day of hiking… but that’s exactly what happened today. And, while I can’t say I had a particularly good time as a result, there were a handful of moments I where was able to enjoy myself. Most importantly of all: the ‘piss ‘n’ vinegar’ allowed me to manhandle another 19+ miler and bag three peaks in the process. 8) Distance has never been a forte of mine but, [unlike a certain other health/fitness parameter where superhuman effort on my part still produces inferior results relative to average…], my efforts to withstand higher mileage have clearly paid off.

STILL having failing to attain that certain other health/fitness parameter [despite exceptionally hardcore effort] was the trigger for my shitty mood; and everything little thing after that pissed me the F off. The previous night I’d car-camped in a large area with tons of pullout spots/fire-rings right after making the turn onto a dirt road by the sign for the Military Road TH, right off Hwy 15; and the road continuing toward where I planned to start my hike looked almost car drivable from what I was able to see on satellite imagery. However, it was really putting my Forester’s 8.7” of ground clearance to the test, and for just under 1/2 mi each way, there were some spots that I decided where just not worth the risk. Not only was it frustrating having to turn back, the backing up / turn-around process was a total bitch and cost me nearly 20 minutes… given the shitty mood I was in to begin with, to say I was more than a little pissed off by the time I set out on foot down the jeep road would be a total understatement…

First on the itinerary was Buck Hannen Mountain and it’s right at the beginning, [I made summit in under 1.75 miles from my parking spot]. Reaching the summit is as easy as it gets in terms of the terrain… in fact, with such a gradual “grade”, [along with enough trees to block the views en route to the summit], the hands down most “challenging” aspect was the navigation; I was constantly having to spot check my GPS because there were several areas where the general direction of the highpoint was not obvious. Though unlike the peaks I did the previous day, the highpoint of Buck Hannen Mountain is obvious [once you make it to the highpoint area], and it consist of a small boulder pile. Reaching the highpoint boulder from the ground took all of a few seconds, but there is just enough room for one person to sit comfortably on it and enjoy the surrounding views, which were beautiful enough to snap me out of my uber pissed off mood, [or at least for the few minutes I took to sit up there and soak in the scenery]. And, although I encountered several buzzing bees going about their biz en route to the summit, [as well as during other places over the course of the day’s adventure], they must’ve sensed I was having a bad day and never once bothered me.

After leaving the summit of Buck Hannen Mountain, [which felt more like a mesa than a mountain], I headed back down to the trail and continued along it for about three] miles. Just after the trail passes Thirtytwo Tank, I started my bushwhack loop of nearly 8 miles, incorporating both of my next summits [Middle Mountain & Loco Mountain], in the process. The trail segment on this adventure was okay… the route finding factor was a definite 1 [i.e. not at all confusing]; and, having a rather long off-trail segment ahead of me, it was nice to have a trail that allowed me to cruise on autopilot for a good stretch. The surroundings are very peaceful; however, thanks to the surrounding tree cover and almost complete lack of distance views, the scenery ranks quite low relative to what this area has to offer. The footing on the trail was really ‘feast or famine’, alternating between very pleasant stretches of soft dirt and/or pine needles with no rocks to being filled with so many rocks that it literally felt like walking along a dried up stream/river. The rocks ranged in size from a ping-pong ball to larger than a basketball; and most of them were loose / on the surface vs. well-rooted into the ground, making it the perfect type of terrain for twisting an ankle. And with little to no room left to plant my feet on the solid ground in between, my pace slowed considerably during these rocky stretches. About 3.5 – 4 miles in to my adventure, I decided to chance caching some water. Although I was carrying my usual 3 liters, I was really struggling to make good time, especially on the rocky sections of trail. While I off-loaded just a single liter, it made a HUGE difference; and with a lot more float to my stride, I was able to make much better time.

The bushwhack from the trail to Middle Mountain was exceptionally well-routed by the resident animals, and it proved to be even easier than Buck Hannen Mountain thanks to a slightly steeper grade, which avoided the need for GPS cross-checks every 5 seconds to determine which way was up. Views from the summit were mostly blocked, and the few distance views to be had were on the plain side; though I didn’t particularly care since a large part of the fun of peak bagging, [at least for me], is the journey and not just the destination.

From the summit of Middle Mountain, I was around 7 miles in to my adventure. The 1.5 liters of water that remained in my pack would need to last me roughly 8-9 more miles before I’d arrive back at the liter I’d cached… and with at least 6 of those 8-9 miles being off-trail, it definitely made me a little nervous. Thus, I decided to cut as many corners as I could and opted for what I thought would be a slightly shorter & faster approach than I was initially planning to reach the final summit [Loco Mountain]. From the vantage point I had atop Middle Mountain, I was able to get a decent view of most of the ridges/terrain I’d be covering, and luckily most of it looked like very smooth sailing… however, if I ended up needing upper body protection for any length of time, then there was a chance I might fall a little short in terms of the water I had on hand and how much I was going to need.

Instead of riding ridges to reach Loco Mountain, the slightly more direct approach I opted for involved: dropping off Middle Mountain via a ridge to the NE, then into a drainage heading NE, and finally making a rather straight-up type of ascent from the Western flank to reach the summit of Loco. My one reserve was that the area I planned to ascend looked to be a little on the brushy side… but still pretty full of ‘piss ‘n’ vinegar’, I didn’t hesitate to tackle it head on. Relative to the previous day’s adventure, the brush never got quite as bad; but it was thick enough that I needed to suit up in my bushwhacking pants, jacket, gloves, AND safety goggles in order to continue making somewhat decent time. Given the many bares spots on the surrounding ridges, [and also the less brushy spots I’d observed on certain other sides of Loco Mountain], having to fight a brush battle put me in an even worse mood. And to top it all off, the summit area was incredibly overgrown and had absolute no views… although there were some very nice views on the descent. Unlike Buck Hannen Mountain, the highpoints of both Middle Mountain & Loco Mountain were not at all obvious; so I touched the many points in question on each. And, like with many of the other summits in the area, I was unable to find a register or survey markers on any of the three summits I visited during Day 3’s adventure.

Shortly after leaving the summit of Loco Mountain, the brush let up enough for me to complete the descent without safety goggles; and by the time I reached the saddle area to the SW of the mountain, I was able to remove my jacket and gloves. The next couple of off-trail miles along the ridge were very easy-going but a bit brushier than anticipated. It never got nearly as bad as the previous days adventure and/or required further use of the safety goggles, but it was thick enough in some places that I needed to re-suit a few times in jacket & gloves.

Fortunately, by the time I reached the water I’d cached, I still had about 1/2 liter remaining of the bottle that was in my pack. By this point, I’d covered 16+ miles, [nearly 10 of which were off-trail]… taking on an extra 2 lbs. for the final 3+ miles was not exactly my idea of fun. And since dumping water was not an option thanks to being low on my overall stash back at the Forester, I force drank the 1/2 liter to partially offset the weight of the 1 L I’d cached. By the time I reached the Forester, I was rather beat [and still felt pissed as all hell], but luckily the next morning, I awoke to my normal, chipper self.

After my adventure, I headed for Gila Hot Springs to hit up the country store that I kept seeing signs for along Hwy 15 (gilahotsprings.com/ ... ost/). I had enough water to get through the night/morning, but not for another day of hiking. Go figure, the store had closed by the time I arrived and the hours totally suck this time of year [they close at 4:30 PM and don’t open until 10:30 AM]. Given that it’s light before 6 AM, there was no way I was waiting around the next morning until 10:30 AM to get water. I figured I’d drive the remaining 4 miles to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, and if I couldn’t find water there I’d head back toward Silver City. Although the National Monument had closed, [and the 9 AM – 4 PM hours were not much better than the hours of the country store], the bathrooms were open and right outside was an area to get drinking water free of charge. The water was amazingly good; and I was thrilled to not have to drive back to Silver City.

My final minutes of daylight were spent checking out the nearby campgrounds. By this point, I was struggling to keep my eyes open and if the campgrounds were halfway decent like the ones in the Chiricahuas, I was ready to call it a night. However, for such an exceptionally beautiful area, I could not believe how poorly these campgrounds were designed… you pretty much park/camp in a paved lot with the vault toilets to your front and the road to your back… and to ‘top off’ the experience, the parking spaces were literally right on top of each other like any standard parking space at your local Wal-Mart / grocery store… no thank you! I’d sooner drive back to Gila Hot Springs and pay to stay at a bed & breakfast type place over this type of camping arrangement. Luckily there was no need; with forest service roads abound, it didn’t me long at all to find something peaceful, private (or so I thought… :o ), and very near by.
10 mi • 1,500 ft aeg
We planned to spend three days to hike out to Mogollon Baldy and back. Day 1 we planned to hike to Hummingbird saddle since we would be arriving at the trailhead late. Day 2 we planned to hike to Mogollon baldy and back to Humming bird saddle. Day 3 we would hike back to the trailhead.

We had heard that the 2012 Whitewater Baldy Complex fire had impacted this trail but we were stunned as to the extent of the destruction to the forest. Starting from Sandy Point, you enter into some old growth that survived the 2012 fire. About 1/4 mile up the trail you hit the first burned area. This lasted for about 1/2 mile where you exit the burn and enter into a beautiful mature Aspen grove. The trail through the grove only lasts another 1/4 mile or so, at which point you are again in the 2012 burn. The remainder of the trail from that point until hummingbird saddle stays continuously in the burn.

It's been 4 years since the fire, the forest still looks like a bomb has gone off. Most of the old Douglas Fir's still stand like skeleton's, rattling in the wind. You can see many that are shattering as they continue to dry out and age is bringing them down. The Crest trail itself, has not been maintained, while it is visible in large part by following downed trees that were obviously cut with saws, the trail is washed out in many places due to erosion from summer monsoon rains. There is a lot of mud on the trail itself and there is a significant amount of small Aspen saplings that are filling in available spaces. We didn't see a lot of pine coming back. Mostly Aspen with a sprinkling of Spruce here and there. In 20 years this trail should be thru a beautiful Aspen forest which should be spectacular in the fall.

Because the forest is so open, the wild flowers were spectacular. I have never seen so many different varieties, so dense. The crest trail has returned to being a wildlife trail and because of the mud we saw significant tracks of Mexican Grey Wolf, Lion, Elk and Deer.

We are Hammock campers and as we got closer and closer to the saddle, we really worried that we would be unable to find some mature trees that had survived to tie our hammocks onto. As we came down into Hummingbird saddle, we noticed a small grove of pine and spruce that had survivedthe fire and were able to make a relatively comfortable camp to spend the night. We were able to find Hummingbird spring but the Whitewater trail (207) was so over grown that it almost doesn't exist anymore. The spring was flowing and we were able to replenish our hiking needs as well as our cooking needs for the evening. That night we slept in a forest that was almost deathly quiet. Hardly any sounds until a thunderstorm blew in and the winds started pushing dead trees over. It was definitely distracting worrying about having a tree or dead branches come down on your camp (or while you were hiking.)

The morning of day 2, we decided to cut this trip short. As we hiked down into the saddle, we could see that we would again be hiking into a forest that had been severely impacted by the 2012 fire and we were concerned about falling trees and finding suitable trees to hang from. My limited experience with Forrest fires taught me that rarely does a fire consume an entire forest. Usually there are stands of trees that survive, little islands of life that continue to echo the forest that used o exist. The Whitewater Baldy fire (with the exception of a few trees on Hummingbird saddle) looks like it has destroyed a significant part of the forest that once existed on these mountains. It will be years before a forest of any kind will grace these slopes again. We will probably never see a mature Fir forest again.

Wildflowers
To many to identify... But the wild raspberry's were delicious.
0 mi • 0 ft aeg
Rain Creek Gila Wilderness
Good week at work, felt good, Fri nite what to do for weekend? Pack, leave driveway at 2 am and drive to New Mexico. I had the feeling that I needed to get back to the Gila Wilderness, as it has been a few years. The fire there was heartbreaking for those of us that saw it prior. I wanted to see what it was like in the areas I had not been in where fire had not been recently. Rain Creek area is a precious place, with running water, slickrock hallways, and lush forest, the oak understory mixed with pine, and a little higher a few spruce. For some reason unknown to me the Forest Service is not maintaining this trail. That said the part I was on was fine---then--- a trail takes off from the official trail that takes you to the West Fork Creek of Mogollon. I have not been able to find it on the Gila Wilderness maps I have, on New Mexico TOPO on level 4 it is labeled a pack trail and comes in near Center Baldy. On level 5 it is gone. It heads up Rain Creek. It is a built trail, faint in spots and with some logs on it, but it goes through magnificent beautiful forest and you are serenaded by the small rushes of water in the creek. I didn't have a map with me, I just wanted to walk a while, camp, and read and take pictures, all of which I did. The trail is mostly high above the creek, so a lot of my pictures were off the trail. I walked it until the creek bed was dry, and the trail hot and shadeless and I was no longer motivated. A bee ball by the trail necessitated a diversion that took some time for me to continue, so at last I turned back, but not before locating a nice spring and seep, and a large pool with some large fish in it,for this area, four of them at least over a foot.
My camp was under a rich acid green canopy, the creek nearby, and gentle sand underfoot. I read, I walked the creek bed barefoot, the water cold the rocks slippery, and I dodged the poison ivy. It was warm, but my campsite fully shaded. Morning and out early, drop the pack to go to more cascades, and soak up the visions of a perfect place. One of many for me. I will return here, plan a more ambitious trip, out of the Black Stick zone, and enjoy the Gila once again.
18.73 mi • 2,617 ft aeg
Jordan Hot Springs Loop
After my adventures in India, I thought I'd be in such fantastic shape that I should hit the trail right away. I also thought I'd be happy to lead a largish group of backpackers back to one of my favorite camping spots. Right on first count, wrong on second. While the trip was overall a tremendous success, I was NOT ready to be trip leader again. I got grumpy - like "you can all go and throw pumpkins at each other and die for all I care" grumpy.

But, as I often do, I have gotten ahead of myself.

I tried to go back in my memory to figure out how many times I've done the hike to Jordan Hot Springs and back. While the different trips with different groups all tend to blur in my head, I know it has to be around 8 trips. I'd gone almost every year since 2003 - missed a couple, went twice at least once. Heck - I even did the write up for it here on HAZ. You'll understand why I'm explaining this in a minute.

As Tibber explained in her trip report (excellent work trail sister), fires and floods have dramatically changed this canyon. Although I was prepared for the trail to be impacted, I really did not understand the extent to which it could have been altered. I've been in many riparian areas pre-and-post flood, but I've never witnessed with this kind of intimacy the power of a massive debris flood. Where there was once a soft path trail over a rolling grass meadow bordered by pines and sycamores there is now a bed of baby-head boulders, gravel and some twigs. Where the stream once flowed in the confines of a riparian forest, there is now a wide, naked streamcourse. And, where there was once a canyon bottom dense with huge, towering cottonwoods there is now a wide open chasm with stunning views of the sheer cliffs and massive boulders.

Ah - I've decided that I can't rant about this trip. It was beautiful. The weather was ideal. I got to hike with my trail sister Angela, swim in a deep cold pool and soak in a warm spring. No matter what else happened with stupid hikers and stubborn pumpkins, it was a great weekend to be alive and on the trail. And isn't that what it's all about, anyway?

The down side of the whole trip is that I'm taking a long leave of absence from leading backpacking trips. I guess you could say I'm burnt out (and yes, I know burned is the proper word, but burnt says so much more). Six years of volunteering to lead strangers into the wilds and shouldering the responsibility for their welfare in the wilds has turned me into a grumpy girl...and you just can't throw a Wendy when you're frowning.
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