Distance: 167 miles (268.8 km)
Start: Safford, AZ
Finish: Gila Hot Springs, NM
Time: 6 days (April 13 to 18, 2012)
Daily Average: 27.8 miles (44.7 km)
Total Distance: 1,444 miles (2,323.4 km)
- “Tunnel”/Eagle Creek Hot Springs: Located about 0.7 miles SW of the Gold Gulch Alternative route (Map 40), these hot springs are a little difficult to locate, but ooh so worth the effort. Perhaps my favourite hot springs of the GET.
- D&D’s Organic Haven B&B: Fruit smoothies, hot tubs and bathrobes made of Egyptian organic cotton. Seriously. Combined with the amazing hospitality of Dan and Deb, this place is a must for all self-respecting GET thru-hikers.
- Gila River: Almost as nice as the Aravaipa. Spotted elk, javelinas and my first bobcat of the SWH.
- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument: Located just a mile or so before the end of this segment, these impressive rock dwellings date back some 700 years, and represent one of the most important archeological sites of the southwest.
- Homemade Ice Cream at Doc Campbell’s. Three large tubs. Enough said.
- Nothing major. Perhaps the road walk out of Safford and the three mile road walk to and from Doc Campbell’s country store.
Notes & Musings:
Favourite Canyon Hikes From Around the World: Walking through the scenic Aravaipa and Gila River Canyons (West Fork) got me thinking about my all-time favourite canyon hikes. Here is a Top 5 list:
- Copper Canyon Region, Mexico – Specifically the Tararecua (2005) and Sinforosa Canyons (2001). Challenging, remote, visually spectacular and home to the world’s most incredible ultra-long distance runners, the Tarahumaras, the Copper Canyon region remains one of my favourite hiking destinations on the planet.
- Vikos Gorge, Greece – Located in the Pindos mountains, close to the Albanian border, this hike is a wonderful fusion of cultural, culinary and natural elements.
- Grand Canyon, USA – Specifically the Nankoweap/Beamer Trail combination, by which Mike Towne and I made our way south on the Hayduke Trail.
- Colca Canyon, Peru – Located in the southwestern corner of Peru, this magical place has hot springs, Andean Condors and a seemingly never-ending 3300 metre ascent over a 5000 metre pass!
- Jokulsargljufur Canyon, Iceland: A short but spectacular hike through Iceland’s most spectacular gorge.