Emergency Gila Bikepack

It wasn’t going to happen otherwise. We had to do it, we had to declare an ’emergency’ and drop everything. We can’t let a beautiful spring season go by without a visit to the Gila Canyons and the Arizona Trail. We just can’t.

What was the emergency? The emergency was many fold:

We needed to check on the poppy bloom.

Someone had to ride next to all the color, to see how extensive it is.

Make sure the Gila Monsters of the Gila Canyons are well fed.

See if the new Revelate bags are as rad as always (or even more rad?).

Does our favorite hidden watering hole still flow? (It does!)

And what of the sunset? Will the sky turn ablaze and add even more color to the rhytolite cliffs, as we turn to climb deeper into the canyons?

Will the owls hoot at night, the poorwills whistle and tweet while hunting for bugs?

Will we wake up in a place like this, refreshed and invigorated?

For these very important issues, and more, the bikepack of the Gila Canyons was declared an emergency situation, one that could simply not be ignored.

In the morning there is no such thing as an emergency. There is no work to be done, no doubt about how the day is going to be spent.

It’s going to be spent, *out here*, amongst saguaro and cactus wren.

Speaking of saguaro, Eszter and I have a favorite cactus. He’s still just as stoked as ever, giving the Gila Canyons, the AZT, and the universe at large two thumbs up.

Gone are the days when Lee and I would explore this area, sans a complete AZT. Thru-hikers and thru-riders were nearly an impossibility.

By those standards, seeing 3 bikepackers and 4 thru-hikers is ‘crowded.’

Hedgehogs are always the first to go, overlapping nicely with wildflower season.

Stevan is on a thru-mission, having started at the Mexican border, aiming for the South Rim as a finish. He had the 750 track loaded on his GPS, but was making similar (wise) decisions to skip certain sections, as Eszter and I did on our tour a couple years ago.

Climbing to the unicorn rock, we met another pair of bikepackers doing the full Gila River Ramble Loop, including the ice cream option! Come race/event time I know there are a good number of folks following my GPX tracks around. But it was pretty neat to run into people I would have never known about otherwise, and even better when they are making prudent decisions such as the ice cream loop!

We wrapped it up by self-shuttling and closing the loop via the highway. The emergency was resolved, crisis averted, all was well in the world. Especially when we had root beer floats in Kearny. And twist ice cream cones in Mammoth.

Thanks for making this one happen, Lee. Looking forward to the next, longer, one on the GET.

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