Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Grand Enchantment Trail ~ Part 12

This is the New Mexican border with Arizona...  I guess the cows need a visa to cross into greener pastures.

We admired the Gila Wilderness just ahead of us.

We arrived in Alma as the cafe was closing for the day. The sign said they were open till three, but we thought it was only two o'clock.  Apparently, we entered not only a new dimension of space, but of time as well.  Welcome to the Mountain Time Zone.

The Alma Store was open though... and so we shelved ourselves in the company of the local spirit till nightfall allowing for our roots to be watered.

Wow... water was to be truly abundant in the Gila... so much so that we had to cross back and forth through Mineral Creek ever so often.

You would not believe how cold high desert water was at this time of year in the morning. Within minutes our feet were numb.  But the feeling made us feel exuberant and alive.

Mining ruins were abundant with many signs of lost camps and places that people used to call home.

Stacey's pastime was to chase down horned lizards.  We have discovered so many different varieties and subspecies all across the western states.

This forest service road was still closed to vehicles... still too much snow up in the high country ahead.

Flash floods inundated these canyons in recent years.

We were postholing easily in the snow... 

So we took the lower route, just as the two individual hikers we had been following over the last few weeks had.

Not only could we continuously see their footprints in the dust and the mud... we could now see their unique shoe prints in the snow.  We could tell that one guy was just a day or two ahead of us.

Elk prints were plentiful.  It was easiest to walk through the snow where they had established an elk superhighway over the winter months.  Flood damage was so extreme in Copper Canyon that there was very little trail left to follow. No matter... it is fun to stray outside the lines.

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