There is a small community named Gila, that is along the Gila river about 30 miles from town. I had to go out there yesterday to visit one of my patients. When done, I took some time to go for a hike out in that area on a dirt road that leads to a birding trail. I hadn't been there in about 10 or 12 years, and forgot just how far in it was. I remembered there was a place I could park before getting to the actual trail along the river, where I could follow another little trail for I think it was about 1/2 mile along the river before getting to the parking area. The road to get there is paved for about 5 miles or so, and runs along the Gila river. Years ago we used to be able to camp and picnic in that area, but it is private property and after numerous warnings to visitors to take their trash out and stop harassing the cattle with ATV's, the owners finally fenced that section off and closed it to public use. It's so sad that people couldn't respect the property and forced that action. I have good memories of camping there a few times and lots of other day trips and my kids playing in the water and having fun. There is a public road that still runs through to access to other destinations but no parking or playing off the road by the river. After about 5 miles the road divides, and one side goes up to Bill Evans Lake, a small man made lake used for fishing a lot that is open still. If you go straight instead of up to the lake there is about 5 miles of dirt road to the birding trail. About a couple of miles in on the dirt road the property turns into forest service property. I parked on a little forest service side road that I thought was closer to the birding area than it actually was. I followed for a little bit what I thought was a trail that would lead me to the river and into the birding area. It was about 3 pm when I started, and the day was chilly but with my jacket I was fine.
There are cliffs around me
I ran into a dead end for what I had thought was a trail and had to get up on the main dirt road. I crossed it and followed another forest service road for a little bit to see what was there, although I knew it wasn't headed for the river.
It had a little bit of a slow steady climb but not bad. I could hear birds but didn't see them. It was so peaceful and quiet except for the birds and so nice.
The road turned into a dry wash and I went just a little bit further and turned around when I reached another kind of dead end.
I turned around and headed back to the main road again. Because it was getting late in the day it was shady in a lot of areas where the sun was behind the hills.
I got back to the main road, and started up the climb to follow it for a while and try to figure out how far I was from the birding trail.
Along the side of the road was an area with pinkish rock, and then shortly after it turned to white rock.
The views of the mounains around are so pretty I think. The pictures don't do them justice.
The road keeps climbing
More great views
I got to the top, where the road starts going downhill and took a few more pictures before turning around. I could see the road went down for a ways and I figured then it was about another mile down to the area I was looking for. It was close to 4 pm by this time, and the mile down the hill and then back up plus the area I was looking for would take too much time to do this late in the day. So at this point I turned around after taking these shots.
I turned around now and followed the road back to the car. I passed this hill off to the side as I was going back down and thought it looked like a great place to climb someday.
When I got back to my car I had done 3 1/3 miles of hiking. If it hadn't been so late I would have continued walking into the birding area. I got in my car and drove to it and it was probably a mile to where I had originally wanted to go from where I turned around. It would be a long climb back up out of the area again. But I really want to go back, and I'm thinking maybe this weekend if I get a chance I will. Once you get down into the area I was headed for, there is a trail along the river for a little ways. It's not a real long trail. I'm thinking I might park where I did yesterday and do the walk again but earlier in the day and go the whole distance. The hills are great training for me.
I really enjoyed my hike even though it wasn't what I originally planned. But sometimes my hikes turn out that way. And they are just as great as the ones where I go exactly where planned. Variety and changes are good at times.
So even though it was a work day I managed to squeeze in a hike since I had to be out in that area anyway. Not often that I get to do that on a work day. I didn't get out on the weekend because the weather was really cold and wind blowing but yesterday was a little better. By this weekend it's supposed to be in the upper 60's again. I just love exploring areas I've never been to or haven't been to in a long time. Like I said, it's been about 10 or 12 years since I went into this area. Definitely want to go back.
Hope you enjoyed walking with me! Have a great day.