The morning was dreaded since dinner the previous night. Being right on the water at a bend, we knew that the first thing that we would have to face in the morning was crossing the river. In this section, the water had consistently been up to our thighs and the next crossing looked to fall in line with the previous crossings. We slept in until 7:00am in hopes of buying time for the sun to reach down into the canyon. However, it was not quite enough time. We stood there with our packs on and dry feet looking at the water that we had to cross. The air was already cold, and we knew that the water was cold.
We tried to scurry along as far as we could before crossing, but the cross was unavoidable. It was time. The first foot dunked into the water followed by the second foot. We hobbled across relaying on our trekking poles for balance. We crawled up onto the bank on the other side. Our feet felt numb as our blood flow headed for the hills. The sun was not even close to us, and the wind was still racing through the canyon. We made a couple more crossings like this before Critter threw on every layer she could find on the top portion of her body in attempt to keep her core temperature from dropping. A handful of crossings came and went before we even touched the sun, but that moment on the beach with the sun's first warm rays hitting our cold skin was amazing.
As the day progressed, we shed layers getting back down to our normal hiking clothes, and we found our rhythm. Hiking through the river canyon made for slow miles but we were able to stay consistent once we figured out the river and the way the trail was heading. We ended up counting 38 river crossing in the eleven miles we walked of the river today. We got to know the river and the slight changes in behavior and appearances as we headed upstream.
The day took us to Doc Campbell's Post where we received our first resupply box. We ate lunch, ran into a handful of other hikers, and organized our food packs adding all the new food that we had just unpacked. We have a six day stretch ahead of us, possibly seven due to the difficulty of the river miles, so our food bags were stuffed to the zipper.
For the night, we camped at the Gila Hot Springs campground, and enjoyed a riverside camp spot and the healing nature of the water in the hot springs. Throughout the evening, two more groups of hikers arrived setting up camp around us, and we all shared stories of the trail, our own stories, and the trail to come. The second group to show up, a couple from South Dakota, exclaimed as they were walking up "Are the Nutter Butters here?!" Apparently, she had been following our peanut shaped shoe prints since the border, and they reminded her of Nutter Butter cookies. She even bought a snack pack of Nutter Butter cookies to share with us! We have to admit we have thought that they looked oddly peanut-like since the first day, too!
Even though we all come from different lives, the simple fact that we are all out here brought us together. With ease, we talked and laughed all the way up until hiker's midnight. We went to the hot springs to soak our feet one last time before heading to bed.
A huge thank you to Jimmy, the campground's host. He was so welcoming to us hikers and so accommodating!
The Nutter Butters