Day 63: Mon 9/15 Gila Hot Springs! 2 mo anniversary :) 51 miles

Today marks 2 months that I’ve been on trail! I started exactly 2 months ago on July 15th. It sure doesn’t feel like it tho! On one hand it feels like I’ve been on trail way longer. On the other, seems like I just started from Banff. Lol!

Oh man, southern New Mexico is totally kicking my ass! Between the rain and mud and short but steep climbs, it’s tough! But wow it is so gorgeous!! The reason I originally wanted to go northbound on trail, was that I figured Banff would be way more dramatic of a finish, and ending in New Mexico would be anticlimactic. Boy was I wrong! Southern New Mexico, the whole state really, is absolutely *stunning*!! Last couple days I’ve been riding in and out of the Gila National Forest, and skirting various wilderness areas, and it has all be so amazingly magnificent.

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I decided to take a 50 mile detour to check out some hot springs, as well as ancient cliff dwellings. On the bright side, it was all pavement riding so that would make things faster going. On the not-so-bright side, it’s pavement. Lol! There is a significant temperature difference riding on pavement versus not. It’s frickin HOT!! Ugh when it’s already 93 degrees out, riding on asphalt just magnifies that. I dunno how the road cycle tour people do it. It’s kinda gnarly. On the bright side, I didn’t have to deal with mud. πŸ™‚

I’m really glad I didn’t have a elevation chart for this detour, because I had to climb a HUGE mountain. Had I known how much work it was I may have opted to just go straight to Silver City (where I also have another huge mountain to get over). Lol! But it’s all good. I generally don’t like having to backtrack but hot springs and awesome relic of human anthropology is worth it. The view at the top of the climb was insane. I was looking down on the Gila Wilderness. Cool!

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Then, I had a massive descent. Yay! However, consequentially this means I have a massive ascent tomorrow to get back on route… But you know what, I’m not going to think about that right now. Lol!

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All during riding between this morning and now, there were 3 places listed on my map has having food. Little lodges in a pocket if civilization near a lake. This was pretty crucial, as I was out of food. Go figure all 3 places were closed for the season… Yikes! But, another place was randomly open and had some snack items. Saved!! Oh man I am so grateful they were open, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to make it to the hot springs/cliff dwellings, because I had no more food. Yay!

In the midst of my side trip to the hot springs, I literally rode in between 3 separate thunderstorms, and I got rained on a bit. But hey, I’m on pavement so that means no mud yay!! I guess there are benefits to road riding, other than easier riding and faster miles. πŸ˜›

I made it to the hot springs pretty early. A little after 5pm. There just happened to also be a little general store right down the road that had snacks yay! I won’t be hungry tomorrow morning! :D. Thanks to the old man who worked there, who let me in 5 mins before he closed so I could get some food. Yipee!!

Today is an early day for me. I can’t believe I got my tent setup before 6pm! Lol! I almost feel like a slacker! Haha. I don’t think I had my tent up this early since the day I nero’d at the Whitefish Bike Retreat in Montana.

I spent the rest of the evening soaking in the hot springs. Whoo hoo! Oh man it felt sooooooo good. :). This counts as a shower, right? πŸ˜›

Tomorrow I ride about 5 miles up the road to the cliff dwelling site (they don’t open til 9), then backtrack alllll the way up and over the bigass mountain, and then into Silver City. They have a bike shop there yay! By the way, I’ve pretty much had no brake pads in my rear brakes since Cuba, NM. So I’ve been using my front brakes mainly. Which make these steep descents somewhat scary. Also, I lost the spacer and bolt that holds the bottom left side of my rear rack to my back bracket. So that’s just currently being held together by a Ziptie. Good thing I’m packing pretty light. Lol! Hopefully the bike shop in Silver City has some spare parts for me.

So The awesome thing is, you can camp right at the Gila Hot Springs here for $5. Or the day use fee is $4. Score!! πŸ˜€ A flat spot with potable water AND hot springs! What luxury!! Yay for 2 months living out of my tent! πŸ˜€ I’m a happy camper! πŸ˜€

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