09-23-2008: Start of the Gila Wilderness Loop
We woke up fairly early and had some coffee and tea. The dogs played with a couple of dogs whose family was camped near us at Bill Evans Lake. We headed down to Silver City where we stopped at the Gila Hike and Bike to buy more tubes and patches. The folks at the bike shop were very friendly and helpful. We discussed the plans of our next bike trip with them and they verified where we could find water and where we could find good places to camp. After the bike shop we headed to Kiva Java for coffee and Internet. We then headed up to where we were going to start our ride. We ended up camping in Coony Canyon along the Mimbres river where we stayed two nights.
On the morning of the 20th we drove the car out of the canyon and parked it at the top. We organized our bike gear and hit the road by 12:30. All I can say is that the road was hellish! I had not pulled a full load off road ever and this road was steep and rocky. We had to push our bikes part of the way up since I wasn’t used to the BOB trailer and I kept on dropping it and couldn’t pick it back up. But we finally made it to Rocky Canyon campground (only 6 miles from where we started). Rocky Canyon campground was really nice, our tent had a little grassy yard where I enjoyed sitting and writing in the journal. The sani hut was nice too, very clean, not stinky and if you kept the door open it had a great view.
The next morning we packed up our stuff and took off around 10:30 am. It was more of the same, steep and rocky, but it did seem a little easier than the day before. However, on a nice mellow downhill I crashed pretty hard, I don’t know what happened, but Dan said he thought the water bottle I had strapped to my rack bounced off and hit my back tire throwing me off the bike. I have a pretty good road rash, on my left butt and shin, but otherwise no worse for the wear. After the mellow downhill we had a very steep descent into Black Canyon, my hands were so sore from gripping the brakes. Riding steep downhill with the BOB and narrower tires than I’m used to will take some getting used to. At Black Canyon campground we met three bikers who were biking the continental divide trail. Kevin and Adrian who were riding together and Steve who was riding alone but was riding with Kevin and Adrian when they could, they met on the trail and have been leap frogging. It was great talking to them – I had become quite frustrated with the trail and it was nice to know that people can actually do this. It got me excited to get into better shape and to keep going on. Kevin and Adrian went on to camp at Rocky Canyon and Steve stayed and camped with us. By the time I woke up the next morning Steve had already taken off on his bike.
The morning of the 22nd was a pain, I started my period a week and a half early and I had only one emergency tampon with me. Also, We decided that we wanted to keep going instead of turn back (thanks to the inspiration from the continental divide riders), but we were worried we didn’t have enough food for the rest of the trip – it was taking us longer than we originally thought. Also, we definitely did not have enough food for the dogs. We spent awhile debating what to do and in the end we decided we wanted to keep going… so we decided Dan would ride back to the car with no load and get the extra provisions and ride back. What an amazing man. I stayed at camp with the pups and read Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. Dan got back at about 3:30 pm, the kids and myself were extremely happy to see him and that he was able to find everything we needed, yay!!! I started and finished Murakami’s book that day.
This morning the 23rd we left camp at 9:45 am. The road was so much nicer, we had a fairly steep climb out of black canyon, but it wasn’t as rocky and didn’t seem quite as steep as the previous canyons. We didn’t have to push our bikes at all. There was a lot of nice mellow downhill with some rolling uphill. I was very glad we decided to keep going. We got to our camp at Diamond Creek at about 1:00pm the camp here isn’t as nice as the last couple of spots, but we have good shade from a cottonwood and a stream close by, so we can’t complain. The surrounding scenery is very nice too, with rocky walls with lots of junipers.