Day 15

race

Gila River Bridge to Gila Cliff Dwellings
5 mi ::
174 mi ::
Sunny, warm

Ann wakes up with a foot cramp that won’t go away. We have breakfast in camp, but it’s still there. We wonder if it will just work itself out, and start walking up the road. A mile and a half later when we reach Doc Campbell’s Post, it’s a little better.

Doc Campbell’s is a nice little general store. When we walk up a moustachioed guy watering the lawn says, “Wait, don’t tell me, I’ll guess … Duane?” “Close, Dylan.” “Ah! Kuhn. And Ann. You say COON or KYOON?” “COON, it’s German.” “Yes, yes, I’m a kraut myself.” Later he explains his name is L�ka, and extracts a pitiful amount of German from me.

We have some of his ice cream, unpack, and catch up our journals. The men’s pro group of the Gila tour bike race goes by, and we cheer them on. After something like 70 miles, it’s amazing how close they all are.

Packs heavy with food, we hobble a few miles more to the Gila cliff dwelling visitor center. Ann’s foot isn’t getting better, so we decide to go another mile to a campground and call it a day.

We do this, and I continue by myself to check out the cliff dwellings. They’re in a cozy little canyon with a creek and small junipers and oaks. It’s a pretty good climb up to the caves, where the remaining structure are quite well preserved. Many are large enough for two levels of clay-mortared stone structures. The highlight for me is a particular wall with several small 700-year-old Mogollon hand prints in the mortar.

Ann’s foot is still painful, and a little swollen. We may have to stay here tomorrow.

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