The Gila Wilderness is a vast land of forests, and high desert, designated as the US’s’ first wilderness area by Congress on June 3, 1924.
United States Wilderness Areas do not allow motor, or even mechanized vehicles, including bicycles. On top of that, no roads, buildings, logging, or mining is permitted. This is perfect for me, since I’m always looking for the path least traveled. The Gila is an area that stands virtually unaffected by man, so it definitely fits the bill!
February isn’t prime season for backcountry travelers in the Gila, so the odds of me running into anyone are slim to none. My route will take me from the western border of the wilderness to the eastern border, and back. I’ll need to rely on my navigation skills to travel through the mountains effectively. I never carry a gps, so my only way of navigation will be by map and compass.
I’m trying out a new method of correspondence during the Gila 100. I’m planning on using an IPod Touch along with a satellite communication device to send short emails that will be posted to the blog, Facebook, and Twitter, by the Sam Explores Team. These devices will only be used to document the journey, and to signal for help in case of an emergency.
I’ll also be filming a video journal during the trek! I’m excited about this, since viewers will get to see first-hand what it’s like to be in my shoes through the trials, and triumphs.
The gear that I’ll be carrying will be quite minimal. Since this is a “survival” themed expedition, I will carry little more than a wool blanket, knife, stainless steel water bottle, cord, a plastic sheet, and a small bag of rice. Besides this all I will have is my communications equipment, and the clothes on my back.
The cold will be one of the most challenging parts of the Gila 100 for me. When I was in southern Arizona last April the temperature dropped to 25°F at night, which froze my water bottle, as well as most of me! This time I’ll be farther north, and for part of the time, I’ll be higher in elevation. I’m expecting temps to drop well below freezing. I’ll have a much better game plan for taking on these cold temps this time around, but it’s definitely not part of the expedition that I’ll be looking forward to!
I hope that you’ll join me as I prepare, and take on this trek. It will be exhausting, depriving, and miserable in every way. I must remind myself daily that the goal isn’t to be comfortable, the goal is to fight sex trafficking.
Once again, thanks!