The Re-route...

Late yesterday evening I had to make an unfortunate decision.  After hiking all day I came to a point in the trail that had been completely destroyed by a forest fire.  I had seen sign of forest fire since day 1 so I didn't think anything of it at first.  I arranged 2 large sticks into an X to mark my spot in the trail, before venturing through the debris to attempt to find where the trail started back up again.  After hiking for about a quarter mile and not finding anything I decided to drop my pack to scout out the path more quickly.  I was looking for any indication of a trail.  The common trail marker that I was searching for was an axe cut in the side of a tree.  This is how the trail had been marked so far, and it had been very helpful in leading me in the right direction.

After searching for the trail for over an hour I decided to return to my pack.  A couple of years ago I may have just kept on trekking, but I know better at this point of my wilderness career.  After all, this wilderness has claimed many lives, and has hid trekkers for up to 40 days before search and rescue could get to them.  I wasn't about to become another statistic.

I decided to set up camp for the night, since I already had 9 hours of hiking under my belt for that day.  I didn't want to make any sudden decision, but It was down to 3 options:  quit and go home, hike through the debris, or re-route the trek.  I was obviously not going to do the first 2, since I"m not too keen on quitting or getting lost.  I decided to wake up early the next morning, and make a big push to hike back to the truck.

Today I managed to get back to my truck after 12 hours of painful hiking.  I sped out of the woods as quickly as I could without flying off of the road.  It was like a wilderness version of Fast and Furious, but with mexican music playing in the background (the only station in the Gila).

I'm now sitting in a cheap motel room, watching a mexican soap opera (again, only channel available), and planning my "take 2."  I have trekked much farther than I had anticipated in the first 3 days, thanks to todays death march and the open meadows which enabled me to travel extremely fast.
Tomorrow I will wake up early once again, and head back into the Gila to finish what I started, just on different trails that are hopefully free from forest fire debris.  I've got about 2 more days of hiking left, and I've already experienced way more emotion, excitement, and challenge then I had expected.

In a way, I think that the "take 2" may just be what adventure is all about.  Making something good come out of a bad situation, never giving up, but never taking unnecesary risks.

I've got some great photos and video that I can't wait to share with you, but this is all for tonight.  I need to rest up for tomorrow.  As always, thanks for sticking it out with me, through thick and thin.
-Sam