Gila River

by Gillian Larson | posted: April 26, 2017
Riding toward the Gila River

I had a truly awesome day on the trail today. I started with the horses at the Picket Post trailhead and rode to the Gila river. The whole way there I was on the lookout for the guys in the non-profit organization Heroes and Horses that I met the day before while out caching supplies for this next section. This is group dedicated to helping veterans through a program of wilderness riding. I had been following their "500 Mile Project" on social media for several months and knew that they were on their ride, but I never imagined we would end up on the same trail! Last I knew, they were riding in New Mexico, but they trailered into Arizona for the concluding section of their journey. I saw them on a dirt road as I drove by and recognized one of the horses from pictures that I had seen earlier, so I stopped in to introduce myself because I was curious if I would see them on the trail. We had a great chat and then I went on my merry way. As I learned later, one of the riders ended up having a collision with a mountain biker shortly after I left and had to be rushed to the hospital, so they got delayed and I unfortunately missed them on trail.

Takoda doing his thing!

This section of the trail went through some beautiful canyons with dramatic rock formation, and it felt like we were in Zion (eventhough I haven't been to Utah, so I'm only basing that on what I have heard).

blue collared lizard

I also saw a gorgeous blue collared lizard in the morning that was the most colorful lizard I've ever seen. The Gila river was pretty darn impressive too and it took a while to find a place to cross that kept the water below my knees. The camping was better on the opposite bank, so I wanted to get the horses across, but the first couple of times that Shyla and I walked into the water from the bank, there was a very steep drop-off and the water was immediately up to my knees, so I turned her around. Takoda was content to stay put and watch us until we found a better crossing, then he followed along behind. I still got very wet feet though, but we made it safely. (check out my Instagram @thru-rider for a cool video of us crossing the Gila river!)

#wildlifeonthetrail #2017AZT

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