We had mixed feelings leaving Silver City. We had such a great time in this town that we felt like staying longer to see what else it would offer but the feeling of being on the trail was also calling.
We decided to take the shorter Walnut Creek alternative out of town even though it involved 5 miles of sealed road walk through the outskirts of Silver City.
By our first morning break we had made it back to the Gila Forest and were happily hiking the forest roads. It was Sunday so we ran into several other day hikers out to enjoy the forest.
The trees had changed again and we were starting to see some Ponderosa pines. As a lifetime resident of Colorado where the Ponderosa are common, Yeti has a great affection for these trees. She loves the feel of their bark, the majestry of their soaring trunks and the faint sweet butterscotch smell that they give off when the bark matures and turns red. Like most of the trees in New Mexico, they are different to the similar varieties we know from Colorado. It could be the time of year or it could be just the climate but the smell is much fainter. We get up close to several and take a deep sniff with our noses planted on the bark and are reward with the smell we know and love. It is not as strong as our friends from Colorado but it is still there.
As we descend into one of the protected canyons we come across a old growth stand of Ponderosa that are enormous.
When Yeti and I join our hands around their trunks our fingers can only just touch.
Being back in the Pines makes the miles easily pass today but as usual, those afternoon hours start to drag as the sun heats up and takes some of the shine off the walking.
By 5:30 we have made it into another world altogether, the spectacular Devils Garden, Sycamore Canyon and Hells Canyon. We were pushing to get to the next water source to camp for the night but the view was too good to pass up. We stopped on the ridge and pulled out some food and sat there and looked at the view.
After a rest and an intake of the spectacular scenery we pushed on, filtered some water and found a good camp site on top of the ridge that includied a convient cooking/eating rock.