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Topic: Gila Info Wanted, Middle Fork vs. West Fork< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 04 2012, 7:16 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm considering hiking a loop in the Gila via the West Fork, returning on the Middle Fork.  I know there are many, many water crossings in each, but I'm trying to figure out which has more crossings.

More to the point, which fork takes longer to hike?  Are they comparable or is one much faster to hike than the other?

I want to know this so that I can plan to A) camp near Prior Cabin B) Spend some time at Jordan Hot Springs and to a lesser extent C) camp at The Meadows.

Any help appreciated.
Thanks,
Steve


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 04 2012, 8:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There are so many crossings that an actual count is pointless, at least on the Middle Fork.  However, as rough indication, Mrs. big_load and I met a Swiss CDT thru-hiker on the Middle Fork one icy late November morning (10F at sunrise), hiking in flip-flops.  She said she had done 59 water crossings in the previous two hours.  As far as we went, there wasn't more than 150 yards without a crossing.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 04 2012, 10:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As far as personal experience, I've only been out there once for an over night-er.  But now that I live in NM I've considered more than one extended trip in the Gila.  I probably don't have to tell you that the place is huge.  There are a lot of trails out there, and many on high ground if you want to avoid too many water crossings.

Also, if you don't have your heart set on the Gila, the Aldo Leopold is right next door, and depending on the season the streams can be mostly dry.  I'm planning 3 days in the Aldo Leopold right now.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 11:26 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You can also try Woodland Park between the Forks, dipping into them though there will be elevation gain/loss.  Depending on the season and snowmelt, you also need to be wary of the cubic feet per second of the Middle Fork's current.  While the person answering the phones' knowledge of true backcountry conditions is iffy, they definitely hear from kayak, raft, and canoe crowd if the current is too wild.

If it's slamming kayaks and canoes into the opposing bank uncontrollably, you may need to train your party up on rope work to cross safely.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 4:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey Steve,

We hiked probably the same hike you are considering last May. And to answer your questions  I think the Middle Fork has more crossing.  But that is the difference between 100 and 120.  Both forks have a lot.  The West has two areas that have been rerouted to higher ground.  But the Middle has more campsites.  Not sure when you are planning this trip but your feet will be wet.
Another thing to consider is this area saw the biggest wildfire in New Mexico history last May. The area all around Prior cabin burned.  The cabin might have been saved.  A Hotshot crew was set up there. The entire plateau you were thinking of crossing from one fork to the other burned. I think the Meadows also.  Jordan Hot Spring should be fine. The fire didn't get that  far down. The reason I can't tell you which is faster is because we were there during the fire and from my personal opinion the West is faster.  Maybe because we were almost running to get out of the fire.  Having said all that, go, make the trip, I'm sure nature will already be recovering.  It is a beautiful area.
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