I've always wondered what the Gila River does between the Turkey Creek access and the cluster of farms in Cliff/Gila. Now I know it meanders through a sweet, sweet canyon shaded by
giant cottonwoods and sycamores. With premier local guide Ann H., we spent
the day just walking in the water.
We could have stayed on the road, but why not take a "longcut" and head straight for the water?
As it turned out, the best hiking was in the river itself. The water was mostly inches deep and delightfully cool and refreshing.
Ladies in wading.
We saw these very wide paw prints — no claw marks — going and coming. Small bear? Or big cat?
This area is famous for its Russian Thistles (tumbleweeds) and there was a group of them camped out by a small waterfall.
Our turnaround point was an impressive gauging station. Had the Gila Diversion gone forward, this stretch of river would be a silt-laden reservoir.
A little bit of heaven.
Close by is a nice swimming hole at the base of a cliff.
We capped the day with green chile cheese burgers, sweet potato fries and limeade at Duck Creek Cafe. What a great post-hike feast! Highly recommended!