4/20 Tuesday, day 8–Getting out of town proved to be more difficult than we hoped. I guess the hotel room was just way too big for us because we lost several important items therein. Finally, by 8:30am (2 hours after I woke the children) all the backpacks were packed, lost items were found, and treasures were accumulated from the hiker box. It was a long road walk out of town, past the train tracks, some dilapidated buildings, and lots of trash. We siesta-ed at a windmill until 4:30. Poor Muir hates wearing his boots but they seem to help the pads on his paws. Got to eat our Peak Refuel dehydrated meals tonight, super delicious! Sang “Peaceful, Easy Feeling” as we went to bed: “I want to sleep with you in the desert tonight, a million stars all around…”

Guthook says we made it 11 trail miles, my watch says 34,191 steps and 15.44 miles

4/21 Wednesday, day 9–We left camp at 6:30 to a lovely sunrise. The trail has been leading us mostly east so we are walking right into the sunshine. It was so windy that I had on two jackets. Ruby was just wearing her long sleeve hiking shirt. I complimented her on how tough she is and she got a big smile. I’m convinced she secretly likes being such a Tuffy. We crossed the 100 mile mark and finished the desert section!! Unfortunately, Muir needs some time off the trail. He refused to move forward from mile 106.5, which is a water cache run by trail angels. Fortunately, the newspaper reporter who wrote up a story about our family put us in contact with a trail angel named Margie Grey. I told her about our situation and within an hour her and her hubby drove two vehicles to come rescue us (and bring 8 more gallons of water because the cache was out). While we waited for them to arrive, we chatted with a bunch of hikers, including Long Bird and Crispy (who now refer to our family as “The Croods” ). We got pictures with Pax, Long Bird and Crispy too. The Greys brought us to their home in Silver City, fed us, got us tucked into comfy beds, and are helping us come up with options to care for Muir ❤️

4/22 Thursday, day 10—They say if you want to restore your faith in humanity, hike a long-distance trail! Our first zero was spent being spoiled by trail angels, Margie and Owen Grey, and their son, Zach. We had a feast for breakfast then Owen helped us get to Walmart, Morning Star Sports, and the UPS store (to return the kids’ MP3 players that broke the first week on the trail ). The kids played games, enjoyed the giant swing, and even got to operate heavy excavation machinery. Margie and her friends are section hiking the CDT and are very active trail angels in the Silver City area. Jennifer, John, and Kari came over for dinner and treated us all like superstars! Margie has offered to take in Muir for the next week or so while we hike the Gila alternate to Pie Town. Then Adam will hitch back to Silver City to get him. It is too much to ask, and these angels are going way beyond the extra mile (we hope to return the favor and/or pay it forward one day!). We all want to be trail angels when we grow up!

4/23 Friday, day 11–The Grays drove us to the Gila River alternate parking lot at about 10:45am. We chatted with the trail angel named Cheshire Cat for a while and met a hiker named Cruise Control. We saw a lot of hikers on the road walk. Margie said it is too bad so many use this alternate because the official trail is so pretty right here. We are amazed to see so many giant pine trees all of the sudden! About 45 min after the Grey’s dropped us off, Margie pulled up next to us on the dirt road. We had forgotten Ruby’s umbrella in her car!! She had gotten all the way home when she saw it! If Ruby hadn’t stopped for a lengthy potty break, we would have started hiking up a dirt road that Margie couldn’t drive on. She said she was praying the whole way she would catch us before that point and she barely did! We are so grateful! We made it to mile 10.5 on the alternate and it was a BEAUTIFUL hike! We are overlooking Devils Garden and Moore Canyon from our camp tonight.

4/24 Saturday, day 12– We left camp at 7:30. Cold morning so we stayed in our tents an extra hour. We hiked through Sycamore Creek, an area damaged by fire and flood. It was a frustrating slog. I had hoped we’d make it 10 miles by lunch, but we only made it 5. After our one hour siesta, we found the trail angel Cheshire Cat and his dog, Silvia, at a crossroads. He fed us fresh fruit! Mona Lisa and Lone Wolf showed up shortly thereafter. Great to visit with all of them again. We made it to Sapillo Creek at 5:45 and stopped for a quick dinner before entering the Gila River. We passed by two brothers with 4 horses that were out hunting turkeys. They asked our trail names and then said, “Wait! Are you the family that was featured in the Silver City newspaper?! We read that article and it was so inspiring!” One of them said he had two young kids and would love to do something like this with them someday. He asked if Adam carried a cattle prod to get the kids up the trail. The kids said no, just candy. Entering the Gila River was exciting, it sure is amazing here! We made it up camp before 7:30. The kids swam in the river. So fun! Camped at Guthook mile 22.5 GRA

4/25 Sunday, day 13–Woke to the sound of ducks and turkeys. I’d say this was our most favorite day thus far! We saw wildflowers we haven’t seen yet, and enjoyed crossing the River over 50 times on this hot, windy day. We hiked 15.5 Guthook miles, my watch says 20.6 miles.

4/26 Monday, day 14–It took us until noon to organize our food and leave Doc Cambell’s. One Amazon box didn’t arrive on time so hopefully it will get forwarded to the next town. We met Catwater again (we met her our first day on the PNT last year) and she told us to take the Little Bear Canyon to the Gila River. We missed the Gila Cliff dwellings, closed because of Covid. Little Bear Canyon was extremely beautiful. I actually overheard Ruby say, “that was so fun!” after leaving the canyon and crossing the Gila again. We set up camp near Jordan Hot Springs, ate dinner, then soaked in the not too hot water. Unfortunately, we had to cross the cold Gila to get back to our tents. Tex, No Keys, and Moonshine are here too (we visited with them at Docs, Adam and Tex talked about hunting wild boar for over two hours last night). Looks like the next three nights will be really cold, below freezing even! We could be facing rain and or snow for the next two days. Quote from an informational sign we passed: “The mountains, the canyons, the valleys, the mesas, created the perfect home for the Chiricahua (Apache). Among these living spaces, our wikiups were hidden. The scattered valleys contained our fields, the boundless prairies stretching away on every side were our pastures, the rocky caverns were our burial places. Everything in our country was sweet.” —Apache Elder speaking of the Gila headwaters

We covered 10 trail miles today, my watch says 31,157 steps and 14.2 miles. Camped at GRA mile 50.

Follow up on Kids Out Wild adventures on ,Instagram and ,YouTube, but be sure to come back for another blog!