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18107Gila Wilderness trip report

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  • Jeff Ross
    Sep 28, 2007
      Just got back from a week in the Gila Wilderness (SW NM). Hiked in
      (with packgoats) about 8 miles to friends' elk hunting camp. Very
      remote, trails faint and rough. Beautiful weather, days 70's, nites
      40's, a little rain, hunting unsuccessful. Saw some big bull elk,
      just couldn't get close enough. Saw only 2 other hunters. Spent 7
      nites in my Hennessy Expedition Asym.

      What worked:
      ------------
      Goats. They are only a year and half old so they can't carry much
      yet. But they did carry about 30lb (10lb of stuff for them, and 20lb
      of my stuff) between the 3 of them. Next year they will be able to
      carry about 40 lb each. That way I can bring in a few more basic
      essentials (beer, steaks, lawn chairs, etc). They slept under an
      8x10 tarp, ate weeds, flowers, pine needles, drank from the stream.
      No problems. I think coyotes got close one nite and I found them
      sleeping under my hammock the next morning. Otherwise they were in
      heaven and had a wonderful time.

      Hammock. Pretty comfy. I'm 6-3, 200 lb and this hammock is just
      barely big enough. I would like to have a bit more foot room. But
      all in all, quite comfortable. Sure beats sleeping on the ground.

      Alcohol stove. Homemade from a couple of cat food cans. Used Walmart
      91% isopropyl as fuel. Works good.

      MSR Miniworks water filter. Water was clear and clean looking, but
      you never can tell. I like this filter because I can clean it when
      it gets clogged. There are certainly lighter filters, but this one
      is rugged and easy to maintain.

      What didn't work:
      -----------------
      Hammock rainfly is minimal. I hear their new ones are bigger. I
      wound up using a 10x10 nylon tarp from Campmore. That worked fine.
      Now there's plenty of dry room under the hammock for my pack, boots,
      etc. (even goats).

      Hammock "undercover" is minimal. It's a very thin layer of foam
      that's cleverly suspended beneath the hammock. Maybe better than
      nothing, but not much. I used my big old Thermarest Camprest
      mattress inside the hammock, under my sleeping bag. Not cold from
      below any more. It would be nice to find a way to secure this thing
      inside the hammock so it doesn't slide around tho. I tied a string
      around the inlet valve and ran that thru the end of the hammock.
      Thrashing around on it one nite I pulled the inlet valve out of it.
      Not good. I think I fixed it tho.

      Sleeping bag. I used a Slumberjack bag containing something
      called "polar guard" that's rated for 20 degrees. HA! I don't know
      if other sleeping bag mfgrs ratings are so overstated, but that one
      sure is. I used my rain jacket as a blanket to cover my feet, and
      wore pants, two shirts, two pairs of socks. Then I was pretty warm.
      In freezing weather I would have been cold.

      Here are a few pics:

      http://i234.photobucket.com/albums/ee283/gila_dog/gilatrailhead.jpg
      http://i234.photobucket.com/albums/ee283/gila_dog/lenwgoats.jpg
      http://i234.photobucket.com/albums/ee283/gila_dog/gilatrip1.jpg
      http://i234.photobucket.com/albums/ee283/gila_dog/claytoncreek.jpg
      http://i234.photobucket.com/albums/ee283/gila_dog/stormcomin.jpg
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