[Cdt-l] Fwd: Gila Wilderness Opened or Closed?

Larry Swearingen larry.swearingen at frontier.com
Fri Jan 17 11:29:42 CST 2014

This is Larry (Hoodad) Swearingen and I’ll be hiking the New Mexico section
with Trew starting about April 1.  We want to hike the Gila River from Silver City 
north. There has been a lot of discussion about the river lately.  So.......
OK.  I called the Silver City Ranger Station this morning and was referred to the Ranger
at the Gila Cliff Dwellings, John Kramer.   575-536- 9461
According to the Ranger on site the River Canyon from the Cliff Dwellings up to
Snow Lake is NOT impassable.  The actual trail has been decimated though and
he estimates that there is only 5-10% of the trail left.  Lots of accumulated Flood Debris,
trees and gravel bars where the trail has been washed out and you may have to make
some detours around high debris piles up to 20 feet high in places.
That’s the Middle Fork of the Gila River.
He said that the West Fork Gila River was affected but not as much.
The Ranger estimates that there is 50% of the trail left on the West Fork.
He also mentions that there is a ridge route that you could hike between the 
Middle and West Fork if you wanted.
It was mentioned that their Fire Season will be coming up and we need to 
keep informed as to conditions then.  Canister or liquid fuel stoves only then
and no open fires if there is a ban in place.  By Liquid Fuel they mean that
it must be controllable and able to shut off.  The first ranger I talked to said
that the usual alcohol can stove wouldn’t qualify if there was an open fire ban in

The Spring snowmelt runoff Season runs from March thru mid April, IF there is
any snow.  John said that currently there is no high elevation snow in the Gila
area.  So it may be another dry year.  He mentioned that you can estimate water
levels in the Canyon by going to the USGS website for the Gila River at Gila,NM :
John said that you can estimate the flow up in the canyon by the flow rate all
the way downriver at Gila.  400cfs at Gila translates to about thigh deep up
in the Canyon.
During the Sept. 2012 Event the gage read a spike of 30,000cfs !
He said that currently the river is running very clear but last year it was black
and would clog a filter in about a quart through.  Chemicals  maybe ?

So if you want to Hike the Gila you can make an onsite decision at the Cliff Dwellings
to either go up the Middle Fork or the West Fork when you see the actual river.

Man am I getting anxious to hike instead of all this planning !

Fort Wayne, IN

From: ks1007 at aol.com 
Sent: Thursday, January 16, 2014 7:57 PM
To: cdt-l at backcountry.net 
Subject: [Cdt-l] Fwd: Gila Wilderness Opened or Closed?

contact the wilderness ranger district part of gila national for trail questions

Deming, NM
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