Hike into Jordan Hot Springs in the Gila Wilderness, Silver City, New Mexico

Elevation Range:  5700-6000'

Scrolling Photographs
April 23-24, 2014 - After a thirty-hour drive from North Carolina to New Mexico
Mike Monyak and I hiked in the six miles to Jordan Hot Spring to unwind from the
long drive and explore some new territory.  The hike proceeded down Little Bear
Canyon, a narrow slot canyon leading to the Middle Fork of the Gila River; the 
hot spring sat above the river two miles upstream.  To get there we had to cross
the river somewhere around twenty times; no more than thigh deep at its deepest,
we hiked back and forth across the river across cobbled flood plains littered with
flood debris from flash floods and spring runoff.  The violence of the water at its 
higher stages was awesome to consider.  It was not a place you wanted to be
camped along during torrential rains.  Along the way were the remnants of sleeping
bags and clothing that campers had lost to rising waters in the not too distant past.

After setting up tents in a grassy wooded area and having some dinner I climbed
up to the hot springs and enjoyed a couple hours with some folks from Truth or
Consequences, New Mexico, and Columbus, Ohio - real hot spring afficionados, like
myself.  Conversation was good and we stayed until we had to find our way back
to camp in the dark under the stars.  Water temps were at 94 degrees and very
comfortable, tucked in a wooded setting with a warm waterfall, a large windfall
dividing the twenty-foot pool under the umbrella of a leaning cottonwood tree with
a supporting root larger than its own trunk - a very magical place.  It is purported
that the Apache used this hot spring in eras gone by for mystical and healing
purposes.  The magic seemed to linger.  I was soaking in my glory.

We hiked out the next morning; I returned up the slot canyon while Mike took a 
longer different route back to the Visitor Center.  We traveled five hours to Arizona
where we camped in the Tonto National Forest at a primitive site.  What happened
the next morning is noteworthy, and a good story worth sharing.

After a good night's sleep Mike arose early to take a hike while I slept in, for a change.
In the morning light he could discern three figures at about 180 yards spying on our 
campsite.  Some slight movement of one of the figures drew his attention, so he
grabbed his binoculars and bear spray and started to walk at a tangent to the figures
to get a better look and see if they would react.  At some point they flushed and
hurriedly walked off on two legs before falling to all fours and disappearing into the
distant underbrush.  Mike said their shoulders seemed to merge with their heads and
were not distinct.  He showed me how tall they appeared when we walked to the 
trees where they were standing - seven to eight feet tall.  All black, their arms hung
lower than one would expect of a human or a bear.  If Mike was a skeptic before, these
tall black figures that moved on hind legs would change all that.  For the rest of the
morning we looked for additional signs, but saw nothing other than a large jack rabbit.

We drove into Payson, one hour away, where the race I would do the next day was
staged.  All over town are references to the Mogollon Monster.  The plateau where
we camped and the areas along both sides of the Mogollon Rim where I would run
my race are the scenes of countless observations of the monster in these parts -
BIGFOOT!!!!  I will return to Payson in September to run a one hundred mile race in
these same parts - a race called Mogollon Monster 106-mile run!  Methinks there are 
things that go bump in the night - and they are here!