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

Elevation Range: 5700-6000'

May 10, 2017 - Jordan Hot Springs was high on my list for a return soak in this wonderfully pristine wilderness. The time that I first hiked up the Middle Fork of the Gila River to soak here was, coincidentally, when Caballo Blanco (Micah True) died while running on a lower tributary a mile or so down the same stream, unbenownst to me at the time. This time I would run the six miles up and six miles back, mindful of and sensing the spirit of this lost trail caballero.

With a couple of upcoming trail races I was feeling the need to do some easy miles. I had run the 3-mile trail into San Francisco Hot Springs near Glendale, NM the day before but was disappointed to find the grottos where you soak under high water from recent rains (see pix at right), so didn't bother to venture into the cooler than expected waters.

The four-mile run uphill and down through the slot of Little Bear Canyon was refreshing in 40 degree temps before 9 a.m. The skies were overcast and threatened rain, but this was New Mexico so I didn't expect enough to hinder my adventure. The waters of the Middle Fork were not very high and not very cold, so I slowed to walk across each of the fifteen crossings as I ran the trails between for the two miles upstream to the hot spring.

The air was brisk in a t-shirt and I was about to shiver in the very light rain when I dressed down to join a couple other fellows in the welcoming 94-degree waters of this spaceous 20-foot pool. Arriving early enough I had plenty of time to enjoy the waters and cameraderie for more than three hours. It is said that the Apache used to soak here regularly. It is hard not to wonder while soaking whether or not Geronimo himself may have found just as much comfort here with his warriors. It is a magical place worth returning to time and time again.

At the right time I redressed, and after bidding adieu to the warriors I shared the pool with, I quickly retraced the two miles cris-crossing the river back to the trail up through Little Bear Canyon. A long soak always takes a lot of energy out of you. I was very relaxed, so cleaned out my shoes from river gravel, ate a few snacks, then wound my way up the trail at a walk-run pace back over the mountain to the TJ Corral trailhead parking lot. It was a most pleasant trail run with the kind of break I need to take more often.