The Amazon, the Nile, the Mekong, the Gila… Rivers of Legend
Now you might not have yet heard of the Gila: it’s a hot newcomer to the A-list of the world’s rivers. If you catch the Tucson news, then you might have even heard the rumors that it could soon serve as a border for the USA’s 51st state (piece of cake, considering it was once the border between the US and Mexico).
The stuff of politics and legends aside, it was simply our time to paddle a river – you know, see some country, find some adventure, sling some cameras. In this neck of the woods there is also, of course, the mighty Colorado, but the daredevil Kolb Brothers checked that one off a long time ago, those lousy visionaries.
Besides, we didn’t have much more than a long weekend, a couple of inflatable boats, and let’s face it – a more highly-attuned sense of self-preservation. We sought more of a trickle.
Enter the Gila. 649 miles long, crossing the entire state of Arizona from east to west, navigable by boat in historic times but now running bone-dry somewhere short and south of Phoenix. 26 modest watery wilderness miles from up near Clifton down towards Safford was all we asked for. We got it.
A four day trip made in early March of 2011, covering twenty-some miles of the Gila River from the Old Safford Bridge on the Black Hills Back Country Byway to a takeout a short paddle downriver of Bonita Creek.
Here’s our map with some info on it:
Index of entries:
6 Favorite Photographs from Paddling the Gila River (photos)
First Look at Floating and Boating the Gila Box National Conservation Area (photo)
Overlooking the Gila River upstream of the Orange Cliffs (video)
Drifting Right by a Herd of Desert Bighorn Sheep (video and photo)
Why Did the Cowboy Cross the River? (video)
Have You Ever Had One of These Days? (photo and video)