Wow! What a long day. The students arrived this morning and it’s been non-stop ever since. We’ve been going through all the gear they’ll need to bring to the Gila and helping get their food rations bagged. Pack packing class, gear identification, tent pitching, stove lighting, course logistics and route review. And lots of question answering. I’m pooped. My co-instuctor and I will head out with eleven students tomorrow morning at 7. They’re all third and fourth year medical school students and seem super nice. Of course, all students seem nice on the first day — when they’re clean and warm and dry. But these ones seem particularly nice, so we’ll see. We have a 6 hour bus ride tomorrow to get to the Gila and I plan on staying up late tying up loose ends and then sleeping those hours. It’s good to be able to fit sideways on a bus seat.
We’ll travel through a few different canyon systems and end up at the Gila Cliff Dwellings. I still haven’t looked at the overall mileage. The Gila’s the oldest Wilderness Area in the US, so we’ll end up traveling on a lot of trails. It’d be great fun to run the whole 19 day course route at the end. I wonder how long it would take. We had a bit of trouble with a juvenile black bear two years ago, so I’m disinclined to run on my own. And nobody on course is a big runner. We’ll see.
So, I’m going to set up some pre-posts for the days that I’m gone. I don’t want to drop out of the post-a-day challenge. They’ll probably just be pictures with a couple of words. (It is late and all.) I’ll definitely be handwriting posts from the Gila for you — hopefully full of Gila Monsters and crazy student goings-on and the like. My co-instructor is awesome and make-your-stomach-ache-from-laughing funny. I’ll type posts all up when I get back. Until then!