Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Gila River, Alum Trail( FT 788)- Gila National Forest
My friend Doug's was planning hike down the Gila River to find a very obscure waterfall in on the south facing cliffs of Murtocks Hole. He planned to use the Alum Trail, which put in my mind of my very first fishing trip to the main stem of the Gila River in the spring of 2006, using this very same trail to get to the water. There was ample parking near the trail head which is on NM 15( Cliff Dwellings Highway). I set off energetically down the steep and rocky trail. It was easy to follow, and I stopped every so often for views down to the river far below.
At the bottom, I stashed my hiking boots,extra clothes( it was still cool there on an early April morning) and walking stick.. If you go, get a good feeling for where this spot is for your return trip, it's easy to walk right by it. I then assembled my rod under some newly leafing trees, and then turned downstream for my day of fishing. There were no trout to be had on that day, and all my luck came at a very deep spring fed pool, where I caught several ten and eleven inch smallmouth bass. On the way back I found the old chimney of a cabin that once sat near the mouth of Alum Canyon.
I had been fishing smaller streams in the Gila for almost eight years. It seems odd, in retrospect, to have waited so long to fish the river itself. I enjoyed the tangle free casting, the expansive views and the simple pleasure of getting in the water to fish.
I don't know exactly how far down I made it that day. I have feeling, I turned around somwhere between a place called El Rincon and the beginning of Murtocks Hole. The hike back out was steep and slow, but mercifully short. I realized later that the Alum Trail is the quickest way to access a hot spring that is just upstream, from where the trail meets the river.