You can find comments on our twentieth day on the trail (Oct 07) in my original post for this passage.
This was also our last day on the trail proper. At that point we decided to bail out to Florence because we were running out of time and out of patches. Too bad but a good reason to come back soon.
Route: Again a day of excellent single track riding in great desert scenery. No directions required; just follow the trail. This and yesterday’s section were by far the worst in terms of flat tires though (inspite of our self-sealing tubes). Our progress slowed down to a crawl with all the time we needed to fix the flats and we almost exhausted our supply of patches (we had brought several dozen). Knowing that we wouldn’t be able to buy more until at least Oracle (if at all) and that the section south of Kelvin would be hot and dry made us change our plans.
It had been clear to us after only a few days that we wouldn’t make it all the way to the Mexican border unless we hurried up considerably or passed on the slow going over Gunsight Gap but we didn’t feel ambitious enough and didn’t want to forego taking photographs, looking at wildlife, and generally having a good time including our zero days. Making it to the top of Mount Lemmon would have been nice but oh well…
Still we didn’t feel that we strolled along too leisurely. We got up at six in the morning every day and didn’t stop until 4:30 or 5:00 pm with just enough time to do all the camp chores before nightfall. However, if you’re interested in how fast one could race the trail: Scott Morris did it in seven (!) days, south to north, including carrying his bike through Grand Canyon (On the easier Andrea Lankford route). That’s not quite our league though. Take a look at some racing results at Scott’s site.
Water: No water on the trail. The Gila River was running thigh-deep but it is not a completely reliable source of water. What’s more, it is said to be contaminated by heavy metals from mining operations. I don’t know if this is true but it did not sound too tempting. We didn’t know of any other water source (except the Artesian Well several miles up a side canyon) on the section going to Kelvin, which also helped our decision to change plans and ride out to Florence instead.