For the 3rd year in a row, some hiking partners and myself are going to the Gila Wilderness. Our first year there we hiked the West Fork Trail to Big Bear Trail, down trail #28 to the Middle Fork and then took that to the visitor center. Our second year we took the West Fork to Hell's Hole, went up through Woodland Park, down trail #28 to the Middle Fork, and then once again hiked that out to the visitor center.
Some new guys are going with us this time and we were going to do the same thing we did last time, however the fires this year have put us a bit out of our realm of familiarity. The west fork trail is only open just past big bear trail. We thought we would take an opportunity to try new things and get out of our comfort zone, so we're considering heading north.
We have considered going up Middle Fork Trail a bit, then heading east across North Mesa and perhaps over to the East Fork but we have never been in this area. We would like to do a loop around 40 miles. A little more or less isn't an issue. In our hiking group of 6, we have several very fast hikers and 2 slow hikers (me being one of the slow guys). We like to set up where camp will be that way we all know where to meet at night and the slow guys can take their time. Also water is a big concern for us, we'd like as much as possible, and we are planning to filter it.
Does anyone have information on this section of the Gila Wilderness? We are open to any suggestions as the trip is Aug 29th - Sep 3rd or so. If anyone has hiked a loop in this area the information would be extremely appreciated!