After taking two rest days the horses and I were back on the trail to venture through the Gila National Forest. Day 1 of this section consisted of riding almost entirely on dirt roads which usually isn't my favorite thing but this day was scenic nonetheless.
Not long after we got going, we encountered a free ranging donkey. He had obviously been socialized as he was friendly with me and he was absolutely enamored with the horses. Shyla wasn't too keen on making friends, but boy was Takoda ever enthusiastic about his new buddy! The donkey followed along for about a mile before we must have reached the end of his home range and he stopped in the road watching us continue on.
In the afternoon the weather took a turn as thunderheads rolled in and the wind was cranked up to some truly powerful gusts. We were rained and hailed on a bit and there was so much static electricity in the air that the horses' manes were standing straight up in the air. Lucky for us we were on the outer perimeter of the storm so we didn't encounter anything too bad.
We rode 26 miles and arrived at camp just after 7pm. The storm passed by just as we got to camp which was a real blessing since nothing is more frustrating that pitching a tent in stormy conditions.