First off, the Motel 6 in Silver City was super hiker-friendly. When I first stayed there before I started on the trail they seemed a little unaware of the hiker community that would be coming through. When I returned, however, they were now offering a hiker discount (10% off), had a bit of a hiker box and were even giving out little 'goodie bags' of town things hikers might like. One of the workers even shuttled around some hikers before her shift and once her shift started, let them take her vehicle out around town. As I said, very hiker friendly and appreciated.
Now onto the hiking, before I get into the Gila it did take me a couple days to get there. It started like it seems a lot of areas start in New Mexico, with some paved road walking. Once I made it into the Gila National Forest there was a wonderful picnic area with water where I took a lunch and then continued on the now dirt road and eventually turned onto an ATV trail.
Once on the softer ATV trail, hiking was great, had some wonderful views also, but often it was blocked by trees. This trail eventually dipped into the canyon where it stayed for a day. Leading into one of the first real climbs on the trail of around 1500ft. As I ran into some day hikers making the same climb I could see that my trail legs were coming in. It's a weird bit a motivation but I first encountered them and took a 15minute break to let them get on ahead and I could hike alone, however, I quickly caught up and overtook them during the climb. Usually, I'm the slowest thing on the trail when climbing so making a good pace compared to the day hikers was somewhat motivating.
The rest of the hike into the Gila river was a fairly uninteresting forested walk down to the river along an annoyingly rocky path.