I've made it into silver city for the second time this year. Now I am done with the Columbus alternate which runs from the Mexican border into the Gila national forest connecting with the office CDT in the Black Mountain range and the river alternate most people do near the Gila river.
The desert was alright, honestly I think the desert portion was superior to the pffical route. Better scenery, and fewer people. I have not run into another hiker on trail yet just a few encounters with border patrol.
As I was dealing with an odd foot pain and got stabbes by a thorn through my shoe so I took so.e time off trail (I always seem to have a rough start don't I?) in Silver City.
I rejoined the trail at Emory Pass planning to take some of my own routes through the Black range amd connect with the CDT around the Gila river. Let me say that the Black range was absolutely stunning. I loved it but the trail was terrible. A few years back there was a fire that destroyed much of the area so now the trail is missing, overgrown with thorn bushes (my shirt and pants have many new holes from bushwacking through thorny plants), or covered with hundreds of blown down trees to climb over around and under. Often I was left to just move cross-county through this stuff and hope for the best. It was a painful and slow going experience I don't hope to repeat...but still one of the most awe inspiring places I've hiked through.
At one point I was moving along a river and it reminded me of how much the Gila river section though beautiful also sucked to mavigate through. So, this year I am going to skip that section.