April 18:Miles hiked – 18.3
Current Mile – 103.4
After some much needed rest and a lot of food in Lordsburg I was ready to set out again today with a high hopes of what was to come. From the looks of it the trail would be bringing me into the mountains north from town and I had dreams of trees and a nice breeze in my future. First of course I had to get out of town though, and this involved a three mile roadwalk down a paved highway. Not the best but I met a couple traveling along the way who gave me some water which was perfect because I had only brought along two liters for a twenty mile dry stretch! Eventually I veered off the road and crossed under a barbed wire fence (this has been common so far) to continue on towards the mountains. It was flat cross country for a while but sure enough I began to rise above Lordsburg into fields of dandelions and Yucca, which are kind of like a shorter stubbier version of a Joshua Tree. There was a great breeze which definitely made the temperatures cooler and for a while there was even a nice trail tread to follow along with signs! After about 13 miles I turned onto a dirt forest service road which led me up to 6000 feet. Everything began to change, there were mountain views all around me and while it didn’t turn into a forest like it would have above 6000 in SoCal there were plenty of trees scattered around to provide shade! I passed the 100 mile mark which was a nice morale booster, and after 18 miles made it to a nice solar pump with cold clear water. I decided to stop for the day here since its another twenty miles to the next water but it was still early so I bushwhacked up to a nearby peak where I found an awesome rock outcropping view. I knew it would get better! There’s actually a few people camped here tonight, Stephanie and channele?, who started the same day as me, BreadnButter who got my stove back to me, and two girls I just met named Chesh and Gez. Today was exactly what I needed!
High of the day – MOUNTAINS!
Low of the day – I passed the turnoff on the highway at first so had to walk an extra half mile of pavement
Miles hiked – 23.4
Current Mile – 126.8
It was a chilly morning today so I decided to let myself stay in my sleeping bag until the sun had come up. I wasn’t worried about the heat because I’m in the mountains now! I was sure there would be shade and wind for most of the day so once it had warmed up a little I packed up and hit the trail only making it a mile before stopping to sit down at a nice view while I ate breakfast. I leave the dirt road I had been following onto a beautifully well tread trail which would last nearly all day long! At around 6500 feet trees were popping up more and more, it was quite a beautiful walk and reminded me of the PCT quite a bit. I catch Chesh, Gez, And Kelsey at a random water cache where there also been some Gatorade left! Score!
As I continue on I begin to notice “M’s” written on all the signs in chalk and at first can’t quite figure out what it means. Surely it can’t stand for magic, not on the CDT! But eventually written out on a sign is “Genie magic at Burro Peak Trailhead! Come get it!” Motivation is never so high as when you know there’s goodies at the next road! I raced through the seven miles, enjoying all the notes left behind leading up to the spot which made it feel like a game. CDT hikers need stuff like this!
At the trailhead I’m blown away. Tied up in various trees are an assortment of cookies, pies, chips, fruit, hard boiled Easter eggs, and of course water and a cooler full of beer. I sit and get my fill with Chesh and Gez, putting a beer into my pack for later. From the trailhead I begin my first bigger climb of the hike, about 1500 feet up to Burro Peak. The grade of the trail is similar to the AT, straight up the mountain with no switchbacks. It feels good to be gaining some elevation though and by the time I’m at 7000 feet the trail winds through a beautiful forest of Ponderosa Pine with desert views stretching endlessly beneath me. I’m pretty beat by the time I get to the top so I decide on 5 more downhill miles to the next water source that hopefully isn’t dry. On my way down I pass by my first naturally flowing stream, just a trickle, 120 something miles in! Talk about DRY! I make it down to camp and set up beneath the trees before cracking open my beer and resting with a book. As I write this I’m happy to report that one tall boy can give you a pretty nice buzz after hiking for a week straight. Chesh and Gez are camped here too but their off in their own area. Seems like they kinda just want to do their own thing which I completely respect but I want friends! Guess I’ll have to make do with the flies tonight. Another good day for the books.
High of the day – TRAIL MAGIC!
Low of the day – being cold when I woke up (not much of a low?)
Miles hiked – 22 (+13 hitch)
Current Mile – 161.7
Another chilly one this morning! Being in the mountains sure does make a difference. I haven’t put on any of my warm clothes yet but I have a feeling that will be changing soon as I haven’t really slept too well the past few nights because of the cold. I wasn’t in much of a rush to get going today, I only planned on twenty miles so I could stage myself for an early arrival to Silver City tomorrow. I started to pack up when Chesh and Gez hiked by which made me feel guilty to still be in my sleeping bag!
The trail was magical as it has been the past few days. It really makes me feel like I’m in the African safari rather than New Mexico. Today even reminded me a little bit of hat creek rim on the PCT! Tall golden colored blades of grass covered the orange rock that makes up the ground here, and along with it were thick stands of green trees which offered plenty of shade even though I was starting to go back down in elevation now. I spent my morning daydreaming about business ideas. HIKER HUNGER backpacking meals is what I came up with today, a cheaper and more filling mountain house meal that caters specifically to Thru hikers. They can be bought online or in person at Young Bloods Trail Ranch on the PCT in Oregon (opening date to be determined). Daydreaming is nice but on this trail it’s deadly. By the time I checked where I was at I was so far off the trail I had to spend at least 15 minutes bushwacking through the forest to find it! Stay sharp YB, stay sharp.
I catch up to the girls taking a break under a tree and find myself a nice spot to do the same. I’ve been breaking about every five miles, with a long lunch break at ten miles in. Pretty much the same routine I was on last summer except not as many miles, not yet at least! I notice it’s nearly three and I actually ended up hiking over ten and am almost at my planned destination for the day. The girls pass as well as BreadnButter and they’re all headed to town. I don’t plan to push all that way but I figure I’ll just walk and see where I end up.
The trail brings me down into a deep canyon where rock walls tower alongside me. There’s a nice cold stream flowing through the sand, a beautiful place for final miles of the day. It feels like I’m walking to the beach because of how sandy it is which makes the going slow but I’m in no rush at all, I’ve been making way better time than I anticipated before starting. I reach the water tank where I had planned to stop for the day and find it infested with bees which makes getting water a chore. There’s also a freshly dead cow laying next to the tank with maggots and flies eating its head from the inside out. Such is the fate of all CDT hikers! Each trail has had its own sort of theme. On the AT it was “no pain, no rain, no Maine!”. On the PCT there were many, aquadump and snowblindness and alien marmots living in Mt. Shasta who want to take over the world. On the CDT the only recurring theme so far has been death. There are literally so many bones out here that at one point the trail had been created by lining the path with them! EMBRACE THE BRUTALITY!
Surprise surprise, I make it to the road leading to Silver City around six and find the others there attempting to hitch a ride. The official route of the trail turns onto the highway and actually follows it for 13 miles into town, but none of us are too eager for a roadwalk so even when it doesn’t seem like anyone is going to pick us up we remain strong. Eventually a pickup pulls over and we all pile into the bed, first hitch of the trail! Silver city is a quaint little place, with a nice main strip that I’ll have to check out tomorrow as everything was closed by the time we got here but we managed to check in at the RV park and secure ourselves each a campsite. Not sure what my plan is tomorrow, at least a Nero but possibly a zero?!? We shall see!
High of the day – riding in the back of a pickup with cool peeps into town
Low of the day – trying to get water in bed territory! I hate bees! (Traumatic experiences which will go undiscussed for the time being)