The milage is hard to gauge out here. While there is mileage I can reference when calculating how far I’ve hiked each day, within that day there are 100s of possible detours/alternate routes/and just getting “misplaced” for a while.
I think I tacked on a few miles of “misplacement” today, at least one mile! I woke up in the middle of a cow pasture, again huddled by a couple of bushes in the hopes they would block the incessant wind. It was a calm morning, and as I made my coffee and packed up I knew essentially that I just had to walk across a few miles of open range to get to Pyramid Peak where the “trail” or route or dirt road, or combinations of the two would be. So not looking too closely at my maps I started hiking. The CDT posts were infrequent here, but didn’t worry about it too much.
After a break of drying out the blisters (yep, the blisters keep coming), I turned on Guthook’s App (luxury of all luxuries, there is a GPS enabled App to tell you if you are on the trail, or route, or road). I was quite a bit off, so then I head still towards Pyramid Peak, but also in the direction of where the CDT should be.
I expect much of the trail will be like this. Not quite knowing where I am, and turning on the App (and checking my maps of course) to figure it out. Now, I didn’t think I would use the App at all, but damn, once I turned it on and saw how easy it was, I was hooked. I feel very fortunate since most of my friends who have hiked in previous years had to be lost for real. No app to turn on, just good ‘ol map and compass and a bit of GPS. Times have changed, and instead of fighting it, I’m rolling with it! I mean the CDT is hard enough, the wind, the heat, the dirt…I could go on.
In the first 85 miles it seems like well over half has been cross country with regular (sometimes not regular) posts marking the way, the rest on old dirt roads (bliss!) and 0% on trail tread. I hear that’s changing north of here and we’ll get some trail to hike. But really, that is what the CDT is. There is no intention to make a trail from Mexico to Lordsburg. The rugged, route-finding nature of this hike is what the CDT is. The new trail being built is often to take the walking off of paved roads, or heavily trafficked roads, but rugged it will always be. Brutal it will always be.
So I made my way back to the CDT after getting a bit off track, and made my way around the mountain to meet Kramers, a northbounder hiking south for a bit. He was the first person I’ve seen since the first day.
More hiking, more wind, but getting closer to my first town stop! I got to the 5th CDTC water cache and decided to take my phone off of airplane mode. I wanted to unplug for the first few days, but also wanted to see if Teresa, Snorkle & Val would be around when I got into Lordsburg later that afternoon. I found out I’ll be missing them, but get a chance to hang out with Bearclaw & Dirtmonger who rolled in a few hours before me.
After a few burgers at McDonalds (I know, but when you are on the trail you DREAM about shitty food like that) and got to the Econolodge where we are holed up for the night. A quick dinner with Radar, Peru, Old and Slow & Mike from Maine, I am now ready to pass out.
Good night all! I think I’ll let my blisters air out for the morning and see about getting them on the trail again tomorrow afternoon.
It’s so great to read about other people’s brutal encounters w/wind, heat and dirt! 😉 And, I assume, maps that show dirt roads where none are and dirt roads that are where none are shown on the map. But I feel for your poor feet.
The feet are slowly coming along…they will be tough and hoof – like before long!