Stealth Site(81.6) to Lordsburg(85.1) 3.5 Miles
Daily up/down: +58.1 ft/ - 386.5 ft
Total up/down: +5,325.9ft/-5,484.3ft
The early parts of my thruhikes are when I enjoy town the most. My body is still adjusting to the rigorous task of hiking10 hours a day with a heavy pack. I need the time in town to help myself heal. I’m still always amazed by how quickly the time flies by. I have so little time to just sit and relax and today was no different. When I started on Sunday I thought I’d have to hike a full day today, but I set myself up nicely to get a nero. I made it into town just before eight o’clock. I was up and out of camp by 6:30 even though I didn’t sleep very well. I usually do a little bit of research on any potential animals that I might encounter while hiking. I know how to deal with, black bears, grizzlies, wolves, mountain lions, snakes, and tarantulas. What I failed to research was cows. Just before going to sleep last night I had a herd of 8 cows come within 20 feet of where I was camped. I had no idea what to do. I didn’t know if they would respect my territory or if they would trample me in my sleep. I had a few moments of hesitation before I got up and tried to get them to mosey along. They just stared at me, but eventually they moved on.
In my everyday life I don’t don’t eat much junk food. I eat real non processed food. My stomach has been very upset since I started. I also attribute the heat and mild dehydration to the problem. Due to the cows and upset stomach I didn’t sleep well. Luckily it was a short hiking day. I had another beautiful sunrise, followed by an uneventful hike. I’m pretty sure this section of trail only exists so people can say they hiked from Mexico to Canada. I spent the last 85 miles hiking from cow water source to another cow water source. I’m not complaining, it just isn’t the most thrilling hiking I’ve ever done. I think a lot of the trail will be like this. I’ll get to hike in some of the most incredible places, followed by the most mundane. I guess that is all part of “Embracing the brutality”.
It is always nice to see town in the distance
I was very happy and surprised that the hotel let me check in immediately. That almost never happens. The EconoLodge in Lordsburg is definitely one of the most hiker friendly places I’ve ever stayed. Plus, it is only $48/night. I could afford to have my own room, which is a huge bonus. My plan was to drop my pack and go grab breakfast right away, but I took one look at the shower and changed my plan. It was so nice to get clean again. I totally haven’t adjusted to the hiker stink yet. I forgot how bad I can smell. Once I was squeaky clean I put on some semi-clean clothes and went in search of a good breakfast burrito. I didn’t have to travel far. There was a restaurant across the street with a great reputation. Kranberry’s really earned that reputation. The serving were large, cheap, and tasty. I had a giant breakfast burrito, hash browns, sausage, OJ, and coffee for $12.
I always forget to take a picture before I start eating
After breakfast I went back to the hotel to begin plotting out my next leg of the journey. I have over 5,000 miles under my belt doing this, so you wouldn’t think it would take me too long. Well, the CDT is a completely different animal. If you’ve followed me on my other hikes, you will know that I’m a purist. I hike the trail the way it was meant to be hiked with no exceptions. The CDT is full of nothing but exceptions. I like to think of it as a choose your own adventure book. Almost everyday I am faced with alternate routes. I had expected to take only the major alternates. The alternates you can’t miss because they are better than the regular trail. Alternates like the Cirque of Towers in Wyoming. Or the Gila River alternate in New Mexico. What I’m starting to learn is that other alternate exists to prevent a 60 mile section with no water or hiking the old CDT because the new route isn’t finished and dead ends in the middle of nowhere. It makes the logistical side of things a nightmare. Whenever an alternate is involved the mileage stops adding up. I’m not sure if I’m hiking 64 miles until resupply or 111 miles. That is a huge difference. I’m still trying to not harp on my purist tendicies, much less make so many decisions. One of the reasons I like thruhiking is because I don’t have to make any big decisions. It is enough to drive one mad. I’m taking an alternate to my next resupply point in Silver City. It cuts about 20 miles off the trail, which really bugs me, but there are too many good reasons to take this route. It was the official route until 2 years ago. The CDTC changed the trail because of a new longer section they are planning. Only 20 miles are complete. This years official trail includes those 20(waterless) miles and then dumps you into a 14 mile road walk into town. The old CDT cuts out those 20 miles, but still includes a 12 mile road walk into town. Did I mention how much road walking this trail entails? I think over 20% of what I have hiked so far has been on roads, mostly dirt roads, but still roads.
After I stop in Silver City I get to start the Gila River alternate. This one was a no brainer. The Gila is a highlight of the trip. I’ll see the Gila Cave dwellings and hike along the Gila River. I’ll finally be among trees and fresh water. I will cross the Gila River 85 times. I am beyond excited, but once again the planning was a nightmare. I had zero data on how long this section is. Usually I can look at my guidebook or guthooks and the info is one click away. This took me forever to figure out. I’m on official CDT trail out of Silver City for several miles. Then I hike an 105 mile alternate before going back up with the official trail. The best I can figure out is this section will be somewhere around 125-140 miles. New Mexico has a lot of long food carries. I’m planning on 7 days. I think I only did that once on the entire PCT and never on the AT. I had to put a lot of thought into what type of food to carry due to various water conditions and in consideration of weight. The first 4 days I’ll have a lot of water source(I think) the last 3 days water will be tight. I think I have second guessed every decision possible for this section.
It’s amazing how quickly 1 small backpack can completely fill a room
I also had to make a lot of decisions for the leg after the Gila alternate because I need that food sent by May 1st and it can’t be my typical USPS priority mail. It has to be FedEx or UPS and I shudder to think how much that costs to expedite. Say what you want about the USPS, but their It Fits It Ships priority mail program is a hikers wet dream. I won’t get into the logistical nightmare of planning that section either.
I would be utterly lost without my executive team back home. Thanks General and Hannibal. I know it is a thankless task, but what you do helps keep alive and safe. 🍫🍪🥜🍬🍭🍝🍜🍩📦📫
Sorry if this post was confusing, hopefully it will make more since once I start hiking. Thanks for all the encouraging emails, texts, and posts. You all give me strength. May the force be with you all.
"All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination." - Earl Nightingale