Top of a Mesa(605.5) to Side of a Mesa(630.1) 24.6 Miles Total: 499
These big mile days are really starting to take a toll. I was up at 5:30 this morning and didn’t get to sleep until almost 11. Just as I was waking up Mangus came walking by. He really likes to get up early and get a jump on the day. Since Turtle and I camped on top of a Mesa with an eastern view we got to see another great sunrise.
View from my sleeping bag
We got off to a quick start after getting up. We left camp around 6:15. I knew today was going to be a scorcher and wanted to get to our first water source, a wonderfully maintained water cache, before it got too hot. I only had a quarter of a liter of water to last me 6 miles. Usually this isn’t a problem, but by 7:30 it was already hot. Our day seemed to be filled with a lot of short and steep 100-200 foot climbs. The hiking terrain and temperatures were difficult for me to deal with, but the day was magical. Today was exactly how I pictured hiking in New Mexico to be. We hiked up, down, and around Mesas. Within 20 minutes of the sun fully rising I was awestruck by the beauty. When I moved away from Florida and started driving west to begin a job in Telluride, CO I really thought that at some point I would move back to Florida. Just before crossing into Colorado I took one look at the New Mexico landscape and knew that I would never call Florida home again. I love living in the west. New Mexico was the beginning of that love affair.
Roman Forum looking hoodoos
Looking back to the huge Mesa we came down yesterday
I was amazed to look back and see how far we came yesterday. It is amazing how far your feet can take you and how much that can touch your soul. I really wanted to sit on the rim of the Mesa and gaze out across the landscape, but concerns about water kept me moving forward. We caught up with Mangus at the water cache. The Trujillo family maintains an awesome cache. There were gallons upon gallons of water, a solar shower, fruit, snacks, and dinners. If the cache is running low all you have to do is text them and they will come out immediately with more water. Not having to filter water is an amazing treat. We stayed for over an hour. I think the whole group was more than a little dehydrated. With the hot temperatures and exposed hiking it was pretty important to start the day well hydrated. We had a long 16 miles until our next water source. Today would have been a good day to take a long siesta and hike later in the evening, but that doesn’t seem to be a thing on the cdt. Everyone just pushes on and hopes for the best. I definitely made sure to put on more sunscreen during every break.
Trujillo Family Cache. They have a Facebook page. I suggest checking it out.
Super cool cactus bloom
To conserve water we took breaks every hour. I would hike for 40 minutes and then start to crash really hard. The last 20 minutes before break time I lived in Struggle City, population 1. Turtle and Mangus both grew up in Tucson, Arizona. They are natural desert rats and seemed to adjust better to the hot climate. Everything we walked over reflected the heat back on me. I think the high today was only 85, but it felt like 95 to me. I tried really hard to stay present and enjoy the views. I definitely had to remind myself several times the being uncomfortable is just part of the experience. I listened to a new band and it really helped turned my day around. Ends of the Earth, by Lord Huron was the perfect background song to what I was seeing.
Hoodoos and Mesas
View from the rim
The Mesas we climbed over kept going on forever. We had a new view every time
Falling in love with New Mexico
An amazing day
We lucked out and managed to find good shade to take breaks in. To allow our core body temperatures to lower we took really long breaks and tried to sip our water instead of guzzle it. I thought I was carrying more than enough water, but as the day progressed I had to start rationing it. Drinking hot water isn’t very thirst quenching. I stayed very well hydrated, but I’m pretty sure my electrolyte balance is off. I also didn’t eat very much. I was just too thirsty to choke down another granola bar. I also don’t have much of an appetite in the heat, so it was definitely a struggle to get calories into me. We are so close to having natural, running water in the form of streams, creeks, and rivers that I know this is only temporary discomfort. It just made for a draining day.
Tomorrow will be another town day. We will have hiked 111 miles in 4 days and a morning. I can’t wait to do laundry and take a shower. This dirt and dust gets everywhere. I was really hoping to hike 1 more mile so that I would hit the 500 mile mark, but the terrain disagreed with my wishes. We had to carry out 4 liters of water from our last source. That added just under 9 lbs to my pack. That last mile I wanted was up another Mesa. It was also already 7 o’clock and I didn’t want to set up camp so late. By the time I do my camp chores, eat, and blog I wouldn’t have gotten to sleep until 11pm. The plan is to start hiking tomorrow morning by 5-5:30. We really want to be in town before it gets hot. Oh, and we really really want breakfast burritos and margaritas.
I actually thought we broke 500 miles so I went ahead and made a trail marker
“Let your feet take you places, let them remind you of the beauty your eyes can’t see.”
- Nikki Rowe