CDT Day 2: cacti and rabbits

1st Water Cache to mile 34.1: 20.2 miles

Total miles: 34.1

The first day of the CDT followed a mix of washes, ATV roads, and light trails. On day two we assumed it would be similar, but we quickly learned we were mistaken. Lesson one of the CDT, you never know what’s coming next. The first ten miles were cross-country travel, meaning there wasn’t much of a trail to follow. There were wooden posts spread out across the landscape that we could walk to, but they weren’t always visible, and occasionally we found ourselves hiking towards what we thought was a trail marker, but ended up being a dried up stalk of a plant. The hiking kept us on our toes, and our pace slowed considerably.

Mid-morning I felt a sharp pain in the center bottom of my foot, but it went away so I assumed a small rock had gotten into my shoe. A few minutes later the pain repeated itself, so I stopped to shake out the stone. We kept hiking, but I kept being plagued by a sharp pain in the same area. I took off my shoe again and this time there was a little blood staining my sock, and a few prick marks on the sole of my foot. I meticulously cleaned out my shoe and continued on, but the same pain kept happening every once and awhile. I don’t use the term pain lightly; but this was take my breath away pain. Finally during a break I turned my shoe over and noticed half a dozen cactus spikes stuck into the sole of my shoe- aha! That must be the problem! I relished picking them out, and we continued on. Despite my attention, the pain still occurred, and when it did I’d stop to check for a cactus spike- usually finding one.

We made it to the second water cache by one, and ate lunch in a tiny patch of shade at the trailhead awning. Few clouds in the sky made for a hot day, and the break was needed. Nemo came and joined us in our shade, and we hiked on together from lunch. Looking at the maps, it looked like the next ten miles would be more cross country, but after four miles we suddenly joined a flat ATV road with CDT markers lining it every tenth to a quarter of a mile. We were happily surprised, and enjoyed confident steps along the road, our legs free from the prickly brush from the past 16 miles.

We cruised along and found a nice shady spot for dinner. As my couscous was soaking, I investigated my shoe further and found the cause of the pain had been a cactus spike that had lodged itself all the way through the sole of my shoe and into the interior. It was hard to see, but Garrett dug it out with his knife. What a relief to find the offender!

After dinner the heat had broke, but daylight was quickly fading. We hiked, and I found cell service to order a pair of shoes with a less porous sole! We made camp in a wash as dusk set in, dreaming of what the next day would bring.