Co-op Windmill to Mud Springs: 19.4 miles
Total miles: 121.8
The temperature dropped to nearly freezing overnight, and in the morning it was COLD! I kept my long underwear on until it was time to leave camp, and hiked away in my hat, jacket, and gloves. I warmed up quickly, especially because today we actually climbed a mountain.
The trail has been mostly dirt roads and cross-country travel, so it was fun to flex our legs on a soft dirt trail winding up into the mountains. We left the desert scrub behind, and hiked through a ponderosa pine forest. The climb up to Burrow Peak was the steepest thing we’ve gone up yet, and our legs relished the climb.
We saw six whole hikers today; the most we’ve seen since the day we started the trail. Leopard and Rabbit caught-up to us at lunch, where we ate with Larry Boy and Nemo. And in the evening we met Steel and Twisted at Mud Springs.
One of the most common topics of conversation between thru-hikers in the desert is water. The lack of water, the quality of water, how far it is to the next water, how much water we’re going to carry, etc. As such, the CDT provides endless opportunity for water commentary. We all agreed that for being called Mud Spring, the water was some of the best we’d had as of yet on the trail. The bar is pretty low, but since this water didn’t have any algae growing in it, bugs swimming in it, or cows actively drinking out of it, it was rated excellent. We filtered a bunch of water so we wouldn’t have to with cold hands in the morning, as the next day we had a 20 mile dry stretch of trail. We may be in the mountains, but since there are less cows here, that means less water tanks for hikers to dip from. We’re happy for the moment to trade water for trees, for a bit at least.