Mt. Taylor Alternate mile 5 to CDT mile 581.4: 25.6 miles
Total miles: 470.9
The temperature didn’t drop quite as much as we anticipated over night, but there was a light glimmering of frost on the ground so it probably hovered around freezing. It was cold enough in the morning for us to justify having breakfast and coffee in the tent. We try to avoid getting in the habit, as we don’t want to attract mice (or anything larger!) to our tent, but sometimes it’s hard to resist drinking a cup of coffee in our sleeping bags. I took great care to ensure I didn’t smear peanut butter all over my bag, and Garrett expertly avoided dropping crumbs from his coffee cake in the tent. A success for both of us.
We started along a forest road that snaked up another hill, and then down into the valley. We followed this road a few more miles, and then made it to American Spring, our first water of the day and fortunately it was flowing cold and clear. Twisted and Steel soon caught up, and we took a longer than usual break in the shade. About an hour later we started to get up to leave, and found ourselves back onto trail.
I had to take a Piglet break, which is what I call a break that I normally wouldn’t call before when I wasn’t pregnant, but now that I am I will take. I normally eat my snacks while I walk, but I’ve found recently that I don’t have much of a lead up to my hunger. I’m either not hungry, or super-hungry. When that happens I get a bit light headed, so we sit down for a Piglet break and I drink some water and eat a snack and feel back to 100%. I try to prevent it by snacking often, but sometimes that feeling still catches me by surprise.
The trail turned back to road, and we made it to the last water source for the day for a late lunch a little after 1pm. This water source was not nearly as nice as American Spring. Not that we expected much, it was labeled “cattle trough” on the map. We filtered the water, and it tasted fine, so that was good at least. I had a bowl of rehydrated refried beans with cheddar cheese and an avocado I packed out of town. I added a pack of taco sauce I found on the ground. Before you judge me, I found it on the trail and it wasn’t dusty. I thru-hiker must have recently dropped it from their pocket, because who else carries taco sauce into the woods? It was a delicious, albeit filling lunch. Country Mouse and Shadow showed up, and before we knew it we took nearly a two hour break in the shade. The next water was 16 miles away, so we took three liters each to make it there by tomorrow morning.
Despite not leaving lunch until 3pm, we managed over 11 miles to a quiet camp in a grove of trees by the road. Along the way we followed elk tracks, and saw our first rattlesnake of the trip. It rattled from the bushes a ways off the road, as if to give a polite, “excuse me, I’m over here so you probably shouldn’t wander too far off of the road.” Duly notes rattlesnake, duly noted.