CDT Day 28: more desert

mile 581.4 to mile 605.1: 23.7 miles

Total miles: 494.6

We ate breakfast in the tent, again. I swear we’re not trying to make it a habit, but it’s just so comfortable. Afterwards, we made the 4ish miles to the spring quickly. Garrett ran down to fill up the bottles, so he would like me to note that he hiked an extra mile today.

The middle part of the day was spent walking on a dirt path through scattered trees, and we stopped for lunch early. A couple miles later we dropped down over 2,000 feet into the desert below. It was steep, and as we came around the cairns large green lizards scattered under rocks.

We made it to the cow trough to fill-up for what we thought was a 9-mile water carry but when we got there Twisted asked us if we’d heard the news.

“What news?” I asked. News on the trail can be anything, ranging from big to small. He didn’t leave me in suspense too long. The 9-mile water carry was now a 16-mile dry stretch. I grumbled. I’ve felt thirsty the last 24 hours despite trying my best to stay hydrated. I decided to filter one more liter than I did the day before for a similar dry stretch, and carried 4L as we were going to have to dry camp. I managed to drink over a liter at our break too, and I finally felt hydrated.

It was hot at 6,000 feet elevation, especially compared to the 9,000 and above we’ve been at the last two days. Our minds were quickly taken off the heat however, as we were walking through a rock wonderland. We popped in and out of washes, crossed mesas, then dropped down again. It was beautiful country to pass through, and all of the sudden the 16-mile dry stretch seemed worth it to be able to walk through this.

We’ve been seeing the same eight hikers for the last couple of days now, only one of them is female. It’s something I’m used to by now hiking, but on the CDT it seems particularly pronounced. We’ve met maybe 30 hikers out here, if that, and only seven have been female. This trail in general had substantially less people than the other trails, and some days we’ll see other hikers, and other days we won’t. Fortunately for this stretch we like all the hikers we’re around (although, we usually do!).

Despite being in a group of hikers, we found a camp to ourselves (also not difficult to do out here with so much land), and had a nice view of the sunset behind a mesa.