75 miles from Mexico
I sleep good and wake up feeling like my real hiker self- ready to walk all over this convoluted earth. Today is going to be great. The boys slept good too and we hike fast across the big open desert, dropping lower and the plants growing sparser until we’re in some sort of great flat basin/valley/expanse that stretches on forever, an old sea, pyramid mountain hazy on the other side.
“See that saddle to the left of pyramid mountain, we’re aiming for that,” we say and then we spread out over the basin, each of us making our own way cross country. Choose your own adventure. The heat comes on and I put in my earphones and listen to Jagged Little Pill. It’s nice to know that I can still enjoy the music I liked in middle school. Way off in one direction I can see Mehap, making his way across the earth. In another direction Track Meat, sticking out above some tall grass, his ginger beard blowing in the hot wind. Spark is somewhere out there too, in the ether- so far he’s the best with maps, and he still has his 4mph stride I remember from the PCT. In 2013 he loved to get way ahead of Instigate and me- it gave him time to lay in the shade and read his book.
Speaking of shade, there isn’t any. Around 2 pm I finally find a solitary tree below which I can escape the sun for a little while. At this point I feel pretty cooked. Shoes off, electrolytes drank, food eaten even though I have no appetite this early in the trail and besides, the heat. By the time I leave at 3 it’s even warmer, and I turn off my brain. Just seven more miles down a hot jeep road in the baking sun to camp.
At least I’m done with the exposure of the basin. The road winds up into the hills and there are jackrabbits and pretty wildflowers. I find Spark and Track Meat at our cow water tank campsite, fiddling with the pump to the well, trying to get it to work. We don’t have any luck with the pump and so draw directly from the tank that the cows drink out of- the water is clear but after purifying it I try to drink it and almost gag. It tastes awful! Track Meat goes to fill his bottles and finds a dead bird in the water, or a rat, it’s too decomposed to know for sure. He fishes the creature out. My first CDT water experience! I make dinner with the water anyway, while sitting on my sleeping pad in some sand that’s full of cowpatty bits. At one point I drop my spoon into the sand. Thru-hiking is so gross.
Ten miles till in the morning til Lordsburg/burgers!
Photos on instagram.