CDT day 5: and then the orcs got us

May 9
Mileage 27.5
112.5 miles from Mexico

I wake in the dark motel room, not too cold, not too hot. I slept good. The heady orange light of dawn is just beginning to work its way around the edges of the blackout curtains and soon my friends are awake too, sitting up in their beds staring out at nothing.

It’s eight a.m. by the time we down the all-you-can-eat hardboiled eggs and cereal and leave the motel- we exit Lordsburg on a long roadwalk and then cut cross-country into the desert like the CDT in New Mexico is wont to do. We’re traversing another flat arid basin towards some more distant mountains, but today it’s cool and the sun is kindly and gentle. We fan out across the land as we make our way towards “the saddle between that peak and the other peak,” just knowing that we’re supposed to end up there, not knowing where the official route is and not caring. I listen to John Denver. We see a bunch of horned toads and hares. We take a break in the shade of some powerlines and watch a coyote lope by.

In the mountains we reach our first stretch of actual maintained trail and climb up into cool juniper forest, wherein a massive wave of nausea hits me. Don’t puke don’t puke don’t puke! I think. I try to breathe through it and after a few hours the nausea passes. Just one of those random things that happens at the beginning of a thru-hike, when one’s body is adjusting. Random pain, random soreness, random rashes, random stomach upset.

At camp, which is centered, per usual, around a tall metal water tank for livestock, I find that Spark, with the help of Track Meat, has somehow managed to get on top of the very tall tank, and in this way is able to fill our bottles from the clear clean water inside. We roll out our bedrolls in a sandy wash, and I blow up my neo-air- it’s cold tonight! While we prepare dinner Track Meat recites the video of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen singing about pizza that’s been slowed way down (give it a google) and I almost choke from laughing. And in the interest of full disclosure, here is what we eat for dinner-

Spark- “Spinach queso dip” flavored instant noodles with jalepeno tuna, crumbled up pork rinds, and curry powder

MeHap- Microwave burrito, thawed in pack, smashed up into cold instant mashed potatoes with a sprinkling of “crunchy” rehydrated dried chicken

Track Meat- cold-soaked ramen in a screw-top tupperware

Me- tupperware of rehydrated dried kale and peas, potato chips

“If we were in Lord of the Rings,” says Track Meat as the last of the light fades from the sky, “We wouldn’t want to camp in this wash. The orcs would get us.”

Photos on instagram.