A Windy Washy Welcome
- CDT Miles: 0 – 13.8 (13.8)
- Total Hiked: 13.8 miles
- Elevation Range: 4,300-5,260
“Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good.” – Mr. Feeny
I woke up well before my alarm. A tad excited and nervous I suppose. I’d laid out everything the night before for the most part, so didn’t take me long to get going. I left my hotel room around 5:50am to start a little bit of bonus walking to my shuttle pick up point.
First up (or so I thought), was a visit to the golden arches breakfast of champions. Walking in the dark on the streets of Lordsburg was kind of an interesting scene. Everything was closed, but I could see other hikers had left the hotel too, ahead of me and behind, all spaced out on our own separate but same missions.
When I crossed under Interstate 10, I noticed a group of hikers stationed outside McDonald’s. I went over and found Gump, Libby, and maybe three others. I figured everyone was waiting for it to open, but at some point in the conversation I learned this was just their spot for being picked up by the shuttle service. Silly Stevie. It sadly didn’t look like McD’s was opening on time right at 6am, so I gave up, wished them luck, and parted ways. My own shuttle pick-up was just down the road a bit.
When I arrived, I said hey to the group that was hanging about and got checked in with the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) guy. They had a little office space and a few goodies for hikers. I couldn’t resist the cool CDT bandana and a few rice krispie treats. At 6:30am, our designated time, we were still missing one hiker. One of the two trucks left for the trail, but ours went to pick him up at the Motel 6 down the road. Our driver, Timmy, tracked him down via cellular device communications. It wasn’t long before we were on the road headed for the southern terminus of the CDT!
Our group consisted of Fifth Course, Soccer Mom, Zombie, and Tinman. Pretty solid crew I’d say. I left my phone in my pack during the drive, so no pics, but it took us about 3 hours. We stopped at a gas station in a tiny town called Hachita, so finally got that coffee I was craving. We also caught up to the other shuttle truck there and got to meet some of them… T-Bone, Kimberly, and Alvin and Susan (potentially going with the trail names Rocket Dog and Squirrel, respectively). Also a solid crew.
The road in wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but definitely has some washes that Ronnie would’ve struggled to get through. I think we arrived at the Crazy Cook Monument around 9:30am or so. Just before arriving we stopped to check out a small little plaque telling the story of the monument name. Not sure how legit it was, but the story goes that in the late 1800’s a crazy cook killed someone. Bright tale and lovely place to start a trail, right?
Once parked, we all got out and the pictures started flying (can pictures fly?). Our man Timmy helped us get our packs out and we all started getting ready and such too. Here’s me putting my foot across to Mexico…
Not much of a border wall here as compared to the PCT.
Classic “I’m starting the CDT” shot…
I’m happy to announce that Sumi is once again journeying with me…
And our CDTC shuttle group (the McDonald’s shuttle folks already had arrived and left)…
Our CDTC shuttle drivers, Timmy and Cal. Thanks so much for the ride, the advice, and filling the water caches. These guys are awesome!
I told you… the pictures were flying. We finally all started getting ready.
It was kind of funny, some of the members in the group were ready but were a little shy to be the first ones. Tin Man broke the standstill and went for it leading the way, we all cheered him on! Pretty great moment.
Here’s T-Bone and Zombie heading out a bit later.
I wanted to stay back and take more pictures and just soak in the start of this journey, so eventually it was just me and Soccer Mom since he was chowing some nutritious donuts down still. After some stretching, I went for the ole 10:10am start! Woohoo.
I was feeling it. Just cheesing with a big grin on my face as I started my walk north (actually west for a ways starting out).
Last night my phone let me know there was a wind advisory for today. They weren’t wrong either. It wasn’t Tehachapi wind farm levels, but very strong to where I had to steady myself with trekking poles and at one time had my hat blow off. I heard it coming, a big whirlwind gust, and hit me straight on. The whole day I was sporting this look going on to cover up.
Well… I made it to mile 1! And wanted to show off my new dirty girl gaiters I’ll be wearing this round. Pretty excited about the purple 😊
Without Dave H Master Trailsman, I wasn’t very good at spotting many flowers. More prevalent were the cactus. Here’s a cool Ocotillo, which are one of my top cacti behind Organ Pipe, Saguaro, and the Teddy Bear varieties. Actually, when checking the spelling, the wikipedia told me Ocotillo aren’t even cactus, who knew. Not me.
Also had some chollo…
And, a Yuccatillo? Jk lol
Wildlife count was 3 lizards (1 spikey, 2 not) and a spooky bird hiding in a bush along the trail that startled me. Here’s the cool spiked horny toad lizard. Very camouflaged….
A gully in a valley in a basin (of the basin and range)?
One thing I’ve noticed at least with this first day’s trail is that it’s not always in premium shape. A lot of today was two track and the other portion was walking right up/down the wash which is usually loose sandy gravel, not ideal for backpacking in. All that said, it was quite pretty and we got into some hills that I didn’t expect…
Made it into camp around 5:00pm to find my whole shuttle group as well as T-Bone and Mishap (who I’d met earlier on trail). There was also another guy I’d find out is part of a documentary film team following a few hikers. I guess one of them is the author of The Unlikely Thru-Hiker I guess. Pretty neat. Maybe I’ll get the chance to talk with this mysterious person at some point.
Camp was at our first CDTC water cache…
Toward the end of the day I developed a minor headache. It was easy to diagnose the cause, I wasn’t drinking enough water. I was doing good until lunch when I lost a liter or more to the earth. For my setup I use a hydration bladder and the little sucky part must have gotten squished underneath my pack and drained out. Thus, I had just enough to get me to camp.
First tent site, not too shabby!
Some of us gathered for dinner…
Dinner = Mac and cheese with bacon bits. Yum.
If you made it to the end of the post, three gold stars for you! That was a long one folks, but hey, first day is a big deal. Crushed it!