Terribly Thirsty Staying Stealthy
CDT Miles: 125.9-144.1 (18.2 miles)
Total Hiked: 144.1 miles
Elevation Range: 4,950-6,550
Pretty dramatic title, right? Well, I’m writing this, so you know I made it 😉. I had a little water mishap today, but it was just caused by a little stupidity and stubbornness… bad combo.
The morning was an especially peaceful one. A nice, cool temperature with a little breeze, smooth trail, even some views looking out. Pretty great stuff.
I did my usual breakfast break and all was going nicely. Once going again, it wasn’t much further that unknowingly to me, I started walking off-trail. It was one of those dead-ends into a two track, but just before joining, the trail sort of curved towards the right. you’d think you just keep walking that way, but nope, you make a sharp turn at this particular junction to left. I didn’t even realize and was listening to a good podcast, so cruised about a mile down the road before noticing. Sweet Stevie. I mean, sometimes I do think that 3,000 miles isn’t quite enough, so it’s good to add a few extra here and there.
There were some giant ponderosa’s on my detour that I would not have seen otherwise, so holding on to that for making it worth it. I also saw my first devil creature then, luckily a little one and not a rattler.
Already even on my way walking back towards the CDT , I was starting to worry a tad about my water situation. So, I started pumping myself up for some serious walking. For the most part, it was downhill and pretty lovely trail, but a few sections of steep road thrown in for kicks. I was getting Southern California vibes more and more through parts of this…
I thought this was cool how the cactus started growing right out of the tree stump…
“Because the history of evolution is that life escapes all barriers. Life breaks free. Life expands to new territories. Painfully, perhaps even dangerously. But, there it is… I’m simply saying that life, uh, finds a way…” – Ian Malcolm (Jurassic Park)
So yesterday at Burro Mountain Homestead, I filled up 5 liters of water. I then hiked about 5 or 6 miles to camp. Starting out from camp this morning, the nearest source to my knowledge, was 14.2 miles away.
As I neared this source, I felt pretty good. Still had a little left. I bumped into Joe Dirt (was on the train from Tucson to Lordsburg with me) taking a lunch break just before I made it. He offered me some water, which I declined, thinking I’d get some just ahead. We chatted. He told me about some rattlesnake encounters he’s had. Then, I continued on and finished my last water right then too. It was a unique spot on trail, walking through a beautiful canyon/wash that even had some Cottonwoods!
The water source was listed as “Spring and Tank” and the latest hiker comments said there was 6 inches left as of 2 days ago. The tank was off the main canyon in a little hollow of sorts. As I approached, there were 3 or 4 big cows and 1 little baby calf. I felt like they were guarding it from me. I feared not, and continued forward to check it out. Not super great. Actually, there were only a few measley puddles of black water at the bottom. Wasn’t touching it, so backed away slowly. One cow actually trotted up to the tank and started slurping up what I felt had to be the last of it by the way it was going at it. I quickly typed into the spot that this spot was now dry and looked ahead.
The next source was 2.5 miles away. At this point it was about 2:30pm and I hadn’t eaten lunch. Getting a little hangry, I took off for it. No pictures this time because I was in speed mode, but a really cool canyon still.
Luckily, there was a swimming pool-sized tank full of algae and bug filled water there waiting for me to filter. My Sawyer filter has gotten really really slow these past few days due to all the gunk, but I persevered. Joe Dirt arrived and he too filled up and filtered. I just filled up a liter and a half, found some shade and started eating.
Mr. Dirt kept moving after filling up 5 liters. We have about a 13-mile road walk tomorrow and he planned to camp as near to the start of that as he could.
I took my time and stayed about 2 hours at the water. This was my goal for the day actually, but since I was here already, I figured why not get a little closer to the road making tomorrow easier. As I hiked away from the water, guess who came moseying over for a drink…
Makes me happy that my filter gets everything 0.1 microns and bigger out. I only went another mile and half and then had to figure out what my plan for camping was. I was already walking a dirt road and there was a ranch house I’d passed. I felt weird just tenting in the open field near the road, so found a little hidey hole like place. My plan was not to setup my tent til dark, but for the time being just hang in the shade of a juniper. Fun times on the CDT
See, I’m hiding in the shade, pointing at my pack down below haha
And instead of setting up my tent, I decided to do my first night “cowboy camping,” which is pretty much sleeping under the stars. I don’t do this much since I never sleep as good. I’m always a little jumpy with noises and stuff and anxious that something’s going to get me, but a lot of folks like it since it’s simple, fast set up and break down, and you get an unmatched view of the night sky, especially if you continually do it it night after night.