CDT Day 19 (NM – Doc’s to Pie Town)

Inkings of Rocky Mountain High


Gila River Alt. Miles: 101.1-106.3 (5.2)
CDT Miles: 344.6-359.7 (15.1)
Total Hiked: 289.3 miles
Elevation Range: 7,900-9,180

Another cold night and morning. On the plus side though, I adapted some and dealt with the cold better I’d say. Mainly I wore socks to sleep, had my puffy at the ready for the post – 1:00am hours, and kept my puffy on when hiking. Here’s my get up…

My pack felt light this morning, mainly because I had less than half a liter left, but also because I’m about half way to my next town stop. Last night I did a little inventory and found I was right on track with my supplies if not a little under sourced. The hiker hunger has hit and I’ve been having to ration my snacks some.

The walk this morning continued on the road, gradually climbing and becoming steeper as I neared the water source four miles away.

Icy water…

I was thinking about road walking this morning and how there’s such a range. Here’s where my brain went and only a few will likely have any idea what I’m talking about, but it’s probably the few that might read this thing too.

So, there’s a spectrum of roads for road walking. On the more scenic/trail-like side, you get two tracks through the forest. These are made up of whatever natural material exists, just worn down dirt from trucks or whatnot over the years. An example might be the road from the cabin to the Grimmly’s cabin or even the cabin road itself as maybe the next step over in the spectrum.

Upgrading in road quality, but maybe downgrading in hiking quality is a gravel road. Keeping with examples from the cabin, this might be like walking east down the County Line Road towards Pete’s ponds. That’s about the level of say I was walking yesterday and today. It’s really nice forest, quite pretty, but it is still a road, albeit lightly trafficked.

Next, you might have lightly trafficked and scenic paved roads, then busy paved roads (let’s say a Buttrick Ave. Or maybe Whitneyville). And this spectrum continues all the way to a 28th street type setting. Luckily, haven’t had to experience that yet. Hope you enjoyed that breakdown of road walking 😉

My water source was this well sort of thing…

It was pretty far down to the water, so used the can to retrieve it. End Game showed up. I’d passed him during the morning hike as he was taking his breakfast in camp. I decided to eat right by the well and he moved on ahead. Just a little leapfrog action.

After breakfast, I was in my shorts and rolled up sleeves, ready to crush it. The trail continued up and started to glimpse the area around.

Just before 10am, I made my way back to the official CDT from the wondrous Gila River Alternate. I was tricked by this sign.

It wasn’t that way and it wasn’t even trail yet, more road walking! But thankfully not much more. Here at this blaze, I was finally back to single track trail!

I was feeling the high elevation stuff. Not like in my breathing or in a physical sense, but deep down in my soul. Even if it was a burned area, still cool to me and I was loving it. The terrain was pretty tough on at times. I experienced more of the CDT style I’m becoming familiar with where there’s less switchback and traverse and more, lets go up now!

From the high open point shown above, the trail did some steep switchbacks down at the bottom of which I found End Game. I stopped and sat with him for a bit and he told me of the decision he’ll have to make whether to continue on the CDT or to go after some European adventuring ideas he has. He also said he’s likely going into the town of Reserve to get a break.

Leaving End Game I had a couple roller coaster up and downs.

It wasn’t long before I made it to the junction of another alternate options. The red CDT route goes up high, whereas the green offers a lower canyon-like route. I found Valkyrie at this split and we enjoyed a nice long lunch together. Such topics as Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter audiobooks, pack rafting, and her desire to do wonderful oasis-like trail magic were discussed. This was also the point I really felt ravenous for more food. I had an extra ramen noodles pack and devoured it and since had my stove going already, made some tea as well.

After lunch I went up on the red and Valkyrie went green. The trail leaving this spot was brutal uphill for a bit, then once up high, it became nice and gradual.

I got some views outward, being about 9,000 feet for the first time, and also found cell service for the first time in a long time. I ended up taking a break and staying up there for about 2.5 hours.

Around 5:30pm I started hiking again after the big phone break. I had a ways to go before camp and tried bit to stress about that. All downhill was nice and even saw a mule deer that wanted to run parallel with me for a while.

Around 7:00pm I met up at the other end of the alternate. There was a water source listed on that green line not far and I was low, so backtracked (or sidetracked I suppose) to check it out. It was a fail. Brownish black cow pond water and once I viewed from afar, turned around. I’d deal with the water I had and push onward!

After this water kerfuffle, I had one last hump to get up for the day. The sun going down was providing some beautious light, especially as I followed a final downhill traverse!

The downhill leveled off on a little flat spot and I made camp. I had filled up an emergency pond water bottle at some point in the day, once again hoping I wouldn’t have to use it, but filtered and even boiled as an extra make-myself-feel-better-about-it technique. Ended up eating in the dark out under the stars.

I once again find myself having to get to the water source right away next morning. But, another solid long day and some beautiful stuff. Having fun and feeling good out here.

Albums of the Day

Rocky Mountain High” – John Denver

“Paradise Valley” – John Mayer

One thought on “CDT Day 19 (NM – Doc’s to Pie Town)

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