The Trail to Taylor
- CDT Miles: 525.2-540.5 (15.3)
- Mt. Taylor Alt. Miles: 0-1.3
- Total Hiked: 447.8
- Elevation Range: 6,430-9,330
So I skipped through yesterdays events pretty quickly in my last post. Covered the basics, but wanted to bring up a few things of relevance that I felt I missed.
First, when chatting with other hikers there seemed to be a general consensus that the last stretch’s road walking combined with lava rock wreaked some havoc on the body, mainly the feet. Lots of blisters have resurfaced. And so, many folks are taking zero days (0 miles hiked) or even double zeroes.
I’m thankful to have escaped this happenstance, but I feel like it was narrowly. What I mean by that is the whole stretch coming in, doing my big day and all that, I felt as though I was right on the verge of pushing too hard. Several spots on my toes seemed like hotspots as if threatening a mass breakout of blisters. I was also getting hints of tightness in my achilles and my shin, mainly in my right leg for some reason. When I arrived in Grants, the two sort of half days seemed to be enough to rest all these things though (I hope). It’ll certainly be something I pay attention to as I keep trekking ahead and upping the miles.
Second thing we all agreed on was that coming down from the Narrows Rim Trail was indeed super sketchy. Sounded like T-Bone had the scariest experience not having found the cairn route, but instead pulling a little backpack free solo action. Oye! I think collectively we each left some comments in Guthooks warning of the severity of this alternate.
Thirdly, well I didn’t really have a thirdly, but it’s a cool word if it even is one. I guess I’ll just emphasize what I brushed over at the end of yesterday’s post. It was a super fun night getting to hang with Mike and these other hikers. The CDT has lived up to it’s reputation as more rugged and less hikers, so it’s fun to meet up in towns and gather around a table if you know what I’m saying.
When hiking out of Grants, I usually shoot for a 12:07pm start time and today I was right on the money. I’d gotten my town chores completed, cleaned up my room at the hostel, said happy trails to the folks still around, and was ready to hit the road!
And road it was, for the first 5 miles. What better way to pass that time than call an old friend and catch up. Got me about half way at least. It was pretty nice stuff though once out of the city and past the prison and all that.
Even if I was one to hitch these road sections, this wasn’t the place to do it apparently…
Up was definitely the trend today. There haven’t been many big lengthy climbs thus far. The PCT was full of them and I’m sure I’ll feel the same way going forward about the CDT too. And honestly, I’m ready for it, or at least the part of it with the view and high elevation scenery. The uphill grind to get there, well I guess that’s just what it takes. It’s about a 5,000 feet gain from Grants to the top of Mt. Taylor (spread out over a day and a half)!
Here’s once leaving the road. And guess what?Trail! Lovely, beautiful trail!
And moving away from the highway…
I caught up to Just Mary as she was finishing her lunch along the trail. We hiked for a bit together, but I can’t keep up with her unless she breaks to take photos. We ended up playing leap frog a bit today.
Even further and higher up from the road now…
Finally, I reached a point where things leveled. That’s where I found Karma and Veggie (they gave me my first trail magic in the first section south of Lordsburg before they started hiking… the lemon lime soda). Sat with them for a bit. Strangely, there was a sign post with a hanging bell just up ahead, so when I got up to keep cruising they insisted I ding the bell. Cheers all around haha. Going forward, it stayed pretty gentle for a ways offering up some views looking out and of Mt. Taylor ahead
While taking a break with Just Mary and a guy I’d met a few days ago in the lava rock, Cheesey Turtle, I saw this little ball of joy. I didn’t get stuck by this one, but earlier when breaking with Veggie and Karma I put my hand down into a cactus. It was the kind with the super fine pricklys and I was able to pull all the little fibers out thankfully.
Once again on the CDT, I was offered two options I could take… the red line CDT route or an alternate that summits Mt. Taylor. I didn’t have to even look at this one, I knew I wanted to go to the peak. If snow was a factory I’d probably go around, but the reports are there’s very little left up there. Just before this junction, I got this amazing viewpoint. Clearly, I was feeling it!
Just Mary caught up at this point and snapped some pics too. Once going, we walked together and both turned off to head towards Taylor. We made it to the water source and I was jealous of her gravity filtering capabilities. I’m stuck in my old ways of using Smart water bottles. Don’t see a lot of folks doing that anymore. They all seem to have a “dirty” fill-up bag they use to filter from.
Once filled a plenty with water, she camped just up ahead. I went a little further wanting to get to a junction and know for sure in the morning which path to take. It was one of my more beautiful camp spots thus far and managed to get within 3 miles of Taylor for the morning commute.
It’s all about the lighting…
Album of the Day
“Caamp” – Caamp
Song of the Day
“Gabriel’s Oboe” – Ennio Morricone
“Ralph Waldo Emerson – Self Reliance” – Philosophize This! (Thanks Scott for recommending)