Dassie and I split a room in Lordsburg for 2 nights, with the Ravens in the same hotel. It took me a full 24 hours to recover from heat exhaustion, which I guess I’ve never had, just know the symptoms from first aid. My heart was fluttering all night attempting to pump overly thick blood, I felt like I was getting a head cold–sore throat, dizzy–and I drank gallons of fluid. I went about the chores of buying resupply food and lunch and snacks for the day. Suddenly at 4 pm, I was ravenous and looking forward to hiking the next day. Dassie and I went to buy pre-dinner IPA since the restaurant here doesn’t serve alcohol. That made me realize that I should have prioritized a refreshing and revitalizing brew the day before after walking into town.
4/27 our group of 6 headed out the road north of Lordsburg in wind but less heat. No more Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) provided water caches, our goal was a solar powered wind mile about 18 miles in. We gained 2000′ elevation in 5 miles, went by old mining works and caught up to Kat from Taiwan and a couple of other hikers at the windmill. There was plenty of time left in the day so we continued on another 3 miles to dry camp in trees and thorn bushes. It’s been a dramatic improvement in scenery and temperatures. Trees for shade, what a concept! This area reminds me of the PCT stretch between Lake Hughes and Hiker Town on the edge of the Mojave Desert.
4/28 We continued on a mixture of dirt road double track and single track trail with trees for shade. Because of water we walked off trail a mile or so to the Burro Mountain RV Park which gives hikers free camping, hot showers and electricity. It wasn’t super restful though when the wind started howling and our tents lit up with lightening and a dashing rain. However, it was the first night I actually got in my sleeping bag! In the morning we packed water to make it to the next guaranteed source just over 20 miles away.
4/29 We’ve got a bit of a trail routine going. It will change, but right now 15-year old Bling with his endless energy and effortless positive attitude has the fastest pace. Dassie is feeling great and walks behind him. I generally tuck in next with Mama’s sore feet slowing her down with Papa walking drag. Joon is a little slow to wake up but a little into the day she’s right behind Bling. Super experienced, Bling will stop and wait for the group at confusing intersections or just randomly when he knows he’s way ahead.
At one of these stops I kept going ahead and was rewarded with seeing some kind of cat tracks, a large animal and a baby sized. “Puma” is what the guy at the RV park talked about, same guy that told us the bathhouse was “yonder.” He said 2 women hikers had a Puma mama and two kits walking the trail between them, and that a big cat took down a deer nearby a few days earlier. Anyway I’m walking along with these fresh cat tracks peering around thinking they were lurking in high places like my house cats do, just waiting to rush me. I found a nice clear high spot and waited for the group to catch up. I got behind Bling and Dassie, letting their footprints cover up the cats’ and forgot about them.
We continued on, lovely country, as it got cooler and cloudier and I felt rain was imminent. I wanted to drop down off the ridge before that happened and got out front again. I turned into and then off of a dirt road into a long sandy canyon fenced and gated to restore the area. I heard a truck and saw a woman, man and two barking pit bulls with tow straps and a come-along unsticking their Tacoma from the middle of the trail. “They won’t bite!” she yelled. “I’ve got 5 behind me, I’ll wait” I yelled back. And then it started to snain (snow and rain) so I dug out my rain gear. The truck got unstuck and the woman ran back to me and asked if we would be OK in the snow. So sweet! I said we are going to camp just a mile down the wash and she waved goodbye. The others joined me a few minutes later, the snain stopped and we continued to a lovely soft campsite out of the wind and called it a day. We passed numerous tire tracks practically on top of the signs saying, “No Motorized Vehicles.”
4/30 We got up and walked 5 miles through sand, then double track past many healthy cow-calf herds to the paved highway which we’d need to walk 13-14 miles to town. Dassie has a deadline to go back to work and wants to see as much as she can, so she opted to hitch to town, buy her resupply, overnight, and hike out with the pack from CDT Trail Days. The Ravens and I will zero. I don’t need to rush since I’ll be taking a break to return home for a visit and the Ravens have to wait for the post office Monday and to give Mama’s feet time to heal. Half a mile into the road walk, a truck stopped on an approach on the far side of the road. A guy asked if I needed water for the road walk. I said sure and walked over to meet them. Turns out they are Jerry Brown of Bear Creek Survey whose maps I’m using and Luddite who maintains the trail in this area. Cool! Then I found $0.26, a flat raccoon, a flat coyote, a syringe, a pair of hemostats, and thousands of beer bottles and cans. Trudging along, a car suddenly screeched to a halt, 2 people hopped out and gave me a bottle of iced coffee–former CDT hikers returning home from Trail Days!