Lordsburg to Silver City, New Mexico

Gray Goose and Tin Man

4/20-22/21 45.4 miles

Turned out to be a surprisingly short section, one less night than when I’ve hiked it before because there is a four mile trail closure for a prescribed burn. There were two suggested alternates on Guthook, one of which required a 35 mile water carry if the not-to-be-counted- on water caches weren’t adequate. Since there are so many more hikers than anticipated (I surmise), I was worried about water caches being depleted. But Tin Man roomed with Radar at the Econolodge in Lordsburg and Radar gave him a better plan. Tin Man passed the word on to other hikers: stay on the CDT to Burro Mountain Homestead RV Park (a mile off trail but known to be hiker friendly offering free water, showers and camping) where the Ravens and I stayed in 2017. Then hike 7 miles to Highway 90 for 11 more to Silver City.

I’d been telling hikers in the first stretch that half a day out of Lordsburg, we’d finally get into trees. And so it was.

After getting to Lordsburg the day before at noon after walking 15 miles, I showered, laundered, ate a burger, drank a couple of beers, and got ready to hike out after a prepackaged Covid breakfast at the Comfort Inn. Love that place! They held a resupply bag for me while I hiked from the border and had a room ready when I asked at noon after walking into town. Right on. Rode the elevator up with a couple of youngish unmasked (against hotel requirements) guys from El Paso. I hesitated when I saw them as they held the door for me. Then said, “The hell with it, I’m vaxed,” One laughed and said, “So are we!” All of us joyful. I asked where they were working, they asked where I was from. The usual reaction that Puff Puff imitates so well, “ Alaska?!”

It was a good day out of Lordsburg into the trees. Tons of hikers: Tex and No Keys, OT (Old Timer, a Viet Nam vet and straight up believer in the Lord) and Jacobi, Cake and So Good, Bedbug, IBTAT (I think, guy with a camera I’ve been leapfrogging with—amazing photos and I’m now following him on Instagram), Gray Goose and my now buddy and fellow OG Tin Man. As I remembered from the two times I’ve done it before, it’s basically all uphill for 16-17 miles.

Dead cow
Resting in the shade
Cow pie cairn

We all gathered like Water Buffalo at the first and only water source, the Engineer’s Windmill, getting water out of the cow trough and sitting in the shade, the first big shade since the beginning of the CDT. As we sat, a cow and calf began lapping up water. As I walked on, I saw a herd of cows and calves near the trough. The next day I heard that hikers just a couple of hours behind us found the trough empty, the pump broken and no water at all in the tall water tank. Some hikers posted comments on the Guthook App. The CDTC follows and uses the comments for their water report so I’m hopeful they were able to contact the rancher so he could get water to the herd. Poor mamas, poor babies.

At about 5:30, Gray Goose, Tin Man and I pitched our tents in a shaded, wind protected, sandy bottomed little campsite.

The next day I caught up to them at a trail angel set up after 11 miles or so, around noon. Solo cooked hot dogs, had fresh fruit and cold sodas. She was camped in her van and was so happy to help us all out. Outstanding day brightener! I knew there was going to be quite some climbing and elevation gain up to Burro Mountain and it was getting hot.

Since the last time I was here, a new section of trail has been built, something the Guthook guide has not incorporated into the map, but it was well built and well blazed and eventually hooked into the trail I knew. At the top I found OT, Jacobi and Tin Man! I followed them downhill on slippery, sandy and gravelly trail, taking my time so I didn’t go ass over teakettle as is my wont. At the junction off trail to Burro Mountain Homestead RV Park, they waited so I wouldn’t miss the turn off. Of course I wouldn’t, and was probably kind of overly sensitive about that. I thanked them and on the way down felt I should explain or apologize, something. Why can’t I just assume men would do the same for another guy hiker, that it has nothing to do with me being a long lived female?

Burro Peak view

Anyhow, on the deck was a wonderful pile of hiker trash. I’m so happy to be out here! Tex, No Keys, Cave Man. Gray Goose greeted me, Tin Man, OT and Jacobi. Already pitched behind the bathhouse was Beth and John. It was quiet before dark, even though No No and another hiker came in just before. Free showers, close camping, deer browsing amongst our tents. A beautiful restful night.

Day 3 we trickled up and out on dirt roads towards the highway. At the junction we started the trudge on paved highway. About 4 miles before town, most of us stopped at a burrito place. I had a bacon, egg and red sauce burrito—absolutely divine. We had to stand in the drive thru lane behind cars, then eat in the dirt and shade of a tree across the lane.

There are so many hikers that when I called the Triple Crown Hostel, they were full. I had a reservation for the next night, but was getting to town a day early because of the fire closure and reroute. No problem, my favorite cheap motel, Copper Manor, had room. But I’ve been traipsing along with Warriors and a former Warrior and current adhoc Warrior supporter. They’re staying at an in town RV park with a few cabins or trailers for rent. So I’m sharing a trailer with another hiker for a zero and got to eat dinner with vet and Warrior Expedition on the ground coordinator Michele and her totally delightful daughter Payton. Oh also some guys, Gray Goose, Caveman, Tin Man.

Getting ready to hike Hwy 90

It’s been a unique experience, not just on the trail, but in life, to spend quality time with vets. I love our discussions about military history. I listen in to their detailed and technical discussions about guns and other weaponry. I am taken by their honesty, why they joined, what they have done after getting out.

Where else but at a brewery?
Silver City Visitor Center

CDT Crazy Cook Monument to Lordsburg, New Mexico

4/15-19/21 84 miles (4 nights)

The road to the CDT monument at the border is much improved from 2017 when I rode out with the Ravens. Dion (Buddy Backpacker’s dad) of Crazy Cook Shuttles picked up me and 2 other hikers at 6 am. I think I was hiking by 9 am, planning to camp at Water Cache #1, like we did last time, after about 14 miles.

One of my goals in hiking this hellish stretch again was to learn from my mistakes. Day 1, I made three mistakes, but one I fixed, and another was kind of fortuitous. The first mistake was leaving my sandwich in the motel refer. The second was forgetting to test my Guthook map app. Duh. Couldn’t find my little GOS arrow on the map. Asked another hiker, problem solved. The third was when I set up camp and realized I’d packed the wrong sleeping pad, a Big Agnes that is divinely comfortable but heavy and bulky. But I hydrated like crazy all day and felt fine. Way different than 2017.

Super windy camping at Water Cache #1, with a bunch of people including a group from Warrior Expeditions, combat vets. Way more hikers this year but still fewer than the 50 that start the PCT each day.

From Water Cache #1, I took the gravel road rather than climbing back up to the “red route” in Guthook that goes post to post. It was simple, tedious, but reasonably quick walking. I felt better today—exhausted from carrying 5L of water from MP 25.2 to a beautiful, sandy dry campsite.

Day 3 I felt even better, walked a ways with retirees Beth and John that I met the first day. They’ve biked the trail and Baja and other cool places, this is their first long distance hike though. It’s especially nice to have another woman in my general age range out here, women are definitely in the minority in the wave of hikers I find myself in. It’s easier walking today, but that means monotonous. So people at water sources are a big excitement: Kyle, Tinman, Grey Goose, Jazz Hands and trail angel Cheshire Cat and his dog Stella Blue (I got a banana!). After yesterday’s water haul to camp, I decided to call it a day at a water source after 18.5 miles, another short day of walking just 7 am to 4 pm. It’s more or less dark at 8:30 pm.

The last night I camped with 15 miles left to Lordsburg as planned. What I didn’t anticipate was how quickly those miles went when you’re not suffering from heat exhaustion and have another hiker to chat with! Made it to my hotel by noon and got early check in, sweet!

The whole stretch has been so much cooler than last time, breezy and just lower temperatures. I’ve used my sun reflecting umbrella for shade several times but not constantly. So glad I made this section in good shape! I won’t need to zero, I’ll just get my burger and beer and head out in the morning.

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2021 really?

CDT 2021 what?

Wow, what? So I was planning the Arizona Trail (AZT) starting mid March, 800 miles or 2 months but then the wonderful USASA Series Directors in Mt Hood, Ali and Leslee, decided to host a Regional championship for Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Washington in early April, so after going to that, I’ve got a month to hike till I have to be back in AK. Watching my Facebook feeds, I jumped on a shuttle reservation to the CDT start at the border of Mexico and New Mexico April 15. It’s a few hours on bumpy dirt roads from Lordsburg. Not only am I pandemic crazy, I’m masochistic. I’ve done the CDT from the border. The first 85 miles to Lordsburg sucks! No shade, reliant on water caches, I got heat exhaustion but didn’t realize it. But, maybe I can learn from my mistakes and do it better. And, maybe getting on the trail for a month will help heal me. I’m vaxed, but traumatized as we all are from the pandemic isolation and paranoia and anxiety. Combined with being ancient, I hyperventilate over every weird new physical, emotional, or psychic symptom. Is it aging or illness or anxiety?

Team Big AK at Mt Hood (I’m in there)


The USASA Pacific Northwest Regional Championship was a blast!

Flew back to Alaska to change out my snowboard gear for my hiking stuff, then flew to El Paso for a night. Uber to the Greyhound, 3 hour bus ride to Lordsburg, NM, and I have a bumpy shuttle plus water cache lined up for tomorrow. Last time I did this, the Ravens and I were together and met the other 5 hikers who started that day in including Dassie (read her book!), Burning Calves, and Johnny who became German Mormon up the trail. I hope to meet and hike with more great characters this year. Yeah I solo happily but I actually really love company on the trail. For it to work, we have to compromise and adapt to other people’s hiking style, a satisfying challenge. Hiking friendships and partnerships that form on the trail are fascinating too. Me and Puff Puff, Trooper and German Mormon, Nuthatch and Party Saver, AJ and Dassie (buy her book!), and many others.