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.
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?
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.
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.