I flew to Albuquerque on Alaska Air, overnighted, then got a little 8 seat Advanced Air flight on a King Air 350 to Silver City. I spent 2 nights in the lovely old Murray Hotel downtown so I could listen in on some CDTC Trail Days talks on Friday, April 21 before heading northbound (NOBO).
4/22/23 16-ish miles
What a hella painful day, I’m in terrible shape and everything hurt. How can my pack weigh so much with just 3 days of food? It got hot and it was so much going up—at least 10 miles! But, I’m so glad to be here. The Gila River Alternate that I’ve hiked 3 times I think starting in 2017 has too much water for safety supposedly. I walked out of Silver City up Little Walnut Road and joined the red line, the official CDT, heading on trail to where it crosses the highway. I guess I’ll try something new. Since I was planning on 2 nights to Doc Campbell’s, I’m going to have to road walk 30 miles of Hwy 15 starting tomorrow. I’m going to stress over water sources, although there’s more water than I’ve ever seen. I guess if all else fails, or just an ankle or knee, I can hitch the highway.
4/23 19 miles
Beautiful day. I met Braveheart on the road. She was leaning against the ditch on the side of the two-lane, bundled in her puffy, napping. She left Silver City at 4 am, walking up Hwy 15, no messing around. She said the Trail Days chatter yesterday (while I was already hiking) confirmed “Don’t do the Gila River Alt” and “everybody” was going to do the 15 to Doc’s—39 miles Silver City to Doc’s.
Anyway the ups were slow and the downs hurt my feet, the usual little toes blackened, left instep activating the callous. At least I didn’t feel like a freak on the road walk and even got trail angel-ed, twice, with water bottle refills. I found a place to camp away from the low traffic highway that dead ends at my destination, Gila Hot Springs.
4/24 12 miles
Maybe because I’d reserved 2 nights at Gila Hot Springs RV Park and was going to zero, I let the pain rule me. My feet killed me, on the 7 mile steep downhill on pavement, I could barely slap my feet down. It got hot but with sparse vegetation, there was no place to change out of my tights and into shorts without risking a public indecency situation. When did I get so PC? (As it turned out, a driver who went by in my direction and camped at the RV Park, apparently mentioned to the camp host all the hikers on the road, including the lady with the long gray braids. I have to get some kind of disguise. Good thing I wasn’t also pantsless.)
I had a lovely encounter at a viewpoint with 2 camouflaged turkey hunters and hiker Serena. It always makes me smile when some random car camper is impressed by us long distance hikers.
Doc’s is wonderful, got my box, bought $72 of food, finally got to sit around and talk hiker talk with other hiker trash.
4/25 Zero miles
Mostly hung around in the back of Doc’s with Fire, Falcon, Snazzy Cat, Aussie and his new pup Waydoe (not spelled right, but it’s another word for gringo), Shit Storm and Ungerwear and going in to buy more snacks off and on. Many did the river (hey Braveheart, “everybody” did not do the road walk). I think I’ll take the High Route to the top of a junction that goes to the bottom (river) where I’ve camped 3 times. I’ve never done the High Route, but my buddies the Ravens took it in 2017 with no reported problems. Then maybe I’ll go down the connecting trail and walk to the river to where it pops out at Snow Lake.
4/26 17 miles
Well just a trail, the High Route. Horseshit, yay! Which meant the blowdowns were cleared. There was one view down into the Gila River canyon to where I camped the last 2 times here. Weird. I don’t miss the water walking but I miss the beauty of the rock walls rising above me.
4/27 15.6 miles
Froze last night! Ice crusted on my tent, a frozen water bottle. I kept waking up cold and adding layers.
I did walk down to the river from the High Route, thinking maybe I’d just cross and walk up to Aeroplane Mesa on the High Route, but I’m tired and coughing and didn’t want to go straight up carrying 2 L of water, so I turned left at the junction. As usual, I hoped to camp before I actually found a flat place. I made it to the campground at Snow Lake where a bunch of us were in ‘21, but nobody else was here. Water taps still off due to freezing temperatures, but TP in the outhouses and garbage bins were available.
I had a peaceful night, no ice either.
4/28 15.3 miles
The headwind today was relentless and cold till 2 pm. I walked up and up, then across a mesa with no trees to break the wind. I needed to eat but couldn’t stop, too cold. I camped early in a nice spot near the dirt road that had only old cow poop. One lonesome cow mooed off and on in the distance as I lay in my tent, trying to find her herd I think.
4/29 16.4 miles
More gravel road walking for 12 miles. Then a cell signal and rocky trail till I camped near a tiny trickle. A few cars, a ranch for sale, and later, a single hiker passed me. Eager Beaver. Warmest day yet, I like it.
4/30 16.9 miles
I took another route I haven’t done before, the Govina Canyon Alternate. I liked it, I saw 3 cow calves, twins and a single, 2 mama cows, and a mellow little bull. I got a cell signal at about 11:30, got a reservation at the Frisco Inn in Reserve, and scheduled a shuttle pickup from Hwy 12 to Reserve—wow, that’s different than before! You’ve always had the very uncertain hitch—took me a really long time in 2017 in a rain storm. Getting this set up made my anxiety over trying to hitch into a town with no idea if there’d be a room, vanish. The next 5 hours of hiking were so much more positive, I need a rest badly. There’s a couple stops ahead that have been there in the past with a shower and laundry but they’re very uncertain this season so far—Davila Ranch and Toaster House. I just want to do laundry in a washing machine for the first time since getting on a plane April 19. Isn’t that weird?
8 thoughts on “CDT New Mexico 2023 Silver City to Reserve”
good for you. enjoy
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Glad you are back on the trail. Headed back to the AT I two weeks. What a wake-up those first few days. It’s always great to hear your antics.
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No thanks on the road walk! You are a beast getting out there and putting in the miles, even in the cold. Sorry you couldn’t be down on the Gila. I know you were looking forward to that. Looking forward to more updates!
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Least I got to some of the Gila, it’s such a unique part of this trail.
Love reading about your hiking and love you. You are one of the most amazing women I know. So glad you’re back out on the trail. Stay safe and healthy.
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Thanks for starting my day. Here in Penngrove CA it’s drizzly with the
hint of rain and thunderstorms later today, tonight and tomorrow. My
friend and walking partner texted me at 6:30am to call off our walk,
I let my dogs out into the back yard for their morning romp and then I
snuggled back in bed with these two 10# mongrels. Boy are they warm.
Keep your email coming. I really enjoy them.
I was so sad whe I saw the dead bird but after I saw your dog and he’s lovely 🙂 That is a very strange place with all the skeletons of animals.