CDT Day 18

23.9 miles hiked, staying in Pie Town!
It was a cold tossing and turning windy night. I haven’t been taking my magnesium powder at night and my legs have started cramping horribly so I really really need to get on top of that. Oops. Sometimes things are just really hard to do at night time.
I continue the descent down down down the hill, stopping for some water from a pond and ending up in the sunlight on a road where the trail flattens out.
I’m keenly looking at the trail in front of me, listening to more podcasts and daydreaming when I see some wolf-ish tracks. I check my handy little guide and they are not wolf-ish, it’s definitely wolf! So exciting  – whoever this guy is, he was just strolling along the CDT all night long.  The tracks look fresh (but I actually am clueless about how to determine that), and I wonder when the wolf was here – maybe Slip saw it when hiking yesterday?  Then I see some of Slips tracks UNDERNEATH the wolf tracks! Freaking awesome! Depending on how far Slip got yesterday, this wolf could be really close!  I keep my eyes peeled, staring down the road and hoping I see something cool.  The usual lizards, a few bunnies, but no wolves 🙁  The tracks continue for so long!
Today’s water is from a windmill that aparently we can turn on by opening a breaker box. The box is now nailed shut, so I guess they got sick of hikers taking water. The tank is still pretty full, and although there is a fair amount of algae it is pretty clear, so I sit myself down and start filtering. Then I notice that there is a power outlet on the outside of the breaker box! WOOHOO! I charge up my phone while sitting there and manage to nab an extra 20%. These are the amazing things that excite hikers! This means music and podcasts for the rest of the road walk. YAY!
There is an animal refuge that has an esky out the front with a few gallons of water for CDT hikers and bikers. Oh yes, bikers. This section crosses over with the Continental Divide bike trail, that my friend Alex has just started from Banff! I grab a litre, leave little thank you note, and get out of there quickly as there is a sign asking us not to loiter too long as it stresses out the dogs. No worries! And thank you! Hooray for thoughtful kind people!!!
A bit more road and then houses start appearing! YAY Pie Town. Behind my knee starts doing something strange. Twanging painfully. This is new. This is no bueno. I think it just needs some good stretching so I vow to stretch it well as soon as I get to Pie Town if it will stop hurting now please. It kinda listens.
There is no question when I have finally arrived at the Toaster house – a house literally surrounded by decorative toasters! It is owned by an awesome lady named Nita who leaves the house open for hikers and bikers to drop in. We can send packages there, sleep there, shower there, laundry there, and generally hang there. Thank you Nita! There is no one around when I arrive, so I put on a tape (yes! A cassette tape!) of the Big chill soundtrack and entertain myself singing along and dancing around while eating bits and pieces from the hiker box (thank you awesome vegan from the past who left a vegan brownie protein bar there!) and reading and writing in the register. Then there is shower!!! and laundry!!! and I’m wearing very strange loaner clothes.
There is a fridge out the back stocked with beer, there are frozen pizzas in the freezer, then Slip and a young cyclist appear so we drink a beer and chat. I cook up 2 dinners (ramen and the rest of my alpine aire dinner) and absolutely feast. 2 dinners! Hot dinners! Nom nom nom.
It’s dark now, but we wander up the road to the restaurant where there is wifi. After trying for a while we finally figure out the password (Slip was there earlier in the day) so that I can call my Nan on skype. So good to hear her voice and all her news 🙂
Wandering back down the dark dark cold road the stars are epic tonight. Just beautiful. I snuggle up in my quilt on a mattress on the floor, and look forward to a draft-free sleep with a full full belly.

CDT Day 17

21.9 miles hiked, camping at 8937ft
It’s 5.8 miles to the water this morning, then the hwy to Reserve is just past that.  I’m determined to make good time so I can get in and out and still make it to Pie Town by the end of tomorrow.
I’m on a mission, marching along, and as per usual miss my turn. GAH. Backtrack, turn off trail, keep going.
Up over a hill, down across a field and to a dirt road that connects up to a water tank. YAY I get there before dehydrating! Except EWWW. The water reminds me of slimer from Ghostbusters, or that green slime from Nickelodeon. Really really blergh. There is a little trough with a lid and I lift it to see if maybe there is fresher, clearer water in there. AAAAH!  There is a bird in there! The heavy lid slams shut and I immediately feel terrible as I hope I didn’t bonk the bird on the head. How did he get in there???
I slowly open the lid again and the bird jumps to the edge. Was he stuck? Was he meant to be there? He is really unsteady on his feet and sits on the edge for a while before flopping of and then fluttering a short distance away. Poor birdy!
I don’t even filter the water, I walk to the hwy and cross fingers and toes I get a fast hitch to town so I don’t have to drink it! Just as I’m closing the gate between the trail / hwy I see a car round the corner. I’m not even at the roadside yet but stick my thumb out just in case as it’s known as a hard hitch. The car pulls over!!! Amazing awesome hitching luck. The awesome Robert has water for me in the car and we chat on the drive (it’s quite a while away). He just finishes saying how he never picks up hitchers when we see someone else on the side of the road who puts out his thumb. Robert pulls over, picks him up and our motley crew drives into Reserve.
Ellas is the place that has been recommended, but it’s the wrong day and they are closed!!! I wander down the road instead and end up at a place that is not my place. I scoff some toast and some potatoes, and try not to look at the wall of death on the side  – photos of trophy hunters with their destruction of beautiful animals on display. I need to be out of here.
At the main store I find a few more things to eat, sign their wall of thru-hiker fame (for which they exchange a 5% discount on my purchases! So cool!) , and perch myself outside on a bench and use their wifi until my phone dies. The important emails have been sent, stress levels decreased slightly, now to high tail it to Pie Town. I empty out the slime water, and refill with something actually drinkable and then amazing hitching luck strikes again! I’m not even on the side of the road when 2 dudes in a rusty old pickup offer a ride. YAY! Anther guy named Robert, the other named Norman. We make a quick stop on the way and pick up Robert’s dog Cowboy (a cute chihuahua) and the four of us ride back to the divide.
I have some sugary pink lemonade sweet tea that I picked up at the store, and bounce along the trail on a sugar high. Another dirt road, another afternoon of podcasts 🙂
There is a long ascent ultimately taking the trail past the Magnus fire tower lookout. I’m excited to see it and the view from the top!
I don’t realise how late it is and when I get there the tower is locked!! There is a little house for the ranger and the car is there, but no one seems to be about. Bugger.
It’s really high up here (9700ft) and wiiiiiiiiiindy so I make the decision to hike as fast as I can to go down as much altitude as I can in the hopes of less wind, more warmth, and better sleep.
The light disappears fast and I find a place that is sheltered-ish just off the winding trail.  I make wishes for no visits from animals during the night, close my eyes and disappear for the night.

CDT Day 16

20.6 miles hiked, camping at 7346ft
GROOOF. OOF. AOOOOO. Poor elk hasn’t found her friends! She’s still calling out, for which I am grateful as I didn’t hear my alarm. Or I did and I ignored it. I can’t remember.
So I’m up late which wasn’t my plan as I really don’t like camping in places visible from the road.
I left myself a little climb this morning to the official end of the Gila alternate. It rejoins the official CDT which went on a tour of the Black Ranges to the East, generally a less popular route.
I’m immersed in my podcast world and am on the official route for no more than a mile when I realise I’ve already missed my turn. BOOOO. Backtrack up a hill and see easily where it left the road and entered bushwhacking land.
The trail is up and down and up and down today. Water is scarce so I have to pay attention to make sure I get my water sources.
I arrive at what is described as a “small mucky pond” (doesn’t that just get you salivating) and dump my pack for lunch. I’m resting under a tree, filtering my water when I see something strange… A hiker. Not just a hiker, what looks like a Thru-Hiker!
I call out “helllloooooo?”.  He wanders over. “Are you a real life thru-hiker?” I know already he is by his brand of pack. “Yes!” he says. “When did you start? Where did you come from?”.  He is Slip. He started before me and has been in the mysterious Black Ranges to the East.
I finish filtering and collect my things. We hike and chat together for the rest of the hot afternoon, and manage to make our way through a difficult navigation of cross country following blazed trees and cairns. We get to trade stories of how hard the hike is.  Hooray for the ears of someone who understands. We see an elk! And a baby elk! Yay elk!
At the bottom of a large hill we find some flat ground and call it a night. We chat while eating things, although my eating is minimal as I have almost run out of food. My drinking is minimal as I have almost run out of water. This seems to happen more often than not – I always seem to run out of water before bed which is making my legs all crampy and sleepy not awesome. It is 2 days ’til pie town, which can either be a miserable hungry 2 days, or I can hitch into the town of Reserve tomorrow morning and get some extra things. I’m a bit stressed as I have to send some emails and haven’t had service for a while and I can sort that out in Reserve too. So decision made – I’ll get up early, hike to the hwy and get there for breakfast.
We chat about the trail, and how in many ways it hasn’t been what we expected. It’s a tough trail, made tougher by water scarcity, made even tougher by no sympathetic ears on our journeys, no awesome souls to share our excitement.  How interesting that one of my biggest concerns for the PCT was that I wouldn’t make any friends, that I wouldn’t find my people on the trail. The PCT ended up introducing me to some of my favourite people on this planet. And here I am on the CDT where I didn’t give that a second thought, I’ve been hiking solo for all except 1.5 days and it has ended up being one of the toughest parts about the trail.
Time for some good reflection and figuring out how to make the trail awesome.  Sleep fixes everything, right?

CDT Day 15

23.8 miles hiked, stealth camping roadside at 8061ft
I’m up and out early, keen to wipe the yuckyness of yesterday’s encounters from my skin.  It really was a cold night and there is silver frost hugging all the little blades of grass around me.
It’s road walking to start the day  – I collect more water from the spigot and am off.
It doesn’t take long to warm up and I do the annoying stop-and-remove-layers dance. The trail veers off the track in into a proper trail following a stream through a canyon.  It’s pretty crosses side to side of the stream which appears and disappears underground. A little stream off a pond is the next water and then up into a great high walk with nothing around. Big fields of blonde grass wave in the strong wind, and sparse trees with little bits of shade lure me off the trail regularly for moments of respite from the sun.
I spy some coloured splotches on the trail up ahead, which turn into humans as I get closer. They have clearly seen me and are waiting to say hello.  They are an older trio out for the weekend to do some wolf watching! They come out each year for a few weekends as there is a wolf den in the hills around the area.  We have a nice chat, she shows me some cool tracking charts which I photograph so I know what I am following. I love seeing animal tracks and trying to figure out the story of who is on the path in front of me. Every night it seems that the trail turns into an animal party and every morning I try and reconstruct the narrative from their tracks. Now I have something to help my inaccurate assumptions.  I assure them I will keep my eyes peeled and email them if anything exciting happens!
The trail is now following roads for the rest of the day. It leaves the high open fields and winds in through some pine trees. Lots of podcasts (Rich Roll is my podcast of choice! I stockpiled his podcasts through the year so I can listen on the trail. Did the same thing on the PCT last year!)  help pass the time and my mind wanders along with the stories and expands with new ideas and inspiration.
Some lovely national park service employees stop and offer me a litre of water which I gratefully accept.  My next source is in a few miles and is actually a nice little stream that flows alongside the road, except that it has been trampled by a zillion cows and is full of poop and cow tracks.  I manage to find a non-cowed place to refill from and put in a few more miles.  The road is winding up and up in elevation, going around curves as the canyon narrows around the road, the ground turns from dust and pine needles to grass.
I round one corner and as I look straight ahead down the road I see a huge beautiful white shaggy beast walking through the trees. WOLF! A freaking WOLF!  Amaaaaaazing!!! I try to walk quietly so I can see it better, but I am loud, and the wolf is fast. I hang around the area, camera in hand trying to capture a look. Although I know wolves aren’t really a threat to humans, I don’t want to seem like a predator so don’t hang around too long. How bloody cool. The people that were actually out to look for the wolves had no luck, and here I am on a much busier road, in a seemingly less likely place and I manage to see one. So lucky. So excited 🙂
I find a little stealthy spot with as much wind protection as I can, and get ready for sleep. I hear a clambering on the hill above me then hear the yell of an elk!  I’m pretty sure it’s an elk. It has the same other-worldly quality as a bugling elk (but not bugling).  I feel bad as I imagine he/ she is calling out to his/ her friends. Maybe she’s lost?  Poor elk. Maybe she’ll find them in the night.

CDT Day 14

Hiked 21.7 miles, camped at Dipping Vat Campground 7359ft
Good morning world!  Oof I don’t think I’ll ever get used to these cold mornings and cold wet feet. I think this is my last day of feet into wet shoes! Rejoice!  My feet are really not happy with me and are all white and soggy, with weird new blisters in weird new places.
More crossings, more towering canyon, but the canyon seems not to be towering as high and is getting gradually less dramatic. There is a Gila high route that crosses the normal route, so I take a chance and hike up the steep steep hill to make my feet happier. I’m hoping for some cool new views from the top!
The top really is just a big open plain – it looks so sparse compared to the richness below! I immediately feel the heat without the shade and water around me and am glad I hauled a whole bunch of water to the top.
A turkey runs across my path with a gobble, and I see a bunch of bear scat around.  My feet are feeling warmer and aren’t as sad!
I miss the Gila already, but I know my feet will be torn to shreds if they stayed wet much longer. Like my rain pants.
The trail exits onto a dirt road where there is a horse corral and a few horsey people camped. I pass them all and hike down the road when I become aware of a truck behind me so I get onto the side of the road right out of their way.  They slow right down, which isn’t unusual – usually to say hi, or maybe even to enquire about the hike. There are two youngish dudes in the car and immediately I get uber creepy vibes. They stare at me out the window – “Hi. How’s it going?” I offer. They just look and drive slowly then take off in front of me. Holy creepy vibes batman. Blergh blergh blergh.  I hike fast and hide in some trees when I need to add water to my dinner to cold soak it so it will be ready when I camp.  I look at the map and I’ll easily rejoin the normal Gila trail, and I decide that once I do I will back track about .6 miles to an official campground instead of stealth camping somewhere along the road. Official campgrounds can be home to some super creepies too, but I decide I’d rather have a bunch of people around me then risk running into the creepy dudes in creepy black pickup again. There’s also the benefit of running water at the campsite.
The light is fading and I scare some poor deer away from a field as I am going cross country towards to campground- sorry guys.  I feel like I’ve ruined their party. I find the flattest spot I can right next to a picnic table and set my stuff up. A family walks past with 2 uber evil looking dogs. I love dogs. These are something else. “Don’t talk to them… they don’t really like people” says the person on the end of one of the leashes. Awesome.  I’d still rather deal with evil dogs than creepy dudes.
Creepy vibes have faded and I brace myself for a cold night – the wind has picked up, the moon is full and bright and it’s going to be a chilly one! Turkeys are gobble gobbling in the distance and I can’t help but giggle. Memories of my Mum making her ridiculous gobble gobble in response to our own pet turkeys flood my mind, I gobble gobble back at them across the lake as I fall asleep.

CDT Day 13

15.5 miles hiked, camped in the Meadows on the Gila middle fork alternate
It’s still cold when I open my eyes, but at least I’m able to lie in bed in denial for a while as the dwellings don’t open till 9am.
It’s grey and cold outside and once I’ve finally sat up, shoveled some granola in and put on all my layers I peek out from my tent to assess the other campers around me who assembled during the night.
As I’m walking back from the loo (actual pit toilets! Luxury! No cat hole digging this morning!) a lady asks if I’m thru hiking. We get chatting and it turns out she hiked the CDT 13 years ago!!! That’s seriously badass. No cushy apps and smartphones to tell you where to go, no facebook groups to answer your questions, not even internet sites to help! Just a bunch of maps, a chunk of creativity piecing trail and road walks together, and equal amounts crazy and courage. She stayed with Nita who owns the Toaster House (where I’ll likely stay in Pie Town) – she was taking in hikers back then too!
The Gila Cliff Dwellings is a “National Monument” (a protected area) with the main site being 5 natural caves in the mountainside that were converted into about 46 rooms around 1200-1300 by the Mogollon people.  The mountains around the area form lots of little alcoves and caves naturally, and I get excited everytime I see a little nook  – “could that be a home???”. I want to be an explorer and discover a hidden cave. Hiking through the canyons with these caves above makes the mountains feel like they have eyes- not in a creepy way, but in a “I am so small in the context of history and these mountains have seen so much” kind of way.


The visit is a mile loop with a little information room at the front. I spent a lot of time talking to the volunteers at the site – each one really interested in my hike and I’m really interested in their jobs! It’s really cool to add this little snippet of history into the hike.

I get the latest weather information from the guides as I am not keen on getting stuck in more lightning.  There is only a 50% chance of rain this afternoon, so I have a good little window to make it into the middle fork of the Gila River, which they say is the most impressive route of the area. I march on and down through a canyon to join the middle fork – bumping into some horse riders in the process who have lost their dogs 🙁  I keep my eyes peeled – poor things got freaked out by the storm and took off. I finally arrive in the middle fork…  it doesn’t disappoint. Huge towering canyon with giant pillars staring down at me. I’m in a cathedral with equal amounts saints and gargoyles staring at me. These mountains definitely have eyes. So so tall, I crane my neck to look and my camera gets nowhere near to capturing what surrounds me.  I soak it in instead. You’ll just have to come hike it for yourself.


Lots more river crossings, but the river isn’t as deep in this section. Still more scratchies, but not as tall and thick. It starts to get warm and I think about what silver linings there were with the last couple of days being so cold and stormy. For one, I didn’t have to look out for snake——RATTLE RATTLE RATTLE! As soon as that thought enters my mind I jump in the air like a cartoon as a giant snake lets me know I’m way too close and to please back off. Actually he’s not saying please – he’s waving around telling me to p*ss off in no uncertain terms.

Walking through is not just a physical effort but mentally taxing. Look for trail, is that the trail?, I see a cairn, ouch ouch scratch, eeeps scary looking three leafed plant, is that poison ivy?, poison oak?, must remember to look that up again, splish splash, SNAKE!, are those dog tracks?, a WOLF track!, where is the best place to cross, oops went too far and now I’m stuck, climb down or backtrack?, splash splash splash, don’t slip!, photo!, that photo sucks, better photo!, splash, where’s the trail?

Heeeeellllooooo hot springs! The horsey people are enjoying lunch next to the jordan hot springs and the water is so beautifully clear. I strip down to my underwear, only self conscious for about .2 of a second as I step in and feel my muscles say “thankyouuuuuuuu!”. Not a super hot hot spring, more like a nice warm bath which is just lovely.  I soak for about 20 minutes and then see some clouds moving in so I jump out so I can dry before it gets cold. Even thought the water is only warm, it’s cooooooold when I get out!

I march on for a little while, playing leapfrog with a section hiker who seems determined to stay in front of me even though it’s evident that I’m walking faster. An annoying driver who is going just under the speed limit, forcing you to pass them only to have them speed up again as soon as you are in front.

I’m a bit worried about where I’ll be camping as the banks are covered with scratchy scratchies, then I arrive in the area called the meadows with soft grass (boo for condensation, yay for comfy under my mat) and call it a night.

CDT Day 12

15.6 miles hiked,  camping at Upper Scorpion Campground 5741ft
I don’t wanna get up. It’s cloudy but not rainy which is good, but the squelching of dry feet into wet shoes is a special kind of torture.
20 more river crossings and 7.6 miles to Doc Campbells. The sun teases and plays peek-a-boo for a while, ultimately hiding behind the clouds. I think I’m getting the hang of this section as there are some cairns marking the trail along the way…but sometimes there are none. It’s pretty cold and I keep moving to keep warm and also to make it to Doc’s before any more rain hits.
Finally I see a bridge ahead and a road! A little road walk up to the outpost – Doc Campbells is a little gas/ convenience/ everything kinda store. They accept hiker boxes so I have a box full of yummy new food to eat.
I’m still so wet and cold. I explode all my things across a table at the back, plug my chargeables into the wall, empty all my pockets of all the little bits of rubbish that have accumulated. My box is inside and I pay my $3 to Doc plus grab a bag of chips and a cup of black coffee. A bag of chips a day keeps the hypothermia away.
I sit at the table staring into the ether. My brain too cold and tired to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing. I just want to curl up on the floor inside the store and have a nap. They won’t mind,  right?
A tiny spark of sun and I snap to attention. I take the opportunity to hang everything on the little railings out the back- my tarp, my ‘groundsheet’ (what tiny bits of it are left. I am not a fan of polycro!), sleeping bag, socks, gaiters. Hopefully tonight I will sleep inside dry things. I chat to people who are letting their dogs out of cars and munching on icecream.  I have another half cup of coffee (not awesome but waaaarm).
There is a shower available for a fee but I have nothing clean or dry to put on, and only a bandana to dry myself with so that dream fades away.
Eventually I manage to stuff my food into my pack, collect everything which is now 90% dry and start the 4 mile road walk to the Gila cliff dwellings.
I’m so excited by the dwellings, but they close whenever there is lightning. Just as I step onto the road from Doc Campbells there is a huge clap of thunder and it starts to rain. I’ve got my raincoat and newly mended  (duct taped) rainpants on so not too worried. But then it starts falling harder and harder. It gets cold and the rain turns to hail, which turns into marble sized hail that is falling hard and fast and really stings!!!
My mending job fails miserably and the tape falls right off leaving one cold cold leg and one just cold leg. I hide under a small inadequate tree on the side of the road and am stuck there for about half an hour while the hail continues to attack. Eventually I creep out and make a run for it to the visitors centre- literally running down the road because by this stage I’m freezing! I step inside and they tell me the bad news that the dwellings are shut and probably won’t reopen today. I linger inside in the warmth and look at the displays, and settle for the poor substitute of the video about the dwellings instead of the real thing.
I’m torn about what to do. It’s still really early in the day (4pm) but I want to see the dwellings and I won’t be hiking back down in the Gila while there is lightning. I decide to walk the couple of miles to the upper scorpion campground right next to the dwellings and set up for the night. It’s already freezing and I take my time finding the perfect flat spot so I don’t turn into a waterslide (complete with fun blowup mattress) during the night.
I huddle in all my clothes in my quilt eating handfuls of things to stay warm. My body immediately goes into EAT ALL THE FOOD mode when it gets cold. Did I factor in enough food to eat this much? Was I supposed to buy more at the store? I only half care – future Snakebite can figure that out.
Past Snakebite had the genius idea of downloading episodes of Gilmore Girls onto my phone, so I spend the next couple of shivering hours eating things and watching the Lorelais in their fabulous little world, before fading into a coooold sleep.

CDT Day 11

Mile 30.8 Gila alternate, camping at 5433ft
All night long I’ve had bears and lions and coyotes having a dance party around my bed. It was one of those nights where every snap crackle and pop is a bunyip and me having every nerve standing on end is the thing that will save me.
Of course that’s complete codswallop and when I finally stop staring at the pine trees and ever lightening sky above me I realise that for once in my late-night light-challenged campsite choosing career, I’ve actually chosen a stellar one. If only I’d known that I had a pretty bear-proof setup I may have slept better.
There were actually a few coyotes yip yipping to each other through the night…I really need to remember to look up “are coyotes mean”. It’ll sit nicely alongside my google searches of “what to do if you see a grizzly”, “how not to become a mountain lion chew toy”, and “best vegan chocolate cake recipe” – the last one having nothing to do with anything except it’s a fairly regular search of mine.
I find my water and it takes a while to scoop out and filter, then it’s hikety hike time. The morning has some clouds moving in and out;
 I enjoy the chance to hike without my hat so I can stare up at the trees while my vision isn’t limited. Another water source, another break. Eat a few things, drink a few electrolytes, hike a few miles.
The trail meanders along happily through the trees and along a dirt track then starts to descend to the Gila river. It’s one of those descents that looks like it should take 20min but takes an hour. As I’m nearing the bottom the sky starts spitting at me. No worries, it’s warm and it’ll pass. I’m finally at the bottom (hooray my ankle says!), I find a little spot to sit for lunch and it starts spitting a bit more. I quickly fetch some water, take out everything from my pack, line it with a rubbish bag, put it all back in, put a bag over the top and the sky absolutely explodes.
Huge thunder and flashes of lightning. I’ve got my raincoat on and dig out my rain pants. I’m huddled under a tree (I know not the best place during lightning but I’m not sitting in the open!) and wrap my useless shredded polycro groundsheet around me because all of a sudden the temperature has dropped dramatically and it is freeeeezing.
I’m stuck there for about an hour and the rain finally eases off a bit so I start moving. I need to move to get some warmth into me!
The ‘trail’ follows the Gila river through a deep canyon. The basic idea is just to follow along as best you can jumping from one bank to the other when the one you’re on turns ito cliff face. In between there is a lot of bushwhacking, getting scratched by all the scratchy things, climbing over rocks and boulders, ducking under trees, clambering over fallen logs and walking through gravelly wash. Oh and of course wading through the water and trying not to fall over or get swept away.
Due to the rain the water is flowing pretty fast and it covers my whole leg in some places. I have to find more trees and rocks and things to huddle under as more thunder and lightning roll through a few more times.
It’s exhausting, very slow going, yet quite exciting. It’s more of the ‘choose your own adventure’ part of the CDT that I’m really enjoying. There’s no dozing and just plugging away at miles (although there’s plenty of that on the road walks). It’s a puzzle that you have to solve with every step.
My rain pants rip up to the knee and the water is filling them up like sails that are trying to send me downstream.
42 river crossings later it’s time to call it a day It’s tricky finding camping spots in amongst the jungle, but I eventually find one and set up just in time for the rain to start again.
I’m completely wet and soggy and go to sleep crossing fingers for sunshine and rainbows.

CDT Day 10

Mile 13 gila alternate. Too tired to calculate miles from border. Camping at 7464ft.
I un-explode (de-explode?) my pack of all my things which have made it to every corner of my mini hotel room.
Yesterday I learnt breakfast is boring cheap hotel fare, so today I kick those English muffins up a notch Aussie-style with my tube of vegemite and an avocado. Every thru-hiker worth her salt has both in her arsenal. Boom.
I head to the post office, drop off some things in the hiker box at the visitor’s centre then I’m on my way.
This morning it’s an exciting road walk out of town. I get a high five from a local who is excited about my hike! Woohoo! I get an offer of a ride from an old dude who doesnt understand why I wamt to walk 😉 Silver city- seriously awesome people.
The road walk doesn’t last too long and soon I’m in the land of trees and trails, of rocks and lizards, ups and downs,  this ways and that ways.
Some gorgeous red and brown rock formations appear and suddenly it’s all looking a lot more interesting! I get a few pretty vantage points to look out across the valley with beautiful rocks jutting out from the mountainside. They are the kind of rocks that make me hear pan pipes and a young girl calling for “Miranda! MIRAAAANDA!”. Alas Miranda is still not to be found, I have discovered no parallel worlds by walking in and around the rocks, so I march on.
Something amazing happens. There is water. Actual flowing water!!!  No cows to shoo away, no mud aftertaste, still a nice mix of floaters to spice things up, but hooray!
It’s some good climbing today! The perfect mix of ups and downs that gets the heart racing and endorphins flowing. There’s a cheeky steep climb to mark the end of my day and I’m treated to a pretty sunset over the hills, painting the pine trees in honeyed light.
My destination is a water source….which I can’t find as the light is fast disappearing. I’ll get it in the am. I find a terrible spot to cowboy in a very beary looking location and fall asleep making invisiblity cloak (from the bears of course) wishes on the stars.

CDT Day 9

Silver City – Zero miles!

A perfect zero (a zero is zero miles hiked). I sleep in, do laundry, pick up my spot, get a bunch of wry smiles at my multicolour leggings and fluffy boofy clean hair. I wifi hop around town to catch up on emails and blogging, buy lunch at the co-op (such good resupply food!), sip coffee and listen to the insanely good voice of Barb at the Yankie Corner coffee house, indulge in amber ale and sweet potato fries at the Little Toad Brewery (a brewery named for meee! Toad is one of my lesser-known nicknames).

Watch out Silver City - hikertrash comin atchya
Watch out Silver City – hikertrash comin atchya


Commemoration of returned SPOT (YAY!), clean fluffy boofy hair, and behind me Madam Millie- Silver City's celebrated brothel madam 😉
Commemoration of returned SPOT (YAY!), clean fluffy boofy hair, and behind me Madam Millie- Silver City’s celebrated brothel madam 😉😂


Yummy amber
Yummy amber

The buildings of Silver City are so cute, the people so so friendly and welcoming, and the walls decorated with bright colours and murals. All good things within walking distance – everything you want a trail town to be!

Tomorrow is post office and hiking on! To Canada!