I’m awake I’m awake. I don’t know how my alarm manages to sound so insistent. I’m keen to get a wriggle on the rest of the 3 mile climb up burro peak so pack up and move along.
I enjoy the climb, the rock hopping, the views to the desert below. It’s overcast so not too hot. The terrain changes with each step upwards. The spikey stabby desert morphs into pine needle-y forest and I love it! Different plant smells waft in and out and I’m constantly taken back to the PCT where I first smelled all these smells. I hope that doesn’t continue, because although I absolutely love the PCT and love being reminded of it, the CDT is its own special world and deserves its own memory triggers for the future. I’m also missing my trail family hard as I adjust to this solo hiking world I’m in.
I come around a corner and a big shaggy brown furry bum galumphs off in front of me. BEAR!!! She (he?) is so gorgeous! I yell out hello and watch for a good 15 seconds as she runs away further down the track. I just want a cuddle!!! My longest bear encounter yet.
I turn on my music on my phone and set it to speaker so I don’t startle any more bears coming around corners.
The water is off on a parallel track and I have to backtrack to find it. Officially the murkiest mankiest water so far. I grab 2L even though it smells like mud. Mmm nom nom.
Somehow I miss my trail turnoff, but I hate backtracking so decide to be ‘clever’ and take the next turn off…bad idea.
I come to a fenced off private area where I thought there should be road access amd water. There is neither. No biggie…I’ll just follow the fence line cross country and meet up with the trail. Except the fence goes up and down and up and down and is generally a bazillion times harder tha backtracking .2miles would have been.
The fence is no longer next to me, it’s in front of me. This whole area is fenced off so I have to go back to the road I came from. Noooooo. About 2 miles wasted.
So I follow the fenceline and am cut off again by a barbed wire fence. Huh??? I didn’t enter any fences but somehow have ended up inside the fenceline. I can see the road up ahead, and by now I am a pro at scrambling under barbed wire so I smoosh my pack through the mini opening and lay on my belly to scuttle through. I can hear an atv whirring behind me. Oh crap!!! There are ‘no trespassing’ signs all over so I hurry my butt up to get through and skedaddle before it shows up.
I make it through and find myself on a dirt road. Yay a road! I happily march along, excited that I’ve got some kind of certainty to where I am headed instead of my cross country expedition.
Except I’m on the wrong road.
I’m missing a map and after a couple of miles I realise that my assumptions filling in the gaps of the missing map have been completely wrong. I’m walking a road running parallel north of the one I should be on, that is about to dead end.
GAAAAAH. I try cross country for about half a mile then decide it is lunacy as the terrain is going all over the shop so I cut across to another road and finally know where I am. It’s where I would have been about 3h ago if I’d backtracked and taken the right road.
Ok. It is what it is. Now to march on with my dwindling water under the now-exposed sun.
Somehow make it to the hwy where I have a long road walk into Silver City. I decide I’ll walk as long as I can before light disappears. It’s a speedy hwy and I have no intention of walking on the side of a 65mph road in the dark. My plan is to walk till light is fading, hitch into town, and slackpack the remainder in the morning.
My feet are screaming at me, ghosts of plantar fasciitus past, and I can only go an hour at a time before I need a 10 min break to elevate my feet.
Light is fading, the sky is thundering and I decide my time is up. I half-heartedly stick my thumb out for a hitch but no-one is having a bar. I think they can tell I would much rather finish the walk tonight and sleep in tomorrow. So I continue. And my feet scream but I keep telling them to think of all the sleeeeeeping. The sleeeping iiiiiin.
On the outskirts of town the houses and area is how you would expect the outskirts of town to be…a bit dodgy. But then the houses get nicer and nicer. They become gorgeous and the perfume of flowers wafts across the humid night. I breathe it in and make my new CDT memories, of that hard day followed by that gorgeous humid night in that oh-so-pretty town of Silver City.
The Palace hotel is my choice of residence for the night. I fall in carting my stink with me and am told the last room has gone. Nooooo. But miracle of miracles the latest guest comes down and says he doesn’t want the room. Hooray!
It’s the cheapest of cheap rooms, no private shower and no window but I don’t care. The hotel is from the 1830s and has so much character I want to stay. And I also don’t want to walk to the other side of town!
Once in my room I drink water. And more water. And actually eat some things. And drink more water. Another miracle- my SPOT has been found and the finder has skipped up to Silver City because he is getting off trail, and it’s waiting for me at the visitor’s centre!
I can’t wait to explore the town tomorrow- it’s a zero for me and my grumpy feet ☺ Some magic tablets to help make my feet happier and crampy muscles less crampy, earplugs in and
I faaaade far away to a land of waterfalls, lakes, and all the frozen drinks.