CDT Day 3

18 today (mile 52), camping at 4715 ft

I was entirely too ambituous with my alarm. It sounds and I shut it down, dozing and staring out at the sunrise.


Finally I give in and start doing all the morning things. So many things to do.
I check my feet and elation!! The bad blister looks good! Turns out a night of breathing with a good dose of betadine did the trick. Not fixed but on its way. Hooray!
I pack up and search for my little tent peg baggie but fear the wind stole it in the night with my 2 favourite stakes that were in it. Yes, I have favourite tent stakes. Booooo to the wind!!! I’m hoping it’s just hiding in my pack and a pack-splosion in Lordsburg will reveal its hiding place.
Out by 7, I’m proud of my better time than yesterday (8) but still a ways to go before I’m up at serious hiker o’clock.
5 miles to the water which go fairly fast.
The water is a cow pond. The water report  has instructions for turning on the pipe to get fresh water. Fairly easy and a relief as I don’t fancy filtering and consuming the green pond sludge.

 

Water Tanky McTankface
Water Tanky McTankface
Mmm yummy water
A little break in the tiny shade and I’m off. I see old hachita ghost town in the distance and kick myself for not remembering to take the route out from the pond that would get me there. It’s hot and my feet are still not happy so I settle for gazing at a distance and march on.
Like yesterday the trail is sandy and rocky. There is no real shade and the vegetation is all low stabby spikey plants. It alternates between cross country stabby plant land and four wheel drive tracks.
 
My day is divided by water and breaks at said water. I’m napping my way to Canada. There is the water cache next, then … amazement!!! The most magical land of running water! There is a tank that has a spigot running, it is surrounded by green soft plant things coming from the ground (I think it is called grass!) And tall stabby plants (trees) that provide a nice amount of shade to rest between the cow poo. Only on trail are you happy to sit next to a pile of cow crap because it means you have shade.
I collect water, rinse socks and march on for another 2 miles before calling it a day. Nice early night tonight! I find a spot behind some bushes that provide a little shelter from the wind, with a view of a pretty rock formation… looks a little lion-y… A tonne of cow poo around so hopefully dont get trampled in the night. I dream that my feet will be ever so grateful for the early night and wake tomorrow ready to smash all the miles.

CDT Day 2

20.3 today (at mile 34). 4915ft
I blink and it’s morning.  The sky is getting lighter and lighter and I delay the inevitable for as long as possible before  my body forces my movement to a nearby bush or otherwise threatens embarassment of great proportions.
My feet are still tender. I attacked them with needle and thread and betadine last night but they were so swollen from the day that it was tricky. Swelling is down now and I have 3 large mean blisters to contend with. I take my time getting them right and finally leave camp at 8am.
10 miles to the next cache and I take a mini break halfway. My feet are not happy with me. Socks off and hanging on a tree to air, feet elevated, I hang out for a good 30 minutes.
Finally hiking on the little brown box of riches appears and I guzzle some water and read the log book. There’s a note from Boat and Cloudbuster that they are hanging at the nearby road crossing under a wee bit of shade. I look over and see some movement so I gather my things and hobble over.  I figure this is the last I’ll see of them as they are keen on 25ish miles per day, and I don’t want to do more than 20 in the first section to break me in, especially with my stooopid feet.
A beautiful nap in the tiny shade then off cross country following the signs. There’s some cloud cover and nice mild weather which is great for hiking.
My afternoon is peppered with many many breaks, rabbits hopping across the trail, little climbs up and over hills and down and up through washes.
Hot ground! I think a warning of what my skin will look like in a week
Hot ground! I think a warning of what my skin will look like in a week

 

I am slooooow. Soore Sore feet. I am ready to be done after 18 miles but there’s no good campsites and a climb up ahead. Future Snakebite will thank me for doing it now.
So up and over I go and find a little spot halfway down. The wind is a bit nuts but the sunset stunning as I set up my little tarp in case the clouds get mean.
Sunset from my tiny tarp
Sunset from my tiny tarp
Somehow I’ve managed just over 20 miles on my rotten feet! The blisters are very unhappy with me and I’m crossing everything they get better overnight. I’m going to sleep well.
Alternate Blog Entry (because the CDT is all about alternates):
There once was a girl from Perth
Who wanted to hike ’round the earth
Her feet started dying
With blisters she was crying
But the trail was surely worth (it)
(Hopefully) (blisters crossed)

Continental Divide Trail – Day 1


Crazy Cook monument to Mile 14, 4744 ft.
I’m back. I’m back on the trail. Part of me  feels like I just finished the PCT, blinked and suddenly I’m here tackling the most brutal of the 3 long trails in the US, The continental divide trail. I remember when I decided I was doing the trail. It was in Skykomish and a few newly minted triple crowners arrived talking about the joy of the CDT. I’d already decided it was too hard for me. Waaaay too hard core. But they had this glow about them… it looked good. The more we talked the better the idea sounded. I didn’t want my trail life to end and here was another trail staring me in the face. Ah crap. Somewhere between beer number something and a game of celebrity heads it was decided, I was going to hike the CDT.

So here I am.

I am in the middle of fabulous dreams when my alarm bleeps me awake. I’d placed it on the other side of the room so I’d have to get out of bed to turn it off. Well played past Beck. So so tired I stumble through the motions of showering, teeth etc, shove my things into my too heavy bag and feel like a total Cheryl with all my stuff.

The driver for the shuttle is meeting us at breakfast in the hotel, so I race down and explode into the room.

“Ah so you are coming” some official looking guy says (I find out later he is the awesome Radar who organises the shuttles and water caches. Cheers Radar!). I’d tried to contact the CDT to change my date to one day early but had no luck, so I was just arriving with fingers crossed. I’m not going to lie- jetlagged sleepless nights and a 1am arrival in Lordsburg the night before made me wish he said I had to wait till tomorrow so I could sleeeeeep ☺

I galumphed into car and said goodbye to my awesome trail mate Rideordieh who hosted me in Tucson so I could sort out my resupply AND drove me all the way to Lordsburg. Trail people are some of the most generous souls on the planet. Always Ride! Never Die!

The ride out to Crazy Cook is a long one – about 3 hours.  The first hour I dozed, then we started on the crazy 4wd track which required holding on to not bounce out a window. There are three of us starting the trail today, so Cloudbuster, Boat and I pose for our photo at the monument, stuff around sorting out this and that, then finally start the first steps. This is happening! This is real! I’m on the CDT!

 

Processed with VSCO with c2 preset

I feel like an imposter and total newbie with these people with their tiny tiny packs. I need everything I have in here, right? This feels like trail University and I haven’t finished high school…. or maybe this is the Post Grad program and I forgot to go to Uni in between. I’ll get kicked off soon. Away with you!

The trail is hot and exposed. I watch dust clouds and little dust whirls kick up all across the horizon. Shade?? No, not here. Not on uber trail.

My feet hurt. Whaaaaat??? Can I feel blisters starting???

Somehow though, in the midst of feeling completely out of my depth, completely unprepared, the march of my feet and the click of my poles feel like I’m back where I belong.

Then I go the wrong way.  It’s going to happn one bazillion times on this trail. It’s not the neatly marked little 30cm wide footpath that the PCT often was, so I should just get used to it.  The CDT has great trail markers that you pick your way to cross country. But then sometimes there isn’t one. Or it has blown down. Or I simply looked and walked in th wrong direction.

So yeah, I go the wrong way.  Gah I’ll backtrack. Wait…crap. I’d gone the right way the first time. GAHHHHH. I go back again and realise that if I’d taken maybe 10 more steps I would have seen what I was looking for.

So a little extra .5 mile at the end of the day. Blisters! Chafe! Total newbie numpty!

Cowboy camping tonight at the first water cache  – the caches are absolute miracles. There are 5 dotted between here and Lordsburg and without them there would be very very long stretches without water.

Oh dirt sleeping how I have missed you! The stars are phenomenal! Do I belong here? Under sky feels like home. I fall asleep to the quietest of quiet sound of absolute silence.