CDT Day 23 and 24

Day 23- Zero miles hiked! Hooray 2nd trail zero!
Day 24 – 18 miles hiked, 9514ft
After a day off yesterday attending to all the hiker town chores (and eating a LOT of food! I’ve been too cold and have decided I need to put some weight back on to keep me toasty. High fives to Ben & Jerry’s for their new almond milk icecream!), and moving to a marginally superior hotel down the road, getting out of the cozy cozy bed is haaard. I somehow manage to drag my butt out and under a glorious hot shower. Showers are never taken for granted when hiking!
I eat some toast and drink some coffee at the hotel breakfast (made infinitely better by the banana I added to the toast and the choc coconut milk I add to the coffee! Always come prepared!).
I return a couple of things to walmart (I purchased all my resupply at walmart!) and pick up a smart water bottle (clean bottle! Amazing!) then spend way too long faffing about, downloading things, uploading things,  getting the latest water report, chatting to people. Finally I’m ready after dropping off some stuff in the hiker box ( wish I’d known it was here before I bought food! I could have almost resupplied just from the box) and rifling through to find some electrolytes.
An awesome soul takes pity on me hiking next to the horrible (and dangerous 🙁 ) hwy and drives me the 2 miles back to where I left off the ‘trail’ (main road in town). 2 non-trail miles saved! Hooray!
I walk through town and veer off along the highway towards Mt Taylor. I pass some very young looking kids, including a girl who can be no older than 12, on the side of the road who are shooting things in the paddock beyond. Ever heard of board games?? Reading a book??
A fenced in facility looms ahead and I realise the road goes right next to a prison. Please no-one be outside, please no-one be outside. I breathe a sigh of relief as there isn’t anyone around as I walk past, but my pace quickens slightly regardless. Can I walk past less sketchy things now please???
Finally I arrive at the trailhead. I plonk down and eat some things from my heavy heavy foodbag then start the climb.
Up and around a sandy rocky mountain with a few spikey trees thrown in. I chat to some day hikers and keep going up. It flattens out for a while into a field, then joins a dirt road through pine forest,  and evenually veers off the road to a walking track. I can see on my map where it’s going to get very steep soon so I start looking for a campsite which ends up being tricky due to all the little hills around the trees. The only flat spots are right on the track. I find something that’ll work and I clear away as many pine cones and sticks as I can.
Today I’ve gone from 6453 to 9514ft – a rare climb in New Mexico!
There’s something not too far away howling as the light disappears; it sounds different from the yip yipping coyotes I’m used to. Maybe wolves? I’ve no idea if they are up this way. I strain to hear better and get an earful of turkeys chiming in with their gobbling for comic relief. Goodnight turkeys ☺

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