I started out the morning routine hours before sunup, and was already on the trail just before sunrise. The only water I had left was in my half portion breakfast mix. Yet I had a 7 mile trek to the next reliable water source. As such, I wanted to get there as quickly as possible before the sun got high and started sapping me.
Yet still I couldn’t resist lying in a cool wash under a shady embankment for half an hour after a steep climb. I ate a few dozen Starburst and a chewy bar to fuel up for the remaining march.
It was mostly boring road walk, but now completely out of water except what my remaining limes contained, I was motivated to speed across the humpy flats.
A sea of cows flowed away from the water tank as I approached. A shady, cow pie free bit of ground next to the tank and near infinite amounts of fresh well water coming out of the hose on the other side. I was tempted to jump into the little pond down the hill, but I was able to cool off enough just lying in the shade for an hour and snacking some more. I went back for several refills and even ran the hose over my head before hiking out again through the herd.
The next water cache box was only 6 miles further on, so I could be totally profligate with the water I was carrying. Every time it dried, I poured water on my shirt and my head again. The latter seems to have permanently muted my “water resistant” headphones. Thanks a lot Sony.
The trail remained easy to follow and not usually too sandy, so I was moving out. Just before noon, I found a nice tree and stopped for lunch, then just laid underneath it for an hour. Then I packed up and put the speed back on.
I reached the water cache box before 3 and nearly walked right by it, distracted by an enormous dust devil in the distance. When I opened it up there was a phone number for the Hachita Store. I filled up on water, but then I turned my phone off airplane mode–3G signal available.
I was so far ahead on time, I decided to call. Jeffrey came out with a truck and carried me to the store. On the way, he informed me that he had picked up the Gayhearts at the second water box the day before. Jess seemed in high spirits but her dad was complaining of heat exhaustion and making excuses for giving up. They were on their way to Silver City already. An hour and two root beers, a Gatorade, a burrito, an ice cream, and a real toilet later, Jeffrey brought me back to the trail.
It was a little after 4 and still pretty hot, but the wind was stronger than ever, trying to tear my hat off my head. Also, the flats were the most boring to walk on yet. But 3 hours of flat desert and road walking later, I was at the Vista Rim Tank and oasis. I threw my Tyvek down on the humpy grassy ground and made supper. What I had eaten at the store had only given me enough energy to go five miles or so. But lying in the shade waiting for supper to cook, I was ready to pass out and give up for the day.
Nonetheless, after dinner, I refilled my bottle from the tank, packed up, and hiked on down the road into the sunset. It was all roadwalk and mostly downhill, so even though I was out of energy, I got one more mile done. When the sun was gone, I found a nice area to camp in, and forced myself to get the tent set up.
Overall, it was a nice day, hot but easy walking, and the trail being so much easier meant I could get more miles in before my legs gave out.
Trail miles: 19
Remaining miles to Lordburg: 32.8