CDT NM 1st Section

Day 8: In the desert

I overslept and didn’t start walking until well after sunrise.

The first destination was the fourth water cache only 6 miles away. I had plenty of water still, and a large size breakfast smoothie. But the first part of the trail involved climbing steep hills in direct sunlight, so I stopped for a snack in the shade of a tree as soon as I made it over the saddle.

Coming up on the road where the cache was, I crossed the old railroad bed. The blackness of the rocks stood out from the surrounding desert, even in comparison to the road. Jeffrey had told me the berm was piled with high grade ore from the smelters, that this very railroad route was the reason for the Gadsden Purchase, and that the silver mines here were the cause of the inflation that brought about the end of the silver standard.

Anyway, the water cache was right past that, so I filled up everything and more, and used some of the provided sunscreen as well. I have to keep my knees well coated because I am hiking in shorts.

Less than four miles later, I came upon a water trough filled with cold water. I took off my Buff, dipped it, and squeezed it out over my head and shoulders. Then I dunked each elbow up to my wrists and shoulders so that when I extended my arms into the air, the water ran down the sleeves and down my sides. Very refreshing, though the shirt dried within 15 minutes. I kept dousing my sleeves by spitting water from my bag. The continuous breeze all day combined with the water kept me mostly cool.

I should note that this day involved more instances of the trail going directly through a barbed wire fence with no gate or turnstile than I’ve seen before. I get the impression someone doesn’t like hikers much.

Right after the trough, I found myself getting very hungry. I stopped under a shady bush and had the first half of lunch. It was too early for the full lunch siesta, and there was word of an even better shade tree 1.5 miles further on, so I kept walking.

The next shade tree was everything it was promised to be. A huge patch of shade. I ate the other half of lunch and then napped for an hour with a towel over my knees and my headnet on to discourage the flies.

The next section of trail was flat and boring, with only the occasional barbed wire fence or washed out ditch to liven things up. But I just kept walking, trying to track the scarce markers, looking forward to the next trough coming up in five miles.

This one was a big tractor tire full of cold water. So I sat on the edge and laid back, submerging my head and shoulders. I drank most of a quart of water, ate some Starburst, took another dip, then walked on.

It was only a couple more miles to the oasis where I would stop for dinner. A giant tank of water that provided plenty of shade from the evening sun. I ate and lounged a bit, refilled my water bag from the tank, and walked on.

I stopped randomly beside the trail at 8pm, set up camp, crawled in bed, and finished blogging before civil twilight had even ended. Lordsburg and shower tomorrow!

Trail miles: 19.5

Distance to Lordsburg: 13.3 miles

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