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CDT NM 3rd Section

Day 2: Devil’s Garden

Since I went to sleep at 7, I woke up at 2:30. And I was already starting to feel ever so slightly hungry. But the hotel continental breakfast didn’t start until 7:30, and Walmart didn’t open until 6.

So I got up and showered and got ready to go out–and then just tried to go back to sleep. But I kept getting too hot even with the A/C turned down, so I never really dozed off.

At 6am, I left for Walmart with an empty pack. The first thing I did when I got there was buy a protein smoothie and drink it. I figured that would give me enough calories to get the shopping done.

And I checked out by 7:30 and threw the bags in my pack to walk back to the hotel. Breakfast was in full swing, so I dropped my stuff in the room and went to the lobby to get a muffin, a yogurt, a cheerios bowl, a cup of milk, and a cup of apple juice to carry back to the room in my pockets and my hands. After eating and taking a little break, I got into full hiking regalia and started packing. All went well except I didn’t have enough plastic bags to mix my breakfast drink mix. So I checked out of my room before 10:30 and walked the two miles into town, stopping at the dollar general for a one dollar bag of plastic bags on the way. With the breakfast mix packed, I was ready to hike–after a real meal.

Yes, I went back to Adobe Springs for brunch. They were out of champagne for mimosas, so I had a glass of orange juice with my stack of pancakes, sausage, and egg. With the 20 minute wait on the front and the twenty minute wait to order and be served, I was still done in an hour or so.

Then I walked around the corner to get a sandwich from Chaos Sandwiches to hike out with and passed Lumberjack and Bucket and friends. They were planning to stick around one more day and hitch up to Gila Hot Springs on Tuesday, so I decided to try to be there by then also. And I didn’t have to waste any daylight ordering a sandwich because the place was closed on Sunday. I seem to recall having a similar experience my last time in Silver City.

Since I had nothing else to stick around for, I walked up to Little Walnut Road and started heading for the trail.

I had planned to hitch once I got a little away from town, but I was accosted by a gray-bearded man in a small sedan before I was a few hundred yards down the road. So of course as soon as we had exchanged the typical “Hiking the CDT?” sort of greeting, I asked for a ride to the trailhead. And got it. Six miles up to the part I’d crossed the previous year. We chatted the whole way about nothing much and I forgot to get a name or photo–he didn’t ask for mine either. So I guess his identity will be as much a mystery to you as to me.

Then the hiking began. The first part just continued down the same dirt road which stayed pretty car friendly. In fact, I was passed three times. Eventually, I got past all the cars and followed the road up onto the ridge where it got more rugged. Trucks only sort of road. It dropped down into Bear Creek canyon and followed the creek and canyon bottom east. Parts of the creek were actually flowing, but I had plenty of water.

It was 5:30, some 3 hours into my walking, when I reached the turnoff onto a single track foot trail straight up a tributary. At a bit after six, I found a spot in the dry streambed to make dinner. I had only gone about 7 miles since I left the city, but I was already sore and gassed. I chilled with dinner for an hour before continuing up the hill a bit after 7.

My pace was even worse on the climb. I’d averaged 2 miles an hour until that point, but I only managed to do the next mile in an hour. I sped up only slightly when I reached the top of the climb and the trail joined a rocky ATV two-track. It was not easy walking even where level and twilight was fading.

At 9, I reached the next water source, a crappy little pool near a barely flowing spring and a sign that said the best water and camping was another mile. My legs and the light said there wouldn’t be another mile this day. So I wandered off the trail looking for a campsite.

I found a clear and somewhat level spot near a barbed wire fence. Some of the stakes couldn’t be driven due to buried rocks and the ants were very interested in what I was doing, but even doing this sore and tired for the first time in 7 months, I managed to get set up and in bed in half an hour.

Trail miles: 9.8

Distance to Doc Campbell’s: 29.8 miles

Distance to Highway 12: 116.3 miles

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