Monday, November 22, 2021

Day 17: Regis-treeing for the trail

May 7: I woke up and hit the trail at my usual 7:00am start time. A couple of hours later, I spotted my first rattlesnake of the trail. Or rather, it spotted me and started rattling loudly. It was under a tree and I was completely oblivious of it until it started rattling just a few feet away. I jumped back, then pulled out a selfie-stick that I carried just for this purpose. I attached my camera and stuck it out, practically in the snake's face for photos. The rattlesnake didn't much care for this and continued rattling loudly, but I felt that I was at a sufficiently safe distance away that it couldn't get me. And how cool would it be if I got a photo of the snake actually trying to bite my camera?!

See the rattlesnake trying to hide behind the rock?

I had trouble getting a good photo or video, though, since I wasn't able to see the viewfinder well. It was out there at the end of my selfie-stick, several feet away. I tried taking numerous photos and a couple of videos, but they were all pretty blurry or off center. In the end, I was a little disappointed with the results. I'd have to hone my techniques.

Another shot of the rattlesnake

When I got a signal and checked my messages, Pez had sent a message that he was feeling much better and planned to get back on the trail today. I suggested that he take an alternate route out of town that could cut off a few miles and hopefully he'd catch up soon.

The afternoon was hot and the heat sapped the energy out of me. Especially on the uphills. I took an hour-long break near Bear Creek where I cameled up, then took another two-hour break during the hottest part of the day next to a spring where I cooked dinner, rested and finished reading Win, my latest Kindle read.

Today I also veered off the red line--i.e. the main CDT route--to hike the Gila alternate. It was allegedly more scenic than the main route and notably shorter as well, but I wondered if the fact that the route was shorter may have influenced people's opinion of it. I wanted to do the more scenic route. I wasn't in any rush--the Colorado Mountains were covered with snow and slow and steady was my goal to give the snow further north plenty of time to melt. I wasn't looking for shortcuts--not yet, at least!--but I did want to hike the most scenic route. So I veered off onto the Gila alternate, hoping the rumors that it was the most scenic were true. I didn't mind that the route was notably shorter, though. =)

Late in the afternoon, I reached the Regis-tree, a register on the stump of a tree. I loved it. A little bit of unexpected humor, and I love puns. =)

It's the regis-tree!

I saw that Evenstar had signed the register just 6 hours earlier--I had made significant progress in catching up with her seeing as she had about a 24 hour head start leaving Silver City. I was also glad to see that she had made it this far. I often had trouble following the trail and had been concerned that Evenstar would struggle far more with basically a map and compass setup. If it wasn't for my GPS, I'm not sure I'd have made it this far. How did people do this trail before the advent of the GPS?! But at least I know she had made it this far, and that she was only six hours ahead.

I had planned to hike another two or three hours, until about 7:30 in the evening, but stopped only an hour later when I ran into Evenstar's campsite. "What are you doing here?! You were six hours ahead of me when I left the regis-tree just an hour ago!"

And she proceeded to tell me a horror story of bushwhacking for hours in the wrong direction after losing the trail and eventually backtracking to this location and deciding to call it a day. I'm not sure that she had a solid plan for what to do in the morning, but at least here she had access to water and wasn't in any imminent danger. 

I was surprised to find Evenstar already camped on the trail since I thought she was at least 6 hours ahead of me.

I went ahead and joined her campsite along Sycamore Creek, which worked out well for me since I had company for the evening. Evenstar was the first hiker I had seen since leaving Silver City yesterday. And it worked out really well for her since she could "drift" behind me following my GPS in the morning.

I took out my two bottles of bubbles and asked if she was interested. "Definitely!" she replied. So Evenstar took the extra bottle from me and blew bubbles for a bit as the sun set.

Thus ended another day on the trail. According to my GPS, I had only covered 14.9 miles.

Oh! Now they tell me! *shaking head*

Sign may as well just say, "You're probably going to die out here."

Old, abandoned mining equipment

It's the regis-tree!

See the lizard in the photo?

I stopped for a two-hour break near this spring.


Shutterbug2012 said...

How many miles a day were you planning to do before you got your next shipment of food? Did Evenstar have her computer at this point?

Ryan said...

Evenstar still hadn't been reunited with her laptop. Typically I was shooting for about 15 miles per day, but actual miles would depend on the terrain and water sources.