Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Day 9: The Long Walk Out of Lordsburg

April 29: After I finished fixing the last known problem on Atlas Quest, I finally packed up, checked out of the motel, and continued my adventures! It was, perhaps, 10:00am and temperatures were cool and comfortable.

Evenstar checks out a board with information about the CDT on our way out of Lordsburg.

Before leaving the motel, I knocked on Pez's door and gave him a bag of popcorn that I had trouble fitting into my pack. Him and Addie decided to both take an extra day off, but I had already had a double zero and wasn't anxious for a third consecutive zero day. Not this early in the hike, at least!

I had barely started my hike when I heard Evenstar shout out to me from the other side of the road. She was just leaving Kranberry's after picking up a giant cinnamon roll. She gave me a small piece of it to taste and I gave it two thumbs up. Delicious!

We walked together to the post office, both of us wanting to mail our laptops ahead to the next trail town. Mine was already packed up and ready to go, but Evenstar hadn't picked up a box beforehand so she'd just pack it up at the post office, coping the address I used on my own box for the Silver City post office.

Then we headed out of town together. We hadn't planned to leave town at the same time, but I was pleased with the happy accident to have company for a bit. I knew later on the trail, I'd be so very lonely. No reason to rush into that any sooner than necessary!

The trail followed paved roads for several miles out of town, but we missed the turnoff and walked an extra 5 or 10 minutes past it before I looked at my GPS and realized we had veered off-trail. We backtracked to the turnoff and immediately saw why we missed it. It was essentially unmarked and blocked with a barbed-wire fence we'd have to get through. The official CDT required us to jump, crawl through, or crawl under a barbed-wire fence. There was no stile or gate to help. It was an easy turn to miss, and we missed it.

The trail followed this highway out of town for several miles.

We crawled under the fence and from there, the trail went cross-country across a flat, open field. There was no distinct trail to follow and we relied largely on my GPS to make sure we were going in the correct direction. How did people hike this trail before the age of GPSes?!

The wind blew strongly throughout the day, and with clouds often blocking the sun overhead, it turned out to be quite cool throughout the day. I had carried a boatload of water out of town but wasn't drinking it very quickly and eventually realized that I had way more than necessary. At one point, I stopped and dumped out 10 pounds of water. It seemed like something that should have been a criminal offense in a desert, but I just didn't need much water today. I was barely drinking anything--it was by far the coolest day of the hike so far.

Evenstar and I took a short break at the bottom of a dry creek bed to help escape the wind, and it was a nice place for a lunch break. She did a little blister maintenance. I did not, however, since there weren't any for me to deal with.

Evenstar checks out the blisters on her foot while taking a rest at the bottom of a dry riverbed.

Later in the afternoon, we started spotting markers marking the trail, and eventually reached a point where an actual trail was visible once again. Evenstar was still limping from her blistered feet but moved remarkably quickly. I think the two days off-trail helped her immensely, even if she was still feeling the pain.

And we ended up hiking about 4 miles beyond my original plan, covering about 14.4 miles according to my GPS. Later in the day, when it was clear that we were far ahead of schedule and making such good time, we decided to shoot for the next water source, but we wound up coming up a couple of miles short as the sun was about to set. It wasn't a big problem, however, since I hadn't planned to reach it tonight to begin with and even after dumping 10 pounds of water, I still had plenty of water left to cook dinner and eat breakfast the next day. Dry camping would not be a problem.

Evenstar and I eventually stopped to camp at the bottom of another dry creek bed to help avoid the wind. It wasn't entirely successful, but at least it was a bit more protected than in the open.

And that was the end of another day of hiking.

Sunset from our campsite!

The trail passed under this railroad through this pedestrian tunnel under the bridge while leaving Lordsburg.

Evenstar checks out the barbed-wire fence that we had to get over, through or under. In this case, we decided to go under.

No sign of an actual trail through this desolate terrain!

Now this barbed-wire fence had a gate for us to pass through. Much easier!

The trail had been largely flat all day, but we knew we'd be heading into those mountains in the north...eventually! Tomorrow. Yeah, tomorrow.

It was a gruesome discovery....

The hunt for a campsite is on!

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