Monday, January 31, 2022

Day 47: The Tattoo Gang

June 6: It didn't rain during the night, and by morning, the dark clouds had dissipated leaving me with a beautiful sunrise to enjoy.

I took advantage of the cool, clear morning by being on the trail and hiking by 6:30am. Even then, the temperature still felt surprisingly warm, so the more miles I got in earlier in the day, the better!

Loved the views in the morning!

It was nearly two hours later when I found Sweet Tooth and Bugs breaking down their own campsite. I stopped to chat with them for a bit, but I was surprised to find them at all. It was already 8:30 in the morning! Most hikers don't seem to linger in camp so late in the morning.

I eventually kept hiking, but they were just mere minutes behind me. Bugs caught up with me quickly and passed in front of me. I tried to keep up with her pace behind her for a bit to chat, but dang! She walks fast! It was only a minute or two later when she nearly stepped on a snake, not seeing it stretched across the trail, until I pointed it out.

I stopped to take photos and videos of the snake and Bugs continued onward, and while taking the video, Sweet Tooth arrived behind me. I finished with the snake, and Sweet Tooth seemed really disgusted by the snake not wanting to get anywhere near it. It wasn't even a rattlesnake, though.

The snake on the trail that Bugs almost stepped on and that grossed out Sweet Tooth so much. =)

Anyhow, so I started hiking behind Sweet Tooth, who also walked at a remarkably fast speed that I had trouble keeping up with, but she walked--I think--at a slightly slower pace than Bugs. I was able to keep up, but barely.

So we chatted for the next hour or two, as the trail finally left the plateau we had been following for so long and eventually dropped down to a highway crossing. In the course of our conversation, I happened to mention that I carried a few luxury items such as bubbles and temporary tattoos, and Sweet Tooth about peed herself with glee. "You have bubbles?!" she exclaimed? Then told me that just the night before, while she was able to get a cell phone signal, had called her dad who loved bubbles and had just bought an industrial-strength bubble-making machine that could blow hundreds of bubbles outside in the yard, and her dad was quite excited about it, and so she wanted to get a photo of herself blowing bubbles to send him. "Yep, I can do that."

And she loved the idea of applying temporary tattoos as well, but asked why I hadn't shared them with Evenstar. "She didn't seem that interested in them," I said. I suspect that was because they were kind of scary monster kind of themed tats, but still, they were only temporary. It's not like she was going in for a job interview somewhere, but Evenstar just didn't seem that into it.

We eventually caught up with Bugs again down by the highway, who had a Coke in her hand and was chatting with a couple of people parked with a horse trailer on the side of the highway. Bugs had taken the last Coke, but they still had root beers which they offered to us that Sweet Tooth and I were happy to accept. They also handed out Moon Pies which I took, but those didn't excite me as much as the cold drink. It was such a hot day!

We eventually continued onward, reaching the nice creek about 5 or 10 minutes later where we stopped to fill up with water. While stopped, I pulled out my bubbles for Sweet Tooth to get photos of her blowing them, and I also pulled out the temporary tattoos for us to enjoy. I'd been carrying them since the Mexican border. It was about time that I finally used them!

I put one of the tattoos on my forearm first, to give it a try and figure out how they worked before Sweet Tooth and Bugs gave it a try, and it turned out pretty well. Now I looked like a bad-ass. *nodding*

My temporary tattoo turned out pretty well. *nodding*

They decided to put their tats on their leg, and I used my handkerchief by getting it wet in the creek and applying it to Sweet Tooth's leg. I joked that it looked like I was trying to cauterize a wound or something in her leg. In any case, though, the tattoo didn't stick especially well and it looked a bit off. Then when Bugs did the same with her tat, it also didn't stick as well as mine had. You could tell there was something there, but it turned out to be a little disappointing for both of them. I would have given them another tattoo to try with but that was all I had.

They eventually got up to continue hiking, but I lingered at the creek. It was exhausting to keep hiking at their pace and I was done trying to keep up. Anyhow, I wasn't sure that I could make it to the next reliable water source by the end of the day which would have required nearly 23 miles of hiking, so if I had to cook dinner, I wanted it to be near a water source rather than have to carry the extra water with me.

So I took a long, two-hour break by the creek during the hottest part of the day and used the opportunity to cook another dinner. I wasn't sure how far Sweet Tooth and Bugs planned to walk (I'm not even sure they were certain, for that matter), but perhaps if they didn't hike super later into the evening like yesterday, I'd find their camp and could join them. It seemed doubtful, but it was possible.

Once I continued hiking, the trail headed steadily uphill, but slowly. A few dark clouds threatened some rain in the early afternoon, but they cleared up later in the afternoon again.

Dark clouds threatened in the early afternoon, but they quickly drifted off without dropping any rain.

One of the more exciting moments was when I spotted, I believe, a bobcat or a lynx near some cattle pens. I only saw it for about a second before it dashed into some brush and out of view so I couldn't make a definite ID of the animal, but it definitely had a stubby tail and looked very cat-like. I just wish I had time to get a better look or even a photo of the animal.

At another point, one cow started following me. Usually they tend to run away from me, but this one started trailing me like it thought I might feed it or something, and mooed at me as I walked quickly away. I picked up my pace in an attempt to leave it behind. I didn't need to be assaulted by a cow. The trail followed a gravel road at this point through a forested area, so I'd curve behind a bend in the road and be out of view of the cow, but then the cow would round the turn and be right there again behind me. We did this several times before the trail veered off the road onto a proper trail, and as that point approached, I all but ran down the trail and veered off onto the trail hoping the cow would think I kept walking up the road during that brief period when I was out of view. It seemed to work. *nodding* =)

I did manage to make it to the next water source before the end of the day, so I filled up with water there. It was another cattle trough, however, and was in active use by the cattle so after filling up, I hiked another 1/10th of a mile down the trail to the junction with the Ghost Ranch Alternate. This allowed me to both get away from the cattle trough--I never want to sleep next to a cow-infested cattle trough!--and got me back to where the Ghost Ranch Alternate reconnected with the main CDT and maybe I'd run into Evenstar again.

Water trough at the end of the day

The question here, however, was did she rejoin the trail already and was still ahead of me, or was she still on the Ghost Ranch alternate and still behind me? I didn't know. I did get a weak cell phone signal at this junction, however, so I texted her my location and hoped to hear back one way or another to figure out if she was ahead of me or behind me. She didn't write back, though. Not tonight, at least. She might not have a signal from her location, though.

In any case, I was done for the day. I had covered about 23 miles according to my GPS, and I was tired! I set up a cowboy camp and called it a night.

Sweet Tooth holds a gate open for me.

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