Whew. They say the tag line for the CDT is “Embrace the Brutality” but I think today the brutality embraced me.
I have been literally unable to sleep the past week. I must be getting some sort of rest because I am able to function, but man, it was a looooooong sleepless night of looking at the stars and trying to convince sleep to pay me a visit. I’m hoping something changes soon because I need all my energy for this trail.
I started getting ready about an hour before sunrise, making coffee and packing up, and hiked the first bit while drinking from my french press mug. I’m glad for the extra weight so far!
The first half of the day was a cross country section, marked by posts with CDT markers on them. The trail traverses just below a mountain range, and when I lost the posts I didn’t mind as I just had to keep the range to my left. Well, I did a fair amount of bushwacking while navigating up and down and around all the drainages, cactus, and pokey things. Ouch. My legs got scratched up good!
I worked my way cross country for the first 10 miles until reaching the second water cache the CDTC maintains. The day was HOT and I took a break in a pocket sized shadow of the cache box. I’m tired. That cross country section took a lot out of me.
The sun was brutal, but a pretty steady wind made it bearable. The next four miles continued the cross country, but was easier to nagivate. I was feeling slow with the sun beating down and tried to use my sun umbrella for a bit, but to no avail. The wind was just too stong.
Finally the trail became an old road bed, easy cruising, and I made my way north. I didn’t intend to hike more than 18 mile days, but I decided I could hike more. So far I’ve been hiking about an hour and a half, then take a 30-60 minute break, and hike, break, hike, break, on and on until I’m DONE. Today I aimed to reach a water source so I could camp with water. It was a cow tank with a piped spring that turned on about 7pm, so I was able to fill from the pipe instead of the dung-infested dirt tank.
I wanted to camp near by, and with the increasing clouds I decided to set up my tarp. Uggg, broke one of my stakes trying to pound it into the rocky ground, so decided to use rocks as anchors, but the wind was so strong nothing would stay. Uggggggggg. I found a spot with a windbreak behind the tank to cowboy camp, but then I envisioned getting trappled by cows in the middle of the night, so limped on a bit farther down the trail and tucked myself in between two sage bushes. I won’t set up my tarp tonight, but keep it close in case I need to wrap myself like a burrito if it does rain.
I’m terribly tired, my legs are scratched up and I’ve got a few blisters, but getting to camp, making my mac & cheese and tending to my wounds perks up my mood. There’s nothing like a full stomach and self-care to make the world right again.
It’s another day in the desert tomorrow. I hope I can sleep.