Day 32: May 25, 2019
Destination: CDT Mile 584.2
Today’s Miles: 24.9
Start Location: Mt. Taylor Alternate Mile 8.7
Trip Miles: 483.5
I promise I’m not some weird OCD hiker that has to hike 24.9 miles every day! The sad thing is, it always feels like I have walked more.
The same mileage number two days in a row is just a coincidence.
The weather was great again today! Last night felt quite cold; I didn’t sleep well as a result. I camped above 10,000 feet, and for some reason even if the temperature is the same as at a lower elevation, everything feels colder. I had a cup of coffee in the morning and didn’t start hiking until about 8:30. Once the sun shone on my tent, it really warmed me up and helped me get going.
The little campsite I shared with Cat Lady and Ocitello was a pretty sweet spot. As I hiked the first mile or three this morning, amazing campsite after amazing campsite kept showing up. Our spot had only been the beginning! What made them so great? They were just scenic clearings with flat, level spaces, speckled with dandelions over green and light, yellowish-green grasses with rolling mountain curves in the background. The surrounding hills were not heavily forested; rather, due to elevation, they were speckled with fir trees and birch. I took a lot of pictures as I walked this morning, and enjoyed watching various colorful birds make their morning rounds. One little grey, white and black bird had a yellow belly that showed nicely when it spread its wings.
I stopped at a spring mid-morning. It was piped to flow right into an algae-filled cow tank. Obviously I opted for the crystal clear water coming out of the pipe from the spring. This water was right out of the ground and above 9000 feet, so it probably didn’t need to be filtered. However, I filter everything that isn’t tap or bottled water, just to be safe. I picked up some Aqua Mira treatment drops and had them shipped to Grants, so I now have these in addition to my Sawyer filter. I had iodine tablets for emergencies, but they taste awful. I also wanted to be able to choose between treating and filtering. I’ll probably treat cloudier sources and filter clearer ones, just to preserve the life of my Sawyer. I also like that I can grab a bladder full of water when I have to carry quite a bit, drop the Aqua Mira in, and then it works while I hike.
Around noon I took a break under a shade tree to air out my feet and have lunch. I listened to Dan Carlin’s “Hardcore History” podcast. It’s a lot of detail, but overall pretty interesting. I miss my “who dunnit” storylines though, so I’ll have to download some more when I can.
Most of the afternoon was spent on the same, long dirt road! In fact, I’m camped off of that road right now, and will walk it again tomorrow. It’s less scenic than the morning’s landscape, but still beautiful in the way stark desert can be.
I walked by a lot of cows today - more brown and white ones than normal. I don’t really know much about cows, but they seemed to like the trail today. I came upon a group of five cows that wouldn’t move off the trail. There was a cairn in between us. I walked off the trail and looped around them, and as soon as I was out of their way, they walked over to the cairn to investigate it. They seemed enthralled by it. I guess it’s easy for a cow to get bored!
Later in the day I walked up on a bull and his lady cow friend standing in the road. I kept inching closer, but instead of moving, the female cow ignored me and the bull gave me the stink eye, chewing his cud and swatting his tail. There were trees and brush on both sides of the trail, so I had to do a little bushwhacking to work my way around them. I asked them to please moooove. They didn’t think I was funny.
Tomorrow the weather is again supposed to be nice. I’m excited about that and to see what scenery the hiking will hold. I have two water stops tomorrow. I will also hit the 500 mile mark in terms of actual trail miles I have walked - woohoo! Hard to believe I’ll be in Cuba in three days! Put one foot in front of the other and the miles add up.