Day 34: May 27, 2019
Destination: CDT Mile 637.3
Today’s Miles: 31.7
Start Location: CDT Mile 605.6
Trip Miles: 536.6
Before I start, I realized I forgot to mention that I reached the 500 miles hiked mark yesterday! I’m tracking that for my own hike since the CDT has so many routes.
Oh man, what a sunrise! It wasn’t as cold as usual when I woke up at about 5:45. It was probably 41, which is a fairly balmy morning lately. I could already see the beauty of what was happening outside, and I set a record (other than having to pee urgently) for how quickly I jumped out of my tent to catch the view. I took some photos, and then just stood there in awe. I could hear Girly Girl’s little speaker in her tent playing some kind of relaxing, bedtime music over and over. She had told me to wake her up when I got going. I wondered if she would want to see the sunrise. I was up and about, so I decided to walk over to her tent. “Good morning,” I said to the wall of her tent. She replied back that she had woken up earlier to see the sunrise, and gone back to sleep. Whoops! She got up though. I mean, this was the kind of sunrise it is hard to get enough of.
We chatted a bit as we both packed up. I had to go figure out where I could go to the bathroom. We were camped on a lip near the trail. In front was just a drop off into the canyon below. Behind was cliff wall. Hmmm.... I needed some privacy! I ended up walking south on the trail and then climbing up through a short crevice, after which it looked like a suitably private and out of the way place to check the bear traps.
I got my stuff together first and said a “see ya down the trail” to Girly Girl. I walked and couldn’t stop taking pictures - the landscape was both interesting and beautiful. Impressive rock formations, canyon walls with red stripes (they resembled bacon, I might add), and little flowers here and there, were just a few of the delights along the way.
I went up and down and up and down, climbing from canyon floor to mesa to canyon floor again, sometimes descending only low enough to walk through a mid-level path between mesas. I kind of felt like I was in Arizona, or what I imagine Arizona to look like.
The wind picked up, but it was sunny out. I made it to a wonderful water cache provided by the Trujillo family, local to the area. They had a log book, bagels, and water! Thank you Trujillos!
I spent some time snacking at the water cache, and Girly Girl arrived as I was pulling out. While I was resting there, a stink bug (it was a Pinacate beetle, and they are everywhere here, but I call them stink bugs) kept trying to hide under my shoe. No matter where I moved my foot, it would follow and hide. This is trail amusement! The simple little things become fun again.
I hiked off and spent the rest of the day in awe of the trail. It felt like the first hiking where we were frequently going up and down, up and down. At one point, I even had to grab a boulder as I climbed up something. It was views views views all day.
I made it to the second water source around 4 and spent 20 or so minutes there. The water from the spring was piped, but was only a trickle. It was that or buggy water from the tank it fed, so I waited on the trickle. After this, I made a push to hike into the evening. I really wanted to get as close to the road to Cuba as possible. I hiked out through a field, crossed a faint dirt road, and started climbing through a canyon. The club got steeper, with twisty switchbacks and the need to get more hands on, grabbing boulders to hoist myself up. The reward, again, was special views from the top. The trail ran along the edge of the mesa for a while. It was like having an airplane window to my right - just spectacular!
Eventually I started to cross to the left side and descend down the west edge. This was a more gradual descent, and it dumped out into a valley with cattle grazing. This valley was the last few miles before the road into Cuba. I had made it! Even better, my feet were ok! I pushed as far as I could to the road, and right at 8PM I found myself staring at the last clump of trees I felt that I could reasonably camouflage myself near. When I camp near towns and roads, as a general safety rule, I hide. I don’t want to be visible to any drunken yahoos with shotguns, lest I start looking like a tempting bit of sport.
What a great day! On top of the amazing hiking and views, I felt great and hiked my longest day yet. I will have a short walk into Cuba tomorrow. I can’t wait to eat!