Date- October 28, 2019
Location- Side of highway
Elevation- 6,106 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 19.6 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 2,542.8 miles
Weather/Temp- clear, windy, 60s
Injuries- rotten toenail
Pain level- zero
Wildlife encounters- zero
Days without shower- 1
Days without laundry- 1
Jetpack and I had breakfast together before hanging out at the hostel until nearly 11 am. After that, she began the 13 mile highway walk out of town, and I began my 19 mile loop. Both of us would be back on the official CDT and through with the Gila alternate today.
The Trail Less Marked
The hike itself was fairly mundane today. Even the official CDT was mostly service roads or jeep track. It was brand new single track trail for several miles at one point, but it was so new that it wasn’t on the maps yet. In fact, whoever was in charge of building this new section had blazed the trail with CDT markers – even though the new trail wasn’t finished and didn’t lead anywhere for nearly a mile. This was annoyingly confusing, since the trail that was in the actual maps wasn’t blazed at all and took you where you needed to go. This meant that an individual without maps or a GPS would be royally screwed when they followed the blazed trail and ignored the obscure unmarked trail. A total CDT move.
The most exciting part of the day was also the shittiest part of the day. I tell ya, I almost made it through this trail without a poop story. It’s not a good one, but it happened nonetheless.
It was late mid-afternoon and I’d been moving quick (very quickly) all day. While on a jeep track, I was hit with the call of doody quite suddenly and strongly. It was like my insides had decided to liquefy for no apparent reason.
There was no time to search for the perfect spot, so I threw down my pack and snatched out my bathroom kit before lumbering quickly into the desert shrubbery. I had my eyes on the spot I wanted, and was mere yards away when a terrible fart built up with violent pressure. It was one of those farts that create incredibly sharp pains in your lower abdomen (if you try to hold them in). The kind you can’t let out in public – but when you hold them back, it puts you in so much pain that you either wince… or make a face that immediately worries anyone who sees it.
Well, I didn’t trust this fart in the slightest. But, the pain welled up so fast that I thought maybe I could get away with a slow drawn-out release, or at least let a little bit out to relieve the pain. I was only 4 or 5 steps from the spot. I didn’t think anything too catastrophic could happen at this point, so I went for it. I was wrong. VERY wrong. The second I tried to orchestrate the controlled gas leak, I shit my pants.
I froze mid-step, instantly disappointed in myself. I even said out loud – “Fuck, did I seriously just shit my pants?” I took another step and there was no question. “Come on, Kyle! You’re thirty years old!” I said loudly and scornfully to myself. Truth be told, I wasn’t that upset about it. I took the incident in stride and looked at it as simply another small obstacle to be dealt with.
Can You Spare a Square
There was no water around and I wasn’t about to use my drinking water, so I used my baby powder to aid in the clean up. It worked amazingly well! All I did was use the baby powder and my toilet paper in tandem to dry and clean everything out, and by the end of it, everything was bone dry, if not a little discolored. But, I was happy with the end result and continued hiking after all was said and done.
Got back into town a little before 7 pm and went straight to the Pizza Hut. I cleaned up further in the bathroom, had a pizza, and hung out until after 9pm. Once it was late enough for things to have quieted down in the town, I made my move. I wanted to stealth camp somewhere near the outskirts of town on the highway, but wanted to wait until absolute darkness (and for most traffic to cease).
I ended up walking a little over half a mile down the highway before passing through an area where they’d blasted through a hillside to pave a road. It was one of those areas where there was sheer walls of rock on either side of the highway. The kind of area where you might see the metal netting/fencing that holds back tumbling rocks from getting onto the road. So instead of following the trail along the highway, I climbed up the rock to the top of the hill. I climbed about 30 feet above the road and found a flat spot next to some prickly pear cactus.
So I’m cowboy camped up here. Vehicles are speeding by down below every so often, completely unawares of the vagabond bumming-it just above their heads. This is my favorite type of stealth camping; where you’re nearly close enough to reach out and touch someone, or only a slight move away from being in plain sight of the general public. It’s stealth camping in its stealthiest form.
I know where Jetpack is going to be tomorrow, and I think I’m going to knock out a nearly 40 mile day to just get there. The terrain looks agreeable all around, but we’ll see…
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