Date- October 31, 2019
Elevation- 4,265 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 15.2 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 2,620.7 miles
Weather/Temp- clear, windy, 40s, 50s
Injuries- Injured toenail
Pain level- zero
Wildlife encounters- mule deer, Jack rabbits, cotton tails
Days without shower- 0
Days without laundry- 0
When I awoke this morning there was an inordinate amount of cow shit that moved from the ground to the top of my sleeping pad. I’d essentially made a turd sandwich between me and the pad. I don’t sleep perfectly still, so I’m always rolling or shifting off my pad throughout the night – onto the dirt, rocks, or what have you. If it gets cold or uncomfortable, then I wake up and adjust (sometimes dragging earthy things back onto the pad). That’s just the way it goes.
The APE in Me.
Speaking of “the way it goes…” since I’ve been cowboy camping for pretty much the entire second half of this trail, I’ve put around 4 or 5 tears in my sleeping bag that I’ve patched up with gorilla tape. Most are from getting snagged on shrubs or bushes that I lie in or around, but I think at least one is from my legs rolling off and onto rocks for most of the night.
The 15 miles into town were nearly completely flat and the majority of them were cross country miles. This means there was little to no trail and you were simply taking bearings on land marks and making your way to them as best you could. In this particular case the landmarks were metal signs with the CDT emblem emblazoned on it. They placed them a couple hundred yards or more apart, and sometimes you could easily spot them across the landscape, and sometimes they were obscured and you made a best guess or tried to see if you could spot the “next, next” CDT sign and make for that one.
Jack Rabbits and Cotton Tails spooked out of the scrub left and right, tearing across the landscape in a mad dash. This was the most I’ve consistently seen on this entire hike, and besides a few range cattle and a mule deer, they were the only wildlife I saw. I did find a very large snakeskin I think belonged to a gopher snake, but I can’t be sure.
The Shortest Distance
What made the short hike today torture was that you could see Lordsburg across the valley from more than ten miles away (by trail). It looked so close! However, mile after mile and hour after hour went by and it didn’t seem to get any nearer. That’s the worst kind of optical illusion hiking, especially when you’re trying to get into town.
I found the carcass of a range bull a couple miles from town and the horns seemed to be intact. The only issue was that the body was only about halfway decomposed. The hide was like dry leather, but you could still smell the putrid meat of the thing. I’ve wanted to find a bull skull with horns on trail for as long as I can remember, but I’ve either been too late, or never found one. I couldn’t resist seeing if the head would pull off the rest of the body. It still had some mummified flesh on it, but I could clean it in town. I grabbed one of the horns and shook the head. No dice, but the horn did unsheathe from the bone in my hand. I decided this was better than nothing, and stuck the hollow horn in my pack before continuing on. It could be a chew toy for Katana at the least, or a decoration/ viking mead chalice at best.
The trail wound over a mile through town before I met up with Jetpack on the far side at the Econolodge. Lordsburg used to be a major railroad town back in the day. Trains still come through, but I-10 is the only thing keeping this place alive now.
Speaking of Interstate 10, I have a deep connection to this road, and I’ve written about it a couple times. This is the third long trail I’ve hiked to cross over or under this Interstate. It also passes 19 miles north of my hometown of Navarre in Florida. Not to mention, I’ve driven coast to coast on this Interstate more than a dozen times now, and partook in my first cross country drive from California to Florida with my father when I was seven years old on this road. He even let me hold the wheel a few times, so in my child’s memory, it was the place of my first “driving” experience. It’s not the greatest Interstate, but it connects me to so many places, memories, trails, and my home – and it’s special to me every time I encounter it.
Me, Jetpack and Fuzz are settled in at the Econolodge. We’re planning to take our last zero tomorrow, then make an 85 mile push to the border in 3.5 days…
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