Date- November 3, 2019
Location- Side of trail
Elevation- 4,744 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 25.1 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 2,666.8 miles
Weather/Temp- hazy clouds, 70s
Injuries- foul toenail
Pain level- zero
Spirits/Morale- Ready to do this!
Wildlife encounters- Pronghorn, rabbits
Days without shower- 3
Days without laundry- 3
The clocks wound back today and I was hiking by 7:30 am. This means it was really more like 8:30 am – by the standards of my internal clock and the number of daylight hours I was accustomed to having left. You would think the powers that be would want to give you a little extra daylight at the end of your day (when your time is more likely to be your own), instead of the beginning (when you’re asleep or commuting/working) – especially during the time of year when daylight is a hot commodity. I digress.
Today was not exceptional in any way. I hiked alone. The trail was mostly cross country. I saw jack rabbits, cottontails, and a lone pronghorn. I hadn’t seen a pronghorn since Wyoming, so that was a pleasant surprise.
There aren’t any natural water sources in the boot heel that aren’t being drawn up from the ground by man-made means or left as caches. However, there are a number of metal lock boxes full of jerry cans of water through the boot heel that the CDTC maintains for hikers. I think there are four or five of them fairly evenly spaced throughout the 85 miles from Lordsburg to the border.
The ground itself was gritty as hell (with rocks) for a great portion of the day. For the first time, since after the Great Basin, my feet feel like they’ve been tenderized. You just can’t win on these trails. Even when one aspect is easy, you get hit with some other subtle obstacle that cancels it out.
There were tons of cactus on the trail that had to be side stepped and dodged. At one point I felt a dull itch on my left leg. I reached down to scratch it, only to find two cactus quills sticking out of the side of my shin. Hadn’t felt them go in, but I was a little disturbed when I went to pull them out… and found them embedded close to half an inch. I didn’t feel a thing during the extraction, except for a sharp prick when the very tips caught my skin like a pair of barbs as they exited completely. I wish I would have taken a picture or video.
TRAIL MARKER CHALLENGE
Today took much longer to do the miles than I expected. The need to pick my way through the shrubs and spot the obscure trail markers was a full time job, and mentally very taxing – but also kind of fun. It was like a constantly resetting game of “Where’s Waldo.”
There was only 20 minutes of daylight left when I caught up to Toad Uncle and Jetpack setting up camp. I threw down my pad between some scrub bushes for wind protection, and then stuck my staff in the ground. I then set my headlamp to “strobe” and attached it to the top of the staff as a beacon for Fuzz to follow. It was hard enough navigating in daylight, let alone at night. At least with the strobe, he would have no need to look for trail markers. He could just make a bee line across the desert.
FOLLOW THE LIGHT
It was almost an hour before Fuzz got in. I was pleased to hear him say that the strobe had been extremely helpful. He’d actually been a quarter mile off the trail when he first caught a glimpse of it. At first he was confused by the sight, but deduced pretty quickly that it was probably us.
Once again, I wish I had more to say about the day or tonight – but I don’t. We’re aiming for another 25 mile day. I’m expecting more of the same. Be that as it may, tomorrow is the last full day. We’ll see how it goes.
You can read my current and past posts, and see my photos by clicking this link and going to Boundlessroamad.com