29.1 Miles (46.8km)
Dry camp (445.5) to Ojo Frio Springs (474.6)
Have I mentioned that I love New Mexico? Or that I love the CDT? Or that New Mexico reminds me of home. It’s like the outback of Australia. Lots of nothing much with occasional world class scenic gems. Well, today was one of those gems of a day. But it didn’t start out that way.
I left camp before Crunchmaster and Spontaneous were even awake. It’s becoming a habit. Maybe they were awake but they weren’t moving. I had 12 miles of hiking to get to the next water source and I had less than half a litre of water. No coffee. No oats for breakfast. My mouth was dry so I had to drink a little of my precious water. I might have been hiking on New Mexico highway 334 but it wasn’t a highway. Well, it would be where I come from. It was a single lane dirt road.
It was a cool morning, which saved me being in any danger of dehydration. With five miles to the water source I sipped the last of my water. It was a scramble down some rocks to the water. I filtered two litres and drank all of it by the time Crunchmaster and Spontaneous arrived. They also ran out of water. We suffered.
It was seven flat easy miles to the next water but I carried lots of water. I forced myself to drink often. By the time I made it to the second water source I’d drank all my water. Another two liters. It was now lunch time and we had covered 17 miles. Not a bad pace for the morning.
The next water was 12 miles so we made to decision to make it there to camp for the night. Our mileage on this section was determined by the availability of water. It wasn’t long before dark storm clouds appeared. They threatened and spat a few drops on us. Not enough to put on our raingear. The skies were full of drama. Grey, black and all the colours of the rainbow. Just when the skies were at their best a large bull elk wandered across the trail.
Photos are not able to show the beauty. And words are not able to describe the rush of positive emotions I was feeling. I love nature. I love it even more when it is just plain showing off.
I didn’t know it at the time but all day we had been hiking on top of a large flat top mesa. It wasn’t until late afternoon that we descended into a valley. Not just any valley. I felt like I entered another land. Like the lost worlds described by Arthur Conan Doyle. Canyons, mesas and strange shapes hills stretched as far as I could see. The setting sun and storm clouds added to the beauty. This is why I’m hiking the CDT.