25.2 miles (40.6km)
Thomas Ranch (352.2) to Windmill Camp (377.4)
After seeing the strange lights last night I feel into a very deep sleep. It was a combination of the serenading Coyotes and extreme cold that woke me. Somehow overnight my head removed itself from the warming cocoon of the sleeping bag hood. It was cold. There was a layer of ice covering the outside of my sleeping bag. I assume it was a combination of my frozen breath, sweat or fluids lost through my pores. Maybe even frost.
I set off hiking at 7.15am. I was wearing my down jacket, long pants, beanie and gloves. For the first hour it was hard to generate enough body heat to stay warm. Two other hikers were ahead, Bambi and Boston. When I had to make a toilet stop I never saw them again.
Roadwalking was the call for the day. Lots of roadwalking. I must admit that I’m getting a little sick of the road walking. I have a hankering to be back on trails. Even getting lost several times a day would be fun. But looking at the positives, the skies were amazing. Cold weather with rolling rain and snow storms in the distance kept me entertained.
For about 5 miles I exited the road walking and was temporarily back in a trail. It didn’t last long. All the while I was being chased by large dark clouds. I took a rest stop in the afternoon to check why my feet felt like they had been cut by razor blades. Well, turns out I’ve picked up the dreaded foot fungus. Tinea. Athletes Foot. Must have happened in the shower at Pie Town. I’ve got nothing to treat it so I’m stuck with horrible smelly, rotting, cut up feet for a couple of days. The cuts are already open and deep. Sorry to put you off your food!
After 25 miles of hiking alone I stopped at a windmill to get some water. The wind was howling. And it was ice cold. I put on every item of clothing I owned then filled up my water. Then the rain started. I was hoping to camp here so Crunchmaster and Spontaneous could catch up. There was no shelter from the strong wind. In the distance maybe half a mile away there looked like there were trees. I made a bee line for them. Luckily it was flat and sheltered. My home for the night.
Heavy rain never eventuated. Just a few drops. But I was warm and sheltered. As I finished cooking dinner Spontaneous and Crunchmaster walked past. We were reunited. From our shared camp the skies put on a great show at sunset.
Tonight I don’t think there will be any rain. It’s too cold. If anything there will be snow.
Next – Day 22 – Looking Forward
Everything you need to know about hiking the CDT:
Complete Guide to Hiking the Continental Divide Trail
CDT Resupply Guide
CDT Gear List