CDT Day 26 The Sport of Postholing

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13th May

23.3 miles (37.5km)

(422.2) to Dry Camp (445.5)

I was awake and hiking before anybody else was awake. Not that it was early. I started hiking at 6.50am. We had a big climb in front of us. Our goal was to make it to the summit of Mt Taylor. The highest point in the New Mexico section of the CDT.

The climb was not steep, initially. As we neared the top the altitude made my breathing rather laboured. It was not helped by a wrong turn. I found myself heading straight up the mountain instead of following the gently graded path.

Boston wasn’t with Crunchmaster or Spontaneous when they caught up to me near the summit. It was just before midday when we all arrived at the summit. All 11009 feet of Mt Taylor.

Then the fun began. The whole north side of the mountain was covered in snow. Lots if it. Softened by the heat of the day I started to porthole. The term we use for sinking our feet into the snow. This wasn’t just any postholing it was deep snow. Knee deep them up to our waist.

Crunchmaster and I were so busy laughing at each other’s predicament that we forgot how physically draining it was. At one point he declared that he didn’t think he would be able to get himself out. Hiking in soft snow is part of the CDT.

The snow continued for maybe quarter of a mile. It took nearly 45 minutes to travel that distance. Spontaneous was nowhere to be seen.

About 2 hours later I reached our water source. Twice I’d waited quite a while for him. Now I started to doubt if he was behind or ahead of me. Crunchmaster hadn’t seen him.

Wolf. Crunchmaster and I saw a wolf running away from us. That’s my first ever wolf sighting. It wasn’t as big as I thought. I heard wolves howling when I was cycling in Alaska two years ago. The wolf was the size of a German Shepherd. That made my day. That made my year. I’ve always wanted to see a wild wolf.

When we arrived at the water source, there was no water source. We checked our maps, GPS and water report. Nothing. We checked and double checked. I scoured the whole area. Still nothing. We had only a small amount of water. The next water source is 10 miles away.  It was late and the sun was setting. We had only a very small amount of water left. No oats or coffee for me at breakfast.


Next – Day 27 I Love New Mexico

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  1. Wolf … Wow!! Amazing animals. Postholing: just spent sooo much energy over and above the regular output the past few days. Too warm for hard crunchy snow. Not as deep as you had, but I hadn’t experienced long hours of that kind of effort. My spikes are too short. Need something like the K-10 Kahoolas. Trashed me. My newest trail experience for sure. PCT people skipping north still are faced with snow.

  2. Glad to hear you could laugh–instead of cry–at being waist-deep in snow! How does one get themselves out of that situation?!?!

    1. We have an interesting video, I hope to post it on the Facebook page but Internet is slow. But it was fun

  3. Wow, a wolf? That must have been an incredible experience. Seems like you were just in the desert, and now you are postholing on the side of a mountain. New Mexico offers such beautiful hiking opportunities! My son and I climbed Mt. Phillips (elevation 11,742) in northern NM 2 summers ago, and we had a beautiful blue-sky view of Wheeler Peak and the Angel Fire ski area. Am looking forward to camping and hiking in north central NM with my dad for a few days this summer. What an adventure you are on! How is your foot?

    1. I think most of New Mexico is considered high desert. It’s an amazing place. I just wish there was less road walking, but such is the trail. Enjoy your trip to NM. And the foot is fine, a bit of TLC and anti everything cream fixed it.

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