Daily Miles: 27
Total Miles: 1720
While it was really warm when we went sleep, it got really cold overnight. It seems that we are experiencing the temperature swings of the desert. It was about 80 degrees during the day, and got down in the 30s overnight.
Beardoh had a hard time going to sleep last night, because there was a group of elk that came by our campsite. He could hear them walking around and making weird noises. Somehow SweetPea slept through all the noise.
We had decided to get up a little later than normal this morning. We figured it would be safer if we started walking when it was light out. Since we would still be walking on the state highway that has no shoulder and can be curvy, we didn’t want to create a stressful situation.
We started out with all of our layers of clothing on since it was so cold. It took awhile before our hands and feet warmed up and didn’t hurt anymore. It was several hours before we were in the sun and finally ready to remove some clothes.
Even though we were walking on roads all day, we still had some cool scenery. The best was in the morning, as we had lava fields butting up to the road on our right and tall cliffs with interesting rock formations on our left. We also walked by the La Ventana Arch which was really cool. After time the landscape changed to tree-covered hills and then eventually to flat fields with only sage bushes.
Most of our day was spent off the CDT and instead on an alternate. The alternate is there just as a more direct route to Pie Town.
We finally came to our first water source of this stretch in the late morning. It was a really nice source with piped water that was clear and cold. We only took two liters since our second and final water source of this stretch was just another five miles down the road.
Right before we got to the second water source, we turned onto a dirt road that will take us into Pie Town tomorrow. We were so thankful to be off of the paved road after so many miles. Our feet are sore from the paved roads. The skin on SweetPea’s right heel has started to crack and it was feeling really tender today. Hopefully it can heal with the neosporin she’s been applying.
The second water source was just as nice as the first. Since this is our last water before town, we had to get enough water to last us for 32 miles. Definitely the longest water carry of the trail so far. We were each carrying six liters, which just felt like so much.
Once we were back on the road walking, a car stopped by us and asked if we were hiking the CDT. We said yes, and they asked us some questions (They also told us there was another hiker about 15 miles in front of us!). They gave each of us an apple, an orange and some chocolates, which we were really thankful for. Once they drove off, we immediately ate the chocolates which were already starting to melt in our hands. Then we sat down to eat our apples and oranges. It is such a treat to have fresh fruit on the trail.
The rest of the afternoon was spent just trudging down the road. As soon as we got into an area where there were junipers again, we started to look for a place to camp. We walked about a quarter mile off trail and up a hill. We found some pinyon pines that we could hang from. Definitely not the cleanest of hangs, but we were happy not to be sleeping on the ground tonight.