Daily Miles: 20
Total Miles: 598
We woke up this morning and immediately noticed two things…(1) it was probably the warmest morning we’ve had on the trail, and (2) there were a lot of dark clouds in the sky. Since it was warm, we were glad to see the clouds, because it would help to keep things cooler as we had a day of walking in exposed terrain coming up.
Plus, the clouds were going to help make an incredible sunrise, which they did. The light and color this morning was really stunning in the wide open land. It gave the mountains a purple hue and the grassy hills a green/yellow hue. The morning light really gives the desolation a sense of beauty.
The theme of the day seemed to be avoiding private land which is intermixed with BLM land and National Forest land in this area. That meant the route we took throughout the day looked pretty convoluted on a map. There were times when we stayed on roads to avoid private land and other times when we had to go cross-country to avoid private roads.
This morning we saw some antelope in the distance for the first time. It seems weird to see them here. We’ll have to look up their name, because we couldn’t remember. Other than the antelope, the only other wildlife we saw was a bunny (we love seeing them, and see them often on the trail), and a really small horny toad (we can never get enough of them).
After meeting Purple Haze a few days ago and finally being able to put a face with a set of footprints, we are always noting whether or not we can see his prints. Today was the first time in over two weeks that we didn’t see his footprints. We’re not sure where or why he got off, but it just seemed strange. Without his prints, there were usually no other prints around. It seems that the wind blows them away, or cows walk over them and wipe them out, so hiker footprints don’t last long. Only the prints of folks who are a day or two ahead of us are still usually visible to us.
The walking today was really challenging, with a LOT of cross country, a LOT of walking in washes, some walking on two-track roads and some regular dirt roads…no trails at all today. It felt like an exhausting day and we were surprised that we were able to maintain a decent pace even with the hard hiking.
Today felt like it was just doing miles to connect two mountain ranges. We have made multiple days like this, however, in the past the miles are usually done on just dirt roads, making for an easy day of walking. The fact that today’s hiking was so hard, yet without any really great views made it not our favorite section.
Tonight we are camped at a trailhead. There are two cabins here…one looks like it is leaning and not long for this world, the other looks pretty descent from the outside. Neither are locked, so we looked inside. They are both furnished, but have been totally trashed and look like a crime scene. Not sure what has happened here in the past.
This spot is also the place of our last water before arriving in the small town of Magdalena tomorrow (11 miles from here). We are really looking forward to getting town and having a zero day. This last stretch from Winston has felt like one of the toughest of the trail and we are feeling exhausted. We have also been feeling pretty hungry and in need of some more calories, so it will be good to get some town food in our bellies.