Continental Divide Trail – Day 2 (30 miles)
I woke up at 5.40am and packed up slowly, hoping Cream Sweep would show up before I left as I did not think he would catch me once I started hiking. He didn’t show.
Today will be hot and getting up early to hike in the cool mornings is the reward. The sun hit me after an hour and a half and the temperature kept rising all day.
How do I adequately describe our first section – the New Mexico Bootheel? It is incredibly flat, it is incredibly barren, it is incredibly dry, and is often windy and hot. I think it safe to say it is a harsh environment that people don’t normally hike outside of these long trails. And I think these sections are one of the unique benefits of a long trail – although I will still complain about them at the time… The beginning of the day was a walk through a dry wash, but I spent most of the morning as I walked out to the highway on what felt like a user trail. It would come and go, be very obvious in places to vanish a minute later. Navigation was not hard and there were a series of poles reassure hikers are on the right track. But it felt like I was just meandering through the desert as I twisted around all the bushes.
Unfortunately from this point on my day was a pain in the arse. Quite literally too, as I had good old butt chaff. I think it was the worst I have ever had while hiking. On top of that, I had it in the middle of the day with 14 more miles to hike!
It is safe to say that I did not enjoy the afternoon at all. It should have been easy walking along the flat dirt road, but I was in a bit of pain. Cream did not help the situation either.
Eventually I saw a windmill on the horizon – my savior! It was just after dark when I finally arrived. Isat at the trough and drank as much water as possible to aid my healing.
I went to set up my normal cowboy camp but could not find any shelter from the 35mi/hr wind gusts, so decided to set up my Hexamid Tarp as a wind block. It has been used for this so much more then for wet weather.