Continental Divide Trail – Day 5 (31 miles)
Today was a pretty damn good one.
It started out with finishing up the lowland, ultra-flat walking before heading into the hills for my first climb of the whole trail – it took over 100 miles (160km)! It was great to start the day in such a dry, harsh environment that even cactus would not grow, and then be able to end the day falling asleep under pine trees while listening to crickets.
I had a casual day today with 4 breaks and one of which a 45-minute nap. I didn’t think it would be easy to make my miles as I walked into the hills up a sandy wash and slipping on every step. But the rest of the morning and all the afternoon was great hiking on the first section of built single track to date.
As the elevation slowly increased as I walked away from the flat and barren of the valley and into the mountains, the flora and fauna also changed. More shrubs started to appear, then they increased in size. After a while, I noticed that I was walking among Pine trees with squirrels and deer wandering around. This is one of my favourite parts of the desert, or in fact any ecosystem.
One of my breaks was at some trail magic left by Turquoise. I sat down and enjoyed an apple and a litre of water before beginning my first climb. Just before the climb started, I ran into a woman. I found out it was Turquoise and she was out for an after-work stroll. It was great to meet her and we spoke for 20 minutes or so. I found out that she just moved to Silver City and has hiked the PCT and AT.
I eventually said goodbye and started the climb. It felt awesome to finally be walking uphill again. Between the start of this trail and the end of the AzT, it has been very flat of late! I got into the zone and before I knew it I was on top of the mountain.
I wondered for another 45 minutes down the other side and accidently walked past where I was planning to camp near a spring. I thought about it and decided I had enough water to push onto the next tomorrow morning, so instead of going back I found a dry wash and set up camp.