Continental Divide Trail – Day 10 (27 miles)
I got off to a latish start today. Last night I was looking over the water situation to Pie Town and noticed that a key water source was down. It means that there is a 35 mile (56km) dry stretch coming up. I wanted to get to the last water before that tonight so I could start fresh tomorrow with a stomach full of water. It does mean today will be slightly short to facilitate this.
I got up just before 7 when I could not stand lying in bed awake any longer. I packed up slowly and plunged into the water for my first crossing of the Gila River.
Within 30 minutes walking I started to see wet footprints leaving each crossing, and 15 minutes later I finally saw the owner. The prints belonged to Smeagol, a French lady that is completing her triple crown
Smeagol was an interesting person and we ended up hiking together for a while as we talked about this, that and the other. She hiked the PCT last year, so that was a long conversation swapping stories. Her mother came across from France to join the hike for a few weeks and I got to hear how it did not go so well.
I’ve finally seen my second thru hiker of the trail. It has just taken 10 days. She said she is the last of the herd, so I should be seeing others from now on. The CDT is certainly not the AT or PCT in those regard.
The river this morning was almost as stunningly beautiful as yesterday, with towering cliffs, endless water and vibrant green trees. The Gila River, although not officially part of the CDT, is truly one of the highlights of this trail.
At noon I said goodbye to Smeagol. We were moving slow and I really did want to get to that last water source tonight. Leaving then turned into having to walk at a brisk pace all afternoon.
I climbed out of the Gila and into this extremely open grassland. On a park bench EZ (easy?), was cooking an early dinner. I sat down with him to eat and we looked into the water situation tomorrow.
We walked and talked for the last 5 miles to water. It was in a gully without any quality camping, but I curled around some rocks sticking out of the ground to sleep.