CDT Day 5: Mile 85.5 – 100.1 (14.6 miles – 23 km)

Easter Sunday April 21, 2019

Staying in town is rarely relaxing. By the time all the little jobs are done it’s time to move on. Hammers blisters had dried out and we decided to leave town around lunchtime. Shame really as the Econo Lodge was hosting an Easter meal for hikers later in the day. Today was cooler then the past few days although the glare of the sunlight was still blinding when we walked out of the motel. The milder temperature and a breeze made the 3.5 mile road walk out of town feel not so bad. It was a little depressing to see such a huge decline in a once bustling town. It’s population today is around 1,300 with a lot of abandoned dwellings.

Once we turned off the road, the cool breeze made the miles in a completely barren field, through a private ranch feel just bearable. There is no shelter at all and our packs are fully loaded for the next leg to Silver City. It was hard work but we were excited to see that the trail is heading into the mountains and shade should become more abundant as we near the end of this desert section.

The trail was slowly ascending away from Lordsburgh. We were farewelled by six helicopters flying low over the town on their way to either Texas or the Mexican border. It looked a little surreal from our vantage point.

Once we left the barren ranch land behind and started the gradual ascent towards the mountains there was a noticable change in vegetation. There was no Creosote shrubs and there was a lot more herbaceous vegetation around new plants with soft foliage with hairly leaves, a perfect adaption for a hot environment.

Apart from us and the few Jack rabbits and a herd of cows the only other signs of activity was a gas power plant built in the foothills of the mountains. High voltage power lines criss-crossed the landscape and the wires made a noise as they were strummed by the wind.

As the setting sun started to cast long shadows, the temperature was absolutely perfect for hiking. But we were spent. Couldn’t wait to get to the next water at Engineers Well. The last hour seemed to drag on. We made it to the well just as the setting sun coloured the whisps of cloud. And we passed 100 miles just before reaching our camp spot. Normally we would pause to celebrate this first milestone, but tonight we were totally shattered.

I set up the tent while Hammer filtered water. There was another tent already in place near the well and we chose a campspot out of sight of the other hiker. We were set up, fed and watered and snug in our sleeping bags by hiker midnight (9pm). It was so good to get horizontal.

And just as I was finishing writing this post the sound of heavy snoring reached us. It was either coming from a herd of cows nearby or we did not camp far enough from the other tent which was located about 30m or 100 yards away from us. The snoring was worryingly intense. As the cattle settled for the night the snoring stopped, so maybe it was the cows.