May 18-19, miles 33-85
In an attempt to beat the heat, we woke early and were actually on trail by 7:15, which is way earlier than usual for us. The trail followed the dirt road a few miles more, then split off into a cross country marker-to-marker desert path again. We saw another javelina, this one closer! We passed the next water cache, listened to podcasts, and hiked across another basin before climbing into some hills, where we found a water tank with a shower of water flowing from it and cell service! This lifted our spirits. A few miles after the water tank came our first saddle (a high point where we pass between mountains), from which we could see for miles. I felt for the first time like we were actually on a trail, and like I knew what I was doing. For the past few days, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around what the CDT is. It doesn’t feel like a normal trail, partially because of its cross country nature, and because there are no other hikers out here. It feels like the middle of nowhere, yet we pass cows and cross dirt roads and highways all the time. It definitely doesn’t feel like wilderness. Regardless of what this trail is, I was starting to feel better about hiking.
We decided to camp two miles short of the next water cache, in a red dirt-filled wash in the hills that the cows frequented. I played scales and etudes, but got frustrated by how bad I sounded and stopped. It’s also getting increasingly hard to tune the violin. I’ve been going through periods of feeling really negative towards the violin, usually during times when I’m hot and tired and feeling stupid that I’m trying to carry such a heavy, unnecessary thing. Other times it feels like a companion, like something familiar amidst a trail that’s very unfamiliar. It’s almost starting to take on its own persona. One thing I’ve realized is that carrying this violin adds a pressure to actually practice it, which is often the last thing I want to do after a 20-something mile day.
The next day, we hiked across a wide, flat basin towards Pyramid Mountain for what seemed like forever. It was so hot. We had “iPod time,” as we’ve started calling it, and I listened to podcasts and a mix I made for my sister a few weeks ago. Sadly, in the mayhem of pre-hike prep, I failed to add music to my phone, and now all I have are random purchased songs from years ago, country singer Chris Stapleton’s album (which is actually perfect for this trail), and this mix. Thankfully, it’s a power mix, and I gleaned power from it as I hiked.
We finally got to the Pyramid Mountain area, the last set of hills before Lordsburg. We got to walk on a dirt road, and our surroundings became green and very beautiful, with rolling hills, a breeze, and cows everywhere. I felt happy to be out there. We finally made it to the last water cache, and from there it was only 6 more miles to Lordsburg. We had planned to camp, but the call of food/shower/beer/bed was too great. We walked the final miles into town on the dirt road, listening to the power mix on Phil’s portable speaker, our anticipation growing with every step. We finally got to town at 9:15, making it a 28-mile day. Every muscle in my body ached, but I was so happy to be in Lordsburg. We got pizza and crashed in our motel room, too exhausted to do anything but sit in silence and devour the pizza. It is 60 miles to the next town of Silver City, and apparently the trail climbs up to 8,000 feet and becomes more interesting, but right now all I can think about is pizza and bed.