Hiked By: Darwin
Day 1 – 15.2 miles
Camped out in the van with Snuggles and Bowie in Lordsburg, NM. We discovered a free RV and Van Friendly Parking Lot right outside a restaurant. In the morning we simply walked across the parking for breakfast at Kranberry’s Family Restaurant. The CDT actually runs down the sidewalk in part of Lordsburg so Snuggles drove me a couple of miles outside the city where the trail hits open desert. I left Bowie and Snuggles on the road and began my hike by crawling under a barbwire fence.
Most of the terrain after leaving Lordsburg is open desert with minimal coverage. The trail itself was never really apparent and using the GPS was a must. I pushed a little further out from Lordsburg then planned due to a bad water source at mile ten and twelve. At exactly 15.2 miles I found a section of tree coverage along with a solar-powered windmill with water spigot. Later on in the evening I met two other hikers who made camp in the same area.
Day 2 – 17 miles – Today was a hard with lot more climbing in open desert. I had to wear pants due to my extreme sunburn from yesterday’s miles. Wear Sunscreen! Found an old mind shaft along the trail, which was really interesting. The trail popped up out into a clearing where I discovered amazing trail magic with beer! Right after my trail magic stop (about 11 miles in) the trail went straight up, climbing significantly in elevation (possibly 1,500 to 2,00 feet).
I stopped 2 miles shy of my original goal, which was mud spring. I didn’t feel like pushing further after a day full of non-stop climbs so I camped on top of Jack’s Peak. I camped next to concrete foundation of an old building with the chimney still standing. The chimney was excellent to use for making my fire for a hot Ramen dinner. Yum! I located a water cistern to filter from tonight not to far from camp.
Day 3 – 23 miles – Started the day in a High Altitude Pine Forest before descending back down to the desert floor. Passed by multiple streams of fresh water that were the first I have seen on trail so far. I was able to keep well hydrated today thanks to these natural sources. I didn’t see a single person all day, which is a lot different then being on the AT. I hiked in a very sandy canyon towards the end of the day and finally stopped at 23 miles. I camped in a beautiful canyon beside a small stream and waterfall. I was a little worried about wildlife visits in the night and the possibility of flash flood but I took the risk.
Day 4 – 19 miles – Started off the day hiking down a loose sand and or soil canyon road. I had 5 miles of sand, tall canyon walls and tons of cows. I arrived at NM180 for a 13-mile highway hike into Silver City. Hiked about half of this section and decided I had enough of the heat so I thumbed it. The CDT has a lot of open road hiking which is tough to do in the direct sun and heat. Got a hitch into Silver City, NM and immediately found a beer and sandwich at a local brewery. Found a $40 room at an old funky hotel called “The Palace” and met a bunch of Hiker Trash: Fat Albert, Knotts, Nobody and Toasted Toad. I had a killer time with these hikers and shared good food, drink and good conversation with them.
Day 5- 19 miles- Leaving the hotel I found that Fat Albert was getting off trail due to misplacing his tent poles and Nobody had decided to stay behind as well. Toasted Toad and I were the only ones who actually hiked out-of-town. The day started with a harsh and already hot 7-mile road walk. After figuring up miles, I discovered I would be getting to Doc Campbell’s a day ahead of schedule and because of this, I have decided to slow down and hike with Toasted. This will force me to slow down and really enjoy everything on the trail (well besides the road walking).
Throughout the day the trail changed numerous times. Going from Pine Forest to desert, ridge walking, to “Arizonaish” monolithic rock gardens and dirt road to single track. We had tons of stream crossings, came across an old mining ruin and an old log cabin. GutHook gave me a few issues today at times not being about to give me the exact mileage and my location. This caused us to hike further then planned.
At the end of the day we were taking a breather at a spring and out popped a man named Doug. Doug we found out is a hermit that has been living in the Gila Wilderness in solitude for 18 years. He only goes into town once a year for food and other supplies, living totally off grid. He loves conversation with hikers when he meets them and offered to give us a tour of his hermitage and a place to pitch our tents. The three of us stayed up way past hiker’s midnight talking about anything and everything. I’m really starting to fall in love with the CDT…
Day 6 – 10 miles? – Our new friend Doug the Hermit (aka: Doug the Awesome) made Toad and I coffee and homemade wood stove bread. After breakfast he showed us his amazing Indian Artifact Collection. Doug also taught us how to make Agave Needle and Thread. He hiked with us a while, then we said our goodbyes. What an amazing experience!
We were surrounded by beautiful trail “most” of the day after leaving Doug’s. Today was full of big Pine Forests and huge mountain ascents and descents. I hiked alone most of the day leaving Toad always a few miles behind. When I reached the Gila River I waited for Toad in order start our many river crossings together. We have around 52 river crossings before coming to Doc Campbell’s. We crossed about 5 times today just to get a bit down the river before finding a flat camp spot in a field. We made a fire and talked until hiker midnight. The last couple of days I’ve felt more alive than I have for quite some time.
Day 7 – 10 miles – Woke up Freezing! Camping next to a river in a canyon equals a cold night. We put on cold/wet socks and shoes from yesterday and started more river crossings. Super cold and waist high rushing water will totally wake you up first thing in the morning! I hiked with Toad for a couple of miles while bushwhacking through brush and fallen trees. We continued crossing the river about every half-mile. We found out that Doc’s closed at 4pm and I was currently out of food. I parted ways with Toad and boogied to make sure I could grab a few things at Doc’s before closing time. I finally reached Doc’s at 2:50pm wet and exhausted. I ate a few crappy frozen burritos, bought something for dinner and snatched Toad’s resupply box for him. After eating I walked down to Wildwood Retreat a hot spring resort of sorts, to wait for Toad. When he arrived we talked our way into a killer price on a cabin for the night, scored a free beer and a homemade pizza. We finished the night around the campfire sharing stories with a family staying at Wildwood as well. An amazing way to end an amazing journey.
(Lots of Amazing Views On The CDT)
Hiker Trash (“Knotts” and “Nobody”) Getting Down on Town Food
***The Hiker In Green is “Knotts” and Is Currently Attempting An UnSupported Speed Hike of the AT- check him out! KNOTTS***
(Homemade Trail Marker)