Miles: 22
Camping: Hotel living in Lordsburg, NM CDT mile 85

After watching a most incredible sunset last night I began to bed down for the night listening to the wind. It started out innocent enough, but soon picked up to a wicked howl. Sand was flying everywhere, including through the mesh of my tent. I had set up my tent before the wind began, so it was taking all of the hearty gusts broadside. I couldn’t lay on my right side without getting sand in my face and my left hip was screaming for relief. It was an ongoing battle until roughly 1 am when the wind simply stopped. It was a terrible night of sleep.

Nonetheless, I was up at 5 doing my morning chores. It took a while in my drowsy state as I fumbled with everything I touched and had to clean a fine film of sand off of myself and all of my gear (a job that may never be finished). Note to self: pitch the tent with the nose upwind next time.

As I set out hiking, I fell into the cool easy walking of morning easily. The moon hung bright in the calm sky, mountains beginning to blush pink in the morning light. It’s all worth it for this.

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The walking was cross country for a ways, and I found myself a bit off trail a couple of times. Never too far. I eventually came upon my first source of water shared by cows and had to make do with it. It looked much worse than it tasted though, and after filtering it was perfectly clear and had no funny taste or odor.

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After collecting what I needed I marched on into new terrain. The ground was a red sand covered in red rocks…probably much like Mars:

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Among the red rocks there were some beautiful white stones that formed crystals. My pictures didn’t come out great, but they seemed pretty special to me.

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As I began moving over a saddle I heard a loud rattle and again jumped. Alone this time, I was confronted by a much less polite snake than yesterday. This one got into striking pose and hissed at me venomously. I made a hasty retreat keeping a sideways eye on the angry serpent. The hair all over my body stood on end as the experience gave me quote a chill.

Not too long after that I saw my first ever wild tarantula. It scurried into a hole and I ran over to look in after it. The spider was hunched in there looking out at me curiously. I thought it rather cute, and bid him a good morning before hiking on. This day was pretty cool so far…you see so much more when you hike alone.

I eventually took lunch under an old tree and even attempted to nap after last night’s poor rest. The nap never worked out, but lunch was good and shade is heaven out here, so I simply enjoyed the rest.

The early afternoon was then taken up by looking at plants, cows and rocks. Pretty dull to write about really. I get pretty caught up in the cool foreign landscape of the desert. So distracted that I landed at the next water cache sooner than expected. Debbie was there, and is now known as “Spring Chicken.” We were only 7 miles from town at 2:15 and decided it was silly to try and stay another windy night on trail when town was so close.

I popped 2 Vitamin I (ibuprofen) and moved on down the ol dusty feeling good. The miles were easy but for my blisters, but I try not to focus on them if I can avoid it. Sometimes it feels like I’m walking on sandpaper my feet have become so tender…but the rest of my body and my mind are strong and ready to go. It’s frustrating to say the least…but part of the process out here. I’m doing a lot better with my feet than the PCT so far, so no real complaint.

I made it into town with no big events to speak of and caught up with my friends. They had a room for 5 already, and Spring Chicken and Rebecca were still expected to arrive. I decided I’d get a room with them when they arrived so we could all spread out more comfortably…plus the rooms here are super cheap so not as much need to pack a bunch of people in one room. We will surely do that later.

We all took showers and then ate pizza at the only restaurant in town. Tomorrow I’ll get my resupply in order and see what people are thinking for the next leg. For now I’m ready to doze in a comfortable room and let my feet and me get some much needed rest.

Dinner: mushroom and pepperoni pizza

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Ocatilla with leaves!

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Going to find out if I can eat the yellow part...
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View from the loo
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