Miles: 15
Camp: CDT mile 100

When my alarm went off in the hotel this morning, I couldn’t wait to get up and get back to trail. I took a quick shower, grabbed my pack and went to meet the group at McDonald’s. I brought my leftover sandwich from last night and just ordered a coffee while I ate. It was much better than the coffee at the Econolodge, but the hunger hasn’t set in yet so McDonald’s has no appeal to me.

We all finished up and hiked on down the road. We had a paved road walk for about 2.5 miles before the trail became a trail again. Then we had to follow sporadic signs across the desert as we often do, sometimes feeling as if it was well marked, sometimes scratching our heads in confusion with no sign of trail in sight. It often makes me think of that Donovan song but with the word “trail” substituted for “mountain.”

‘First there is a trail and then there is no trail and then there is…’

That happens a lot. You think you’re right on trail and then it just stops and you have to figure out where you are all over again. We haven’t gotten really lost yet, but that is the benefit of having lots of eyes on the job. I like to think of finding the signs as a little game, and it keeps my mind engaged for long periods of time…until I get distracted by some animal or plant, which I often do.

Since we were in no hurry today we took a couple of leisurely breaks under some shade trees. At lunch we lazed about sharing stories about times we got in trouble growing up, which turned into a pretty deep 2 hour sharing session. Just 4 ladies lounging in the shade talking about life. I enjoyed it very much.

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Rampage telling a story

We then walked on into a cool wind. The air has cooled down a lot, but the sun is still present. Any time the wind stops, you could certainly feel the heat, but it was unusually pleasant all day as we began our ascent into the mountains and out of the desert. I would go so far as to call it perfect. Today was as good as it gets for weather, and the trail itself was pretty gentle on us. Provided, our goal was only 15 miles, it made the pace casual…but the CDT has been kind to us today.

My feet never had time to get upset with me either, which is why I was especially keen to do easy miles with the group. We will all work up to 20 miles when the time is right, but there is no need to hurry now. It is so great to enjoy the calm pace, the good company, amazing weather and trouble free feet. It’s a feeling I won’t get too attached to, but I will enjoy it for now.

When we stopped for water today there was a tank on a hill with nice clear water in it. We all gathered round to fill our various vessels when a cow came up to get a drink. It stopped and watched us as we finished up, seeming rather impatient with our intrusion. As most of us began hiking on, Spring Chicken was still packing up and the cow just marched over next to her and began to drink…soon joined by a friend. It was am entertaining scene.

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Not long after getting water, we got to mile 100 and set up camp out of the increasing winds. We all chose more wisely than the other night, but had some struggle setting up our new tents in the wind (mostly Rampage and I struggled, as Spirit, Squirrel and Wilderness have free standing tents). Once we got set up, we lay in our shelters laughing and eating dinner. Looking back on the desert floor we see a giant sandstorm brewing and we feel for the hikers crossing that terrain today, but are glad it isn’t us.

We are officially out of the bootheel and moving into the mountains. It feels right.
There is no place I would rather be.

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To the mountains!
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100 miles!

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"Hey, that's my water."

View from the loo was at McDonald’s so I’ll spare the image. It should be back tomorrow.

Dinner: refried beans with cous cous, hot sauce and veggies (I made too much and am super full).

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