Miles: 22
Camp: Vallo Tio Vinces campground CDT mile 291.38

Just as we went to bed last night it began to rain. It was a minor amount of rainfall accompanied by a few low rumbles of thunder, I honestly wanted it to keep going, but the desert did not oblige.

Sleeping was warm until just before dawn, just as we were supposed to get up. I struggled with the first moves out of my warm cocoon but once the deed is done it is easy to start the day. I typically run out for the morning pee and then jump right back into my quilt while I cook breakfast. I eat my oats in sleeping clothes, and then 2 sips into my coffee (I pour my coffee into my pot after oatmeal and use it to clean as I drink) it is time to start changing into hiking clothes. I do this all in the comfort of my tent and quilt. Once the clothes are changed, I drink more of the coffee and put on shoes. Lastly, I don’t stop moving as I pack up camp and finish the now lukewarm morning beverage. It’s my current system and I’m really dialing it in.

I was actually first out of camp today and spent the morning hiking solo. The canyon was green and had small areas of water with lots of dry streambeds. The water was clear and cold though, always a welcome source. I was loving the beauty of this small canyon on my morning stroll, birds singing everywhere and even a grove of paperbark birch trees. A beautiful fairy tale kind of morning, butterflies and all.

After a few miles we were back on the regular trail headed up and over a mountain. It was fun to see big views again; there are so many sides to hiking.

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We crossed this valley later in the day

Our group has been in close proximity with another group of 6 the past few days. We ended up leap frogging them all day long, often stopping and taking breaks together. It is cool to see the dynamic of their group and how different it is from ours…but it feels strange to be traveling in such large numbers. It will be interesting to see how these groups change over time. Will I ever find the solitude I originally sought out here? Will I still want it?

Lunch was at a neon green water tank that fortunately had a small pool of clearer water coming from the bottom.

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It tasted fine after filtering and lunch was as delicious as ever. All food is starting to taste like heaven…one of my favorite side effects of being a thru hiker; eating becomes a cathartic experience every time.

The walk after lunch was along yet another dirt road. This one was quite rocky and continued to antagonize my newest blister. I keep telling myself that it will heal in a week or two and then it will be a distant memory…because it will. Right now it is aggravating and painful, but that’s just the nature of the game. Something is almost always going to hurt, it is just a matter of what you’re capable of putting up with.

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See the school bus?

We ended the day at a primitive campground where some turkey hunters gave us water and snacks. They are making dinner for some of the warrior hikers who have been a day ahead of us for a while…but got a bit sidetracked by the magic.

This whole trail is magic…and soon we will be in Pie Town and that sounds the most magic of all.

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View from the loo
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