Miles: 20 (plus a mile to and from water in the canyon)
Camp: CDT mile 453

It rained off and on all night, going in and out like my sleep. I feel as if it was a quality rest though, and I was super efficient this morning considering my tent was soaked. I managed to keep everything else dry.

One of my least favorite parts of the rain is that it washes away everyone’s footprints. I am real good at knowing who is ahead, and sometimes just seeing tons of prints helps me know I’m on the right track. Today, there were no prints to start my walk…and no wonder, the mud just sticks to your shoes creating giant (and heavy) mud shoes.

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The first water source was 4.6 miles from camp, and I got there pretty quick. It was a muddy pond in the bottom of a canyon.

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I grabbed water from a clear pool in the rocks above instead, clearly fresh rainfall from last night (my first rainwater from a hole in a rock was pretty good). I filtered it and tried to enjoy a break, but it was way too cold. I hiked on and soon had to stop to put on more clothes, and I could barely feel my fingers. I bundled up good and walked fast to build body heat, running into Freebird on the way. He was having a break but I didn’t dream of stopping just as I was warming up.

About a mile later there seemed to be a break in the wind, so I sat under a tree and ate everything I could fit in my belly in case I had trouble stopping again. I was hungry and thirsty, but it is also hard to drink water when you’re cold. I know I should be dehydrated because I’m not drinking enough, but somehow I urinate frequently and clearly regardless. This may actually be another problem, but I’m not sure (need more electrolytes?). I forced myself to drink a liter of water anyway…and promptly peed most of it out.

Lunch was going to be at a spring in the bottom of a canyon 1/2 mile off trail. I was eager to take a long break and use the time top dry my tent for the night. It was beautiful hiking down, and blue sky in the distance lifted my cold, hungry and somewhat nauseous (no doubt from dehydration) spirits.

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A sliver of blue in the distance

Freebird was in the canyon eating and drying his tent already so I joined him there on the pine needle floor. I passed an older couple hiking out, but didn’t stop to chat…I was so ready to rest. I made a large lunch of tuna and cheese on tortillas worth some jerky, pretzels and gummy bears, not stopping until I was close to full, then I ate a Snickers. “That should hold me over,” I thought.

When Freebird hiked out, I stayed in the sleepy canyon awhile drying my tent. It was a very good break, one I needed more than I knew. It made a difference in my day, and I was suddenly climbing out of the canyon to the top of a mesa and feeling warm. I even took off some layers and unzipped my coat. My feet didn’t hurt and the trail was beautiful. It stayed cool as dark clouds and thunder always threatened from afar, but never came close enough to get me today. It was an even better day today, I think the shorter miles are paying off already. I’ll be stronger in no time, and then bigger miles will be no chore.

I followed the mesa to the top and took in a stunning view.

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Then I crossed the mesa to the other side and set up camp. I made dinner and am ready to bed early as the night has become still and quiet (it is only 8pm). It is perfect. Down to the canyons tomorrow…and finally no rain in the forecast.

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View from camp
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From my tent
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There is a new blaze in town
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View from the loo
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