Friday, February 10, 2012

Monday May 3, 2010
Camp 1:  crazy sandstorm camp 15 miles from the border at Palomas
Camp 2:  sandy wash, pleasant and quiet with a nice breeze and a beautiful sunset

Where to begin?  We met Keith on Saturday when he picked us up and took us to his house in Deming.  Keith showed us various things on our maps such as water caches, the “best” BBQ on the trail and how to get back to his place when we pass through Deming on our way North.  Yesterday he drove us to the border at Palomas and had a long drawn out plan on how we were going to go about “dealing” with border patrol.  He was going to stop in the building and tell them what we were doing, we were going to wait and then walk to the border where they couldn't see and stick our hand through the fence and take a picture...yada, yada, yada.  As soon as Keith exited the truck we grabbed our packs and started walking toward the border to get a couple pictures.  We couldn't wait to just start hiking!  Long story short, Keith made everything much more difficult than it should have been and I'm pretty sure border patrol was much more suspicious after he approached them than if he would have just dropped us off and left. 

So we started walking yesterday, May 2nd, our first wedding anniversary!  We put in a long 15 miles of road walking as the trail doesn't really exist quite yet.  The CDT is only about 70% finished meaning there are many places you have to connect roads (paved, dirt, gravel) to different trails and sometimes you just have to pull out your map and compass and navigate off trail to get from point A to point B.  The route through New Mexico has to avoid a lot of private land.  Sometimes you can see exactly where you need to go straight ahead, but you have to walk the “grid” around a barbed wire fence, turning a half mile into 4 miles.  It was a pleasant day of hiking but late afternoon the clouds began to roll in and rain was falling in the direction we were heading.  Around 4pm we refilled our water bottles at a cache in a man's backyard, walked out the back of his property into the sandy dry desert to look for a place to set up camp.  The wind was picking up and sand tornadoes were forming and moving violently across the desert floor coming right for us.  We braced ourselves and turned our backs as the sand blasted us and then moved past.  We set up the tent once, but had to move it to what we thought was a more protected area.  The gusts continued to get stronger and we couldn't get the stakes to hold in the fine sand.  The tent got blasted over and over as we struggled to set up a barricade with our packs and all of our gear.  We finally had to tie the tent down with rope to a nearby tree and laid listening to the rain as the insane wind blasted sand and dirt into our shelter.  It covered everything and was in every nook and cranny; our hair, teeth, nostrils...everywhere...miserable!

We woke this morning to sunshine and a beautiful blue sky.  The air still and cool, a welcome change from the hours before.  We shook out our gear, regrouped and hiked cross country, careful to avoid the array of prickly desert plants as one with huge brutal thorns had already made its way through my shoe, insole, sock and stuck into my toe!  Cactus, Yucca and Joshua Trees stood like a maze before us.  Driving past it may have looked hot, dry and boring, but when you walk through it, everything comes to life a bit.  Flowers of all colors greeted us, the cactus blooms full and beautiful, lizards scurrying across our path, fat horny toads creeping across the sand and the occasional snake soaking up the warm sun.  As the day wore on our virgin skin turned dry and red, our feet tired and sore and I had to laugh because it was only the beginning.  We put in about 15 miles today and found a nice, protected sandy wash to set up camp.  Eric made quinoa with a chili packet for dinner and he's sleeping hard beside me.  We are both exhausted...welcome back to the trail!  



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