Friday, March 16, 2012

Thursday May 20, 2010
Camp 19: Sand Canyon

We're finally finished hiking for the day.  It has been a good one, but long.  This morning we started with a road walk which turned into dirt leading into Armijo Canyon.  We are in cattle country so our water sources leave a lot to be desired.  This morning we walked over to a large tank, hoping for a pipe with some cold, delicious spring water.  Instead we found the tank surrounded by mud and cow manure with a small seep.  It smelled of decay and manure, rancid and disgusting.  Eric dug out his bandana to filter out some of the excrement and chunks and we worked to filter a couple liters as the cows watched from afar.  We masked the first liter with kool-aid as we were a bit dehydrated and hoped for better water at the next source.  The trail was long and hot, we could see for miles and miles with what looked like nothing before us.  We explored Pueblo ruins dating back to 1200 a.d.  We found shards of pottery and various structures that were still halfway standing.  What an incredible piece of history.  The downside, there were signs everywhere that threatened a fine and imprisonment if you removed the pottery but meanwhile the area is open to free range cattle who trample the sacred ground.  We proceeded down the hot, dry, dusty canyon, past a dead bloated cow with her feet in the air, hoping to find water.  We detoured to Armijo Spring only to find it completely dry. We did stumble upon an old stone house built into the hillside.  We explored for a bit, finding a  religious shrine inside.  It was quite interesting, really.  We hiked off trail up the side canyon past the spring, over the ridge and back down the other side where we connected with the CDT.  By the time we go back to the trail it was 6:30pm and we still had 4.5 miles to hike to the next possible water at a windmill.  We picked up the pace as the sun disappeared behind the cliffs and we found some nasty looking water in a cattle trough.  It was getting dark and we really didn't have any other option as we needed water to drink and to cook.  So we filtered, better than nothing, right?  We found a rather lumpy camping spot in the middle of cow pasture.  It smells of cow manure but it's beautiful nonetheless as the colors develop in the sky.

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