The hike has begun! On Saturday at 6.30am, ten excited hikers piled into two enormous pick-up trucks rented by the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, and we headed for the Mexican border. Four hours later (with the last three on dirt roads) we arrived at Crazy Cook Monument. After the obligatory photos, we headed off into the desert. The sun was blazing hot, so we were very glad of our Chrome Domes – reflective umbrellas which we attach to our rucksack straps so we can walk in the shade.
Gradually we left behind the huge flat plain and headed towards the Big Hatchet Mountains. The trail skirts around these, following desert washes (dry stream beds) and traversing round the lower slopes of the mountains.
We’re really loving being in the desert – so far it has been incredibly varied, much more so than we ever imagined. Many of the desert plants are in bloom, which we feel very privileged to see. We’ve met lots of hikers, both American and European, and it’s great bumping into them at intervals throughout the day and always at the water caches, which are at intervals of around 15 miles (also laid on by the good folks of the CDT Coalition).
Navigation has been mostly OK – there are plenty of waymarkers, even if it’s not always clear the best way to get between them!
Health-wise we’re doing OK – keeping hydrated, staying covered up against the sun, and eating plenty. Neil’s pleased to be able to report zero blisters; I’ve been less lucky with one on each foot behind my big toe. Also my ankle has been pretty rubbish due to the rough terrain, but hey, that’s what ibuprofen is for!
Currently enjoying some hospitality in a tiny town called Hachita – we came here to pick up the food parcel we’d posted to ourselves, and got a lift from Dion who is offering floor space and burgers to CDT hikers at the community centre. One can of Bud has gone straight to my head! Time or some photos.